Cubs Practice Game #…Awww heck, I lost count

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Who can keep track when the games are on during work hours and there’s March Madness to be had?  Are your brackets completely obliterated yet?  If you were paying attention to the Cubs practice game though, you know that Jeff Samardzija pitched just well enough to win.  Which isn’t really saying much.

Before we move on, I wanted to share these tidbits from BleacherBum, who is hanging out in Arizona for a few Cactus League games:

Here’s a few things I noticed yesterday about the Cubs:

Ian Stewart – I like him. I like him a LOT. He made two defensive plays that Aramis Ramirez couldn’t have ever gotten to. And the homerun he hit scraped the underside of a 737 on it’s way to Phoenix’s Sky Harbor airport. Personally, I think he’ll be one of a few bright spots on this team.

Bryan LaHair – looked overwhelmed and overmatched on both sides of the ball. Offensively, he looked lost and awkward at the plate. The double he had was a bloop down the line. Defensively, he looked putrid. He swiped at a Darwin Barney throw in the dirt, and missed it by two feet. He had two bobbles on easy grounders that he was fortunately able to recover and make the out. It was so uncomfortable to watch. Personally, I’m scared that Sveum has already made a iron clad commitment to play LaHair no matter how he does.

Dave Sappelt. This guy just hit the ball hard. Period.

Brett Jackson – this guy has an aura of confidence about himself. He really looks confident on both sides of the ball. I can’t wait to see him full time. The homerun yesterday was towering. Oh, and by the way, I called both his and Soriano’s seconds before they hit them. Thank you very much (taking a bow)…

Alfonso Soriano – yes, the leg kick is shorter. But the bat is quicker, too. I like the way he looked yesterday. He had a nice running catch at full speed. Gotta wonder if the legs are finally healthy.

Joe Mather – this guy’s gonna send Campana to the minors if Reed Johnson takes the 4th OF spot. He is just making solid contact with everything that he sees. Lots of players gravitating to him both before and after the game.

Anthony Rizzo – looks the part. Defensively he made two nice picks at 1B on low throws. I’m biased. I can’t wait to see him as our everyday first baseman.

Matt Garza – looked sharp. Everything was down, down, down. If he missed the zone, it was low. I’m sure I missed several, but I can’t remember a single ball that was up in the zone. He looked sharp yesterday. Only gave up two hits in 5 IP and only one was hard hit. Only two bad throwing errors by Barney and horrible attempt of a dig at first by LaHair prevented him from throwing shutout ball.

Tony Campana – greatest player EVAH…. He signed my boys’ baseballs. What’ya expect? Should start at every position, every day. The only person, dead or alive, who you could insert his name in the “Ditka versus ________” scenario…..

and have actually win.

Please start making the statue to replace that “Banks” guy on Addison.

More updates tomorrow. Pics are gonna have to wait until Monday. My laptop took a crap. Totally frozen.

Talk to you guys more tomorrow…

–BleacherBum

That’s the kind of insight you’d expect from a guy who lives and breathes baseball, although he might be joking about that Campana kid.  Good stuff.  Unfortunately he wasn’t able to make it to today’s practice game against the Rockies, or else he’d have some insight on why Jeff Samardzija decided to serve up batting practice for the opposition.  Let’s try to piece together what happened.

There’s really no way to keep track of pitch counts and locations unless you are actually one of the scouts in the crowd, but we can see the results of each pitcher-batter matchup.  Most of Colorado’s 8 runs on the day were scored off Samardzija; Casey Coleman gave up an unearned run later in the game on a Starlin Castro error.  We’ll summarize what happened in Samardzija’s four innings of work.

  • Flyout
  • Line drive single
  • Groundout
  • Line drive double (run scores)
  • Swinging strikeout (inning over)
  • Homer
  • Infield hit
  • Line drive single
  • Popout (haha Tyler Colvin; nah, just kidding, hope he does well)
  • Infield hit (to Bryan LaHair, who BleacherBum says sucks at fielding so who knows what happened here since we can’t see it)
  • Popout
  • Bases-clearing double
  • Flyout (inning over)
  • Flyout
  • Flyout
  • Swinging strikeout (inning over)
  • Groundball single
  • Bloop single (Colvin again)
  • Bunt single
  • Double play
  • Line drive single (runs score)
  • Lineout (off to the showers with ya, inning over)

In all, Samardzija faced 22 batters and gave up seven hard hit balls.  It looked like he was unlucky on a few plays (or we could call it random variance, whatever, that’s baseball) that changed the complexion of the inning.  He was close to getting out of innings but six out of seven of those runs scored with two outs.  That might be just me rationalizing it because for whatever reason Samardzija is still a leading candidate for one of the rotation spots, so you just hope this is one of those bad starts that all pitchers have and not a harbinger of things to come.  The hard-hit balls are bad, but they will happen to every pitcher.  Sometimes they find their way into a glove like the last out Jeff got (a lineout into Darwin Barney’s glove).  Sometimes weakly hit balls allow a guy to get on base because they drop in the right spots.  That’s baseball.

To his credit, Jeff knows that he just has to keep pitching to ensure that he still has that shot at the rotation by the time Dale Sveum decides the rest of the rotation next Wednesday.  Speaking of Sveum, check out his high school yearbook photo.  Hawt.

Geovany Soto had an excellent day, getting on base every time he was up, with two homers and five runs driven in.  All of this was against some pitcher I’d never heard of though so grain of salt applies.  Jeff Samardzija helped his own cause after creating the mess with a go-ahead RBI single.  Darwin Barney’s outs were productive, with a run-scoring double play grounder and another run driven in on a groundout.  The bullpen held up after Samardzija left the game.  Always positive things to take away from each practice game, especially one that was won.

This weekend’s games against the Padres and the Indians will both be on WGN-TV as well as on WGN Radio, so tune in and see if you can spot BleacherBum in the crowd.  He’ll be the older gentleman heckling the other team’s players.

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