Cubs Practice Game(s) #15A and #15B: If March Madness is going on and split squads are boring a thousand miles away, did baseball really happen?

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Today, NC State defeated Georgetown in an upset that I predicted on my one bracket.  Unfortunately the rest of my bracket is in shambles, so whatever.   The Creighton vs. UNC game is pretty entertaining right now, a lot closer than I expected.  But since this is a baseball blog I’m sure you wanted to hear how the Cubs actually did in Vegas against the Rangers and in Mesa against the White Sox.

In Vegas, Chris Volstad had four effective innings against the Rangers.  The lineup included Josh Hamilton, Mitch Moreland, Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz so it wasn’t completely terrible.  Volstad limited the damage to just four hits and one run with three strikeouts.  Lots of ground balls again, which will certainly help.  The Cubs went ahead in the ninth on a Joe Mather solo homer.  Unless something really weird happens I still think Mather has the inside track for the fifth outfielder/jack of all trades job on the bench.  Rafael Dolis got the save despite allowing the tying run to get to third base.  Scoring is a bit of an issue, but the lineup wasn’t exactly full strength given the split squads and you guys know how bad the minor league depth is.

In Mesa, the Cubs jumped out to a 3-0 lead against the White Sox but Andy Sonnanstine had a bad day, giving up five runs in his inning of work.  Starlin Castro had a great day at the plate, going 2-for-3 before being replaced.  Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol also pitched earlier in the game and came away with scoreless frames.  If you were interested in how the “good” minor leaguers did, Anthony Rizzo and Brett Jackson both got on base to load them up in the 8th inning and force in a run.  Josh Vitters (!!!!) also walked to force in the tying run.  Tony Campana finally broke out of his slump earlier in the game with two hits and a RBI (woohoo!  Maybe he’ll hit a homer, you should enter our contest) but unfortunately couldn’t put the Cubs ahead with the bases juiced.  Cubs lost in extras in this one.

Everybody joins up again to play the Mariners tomorrow, so we get a bit of a break from split squad silliness.  Winning does feel good though, even if it’s just meaningless practice games.

About Rice Cube

Rice Cube is the executive vice president of snark at World Series Dreaming. He loves all things Cubs, with notable exceptions (specifically, the part of Cubs fandom that pisses him off). Follow on Twitter at cubicsnarkonia

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