A's Bats Hot in Cubs Cactus League Opener

The Oakland A's outscored the Cubs 15-3 over the final eight innings to overcome a 4-0 1st inning deficit, pounding out 18 hits while thrashing the Cubs 15-7 in what was the Cubs 2011 Cactus League opener, played in 50 degree temperatures after an all-night rain before a disappointing crowd of only 6,892 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.   

box score

The Cubs got off to a quick 4-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st against A's starter Travis Cahill. Lead-off man Kosuke Fukudome drew a walk, and advanced to 3rd base as Starlin Castro roped a single to RF. Castro stole 2nd base (uncontested), and Fukudome scored and Castro advanced to 3rd base on a Marlon Byrd line-drive RBI single to CF. Aramis Ramirez followed with an RBI single, and after Carlos Pena grounded into a 4-6 FC, Alfonso Soriano ripped an RBI double down the LF line, scoring Byrd and sending Ramirez to 3rd. Geovany Soto grounded an RBI single to LF to plate Ramirez, before Blake DeWitt grounded into a rally-killing inning-ending 6-3 DP.

Meanwhile, Carlos Zambrano was mowing down the A's over the first two innings on just 25 pitches (16 strikes), striking out Coco Crisp and Daric Barton to open the game (both swinging), and allowing just a lead-off walk in the top of the 2nd to Kurt Suzuki, who was immediately erased on an Andy LaRoche 4-6-3 ground ball DP. Zambrano's sinker was working well, and he dominated the A's hitters over his two innings of work, getting routine ground balls when he wasn't scoring a strikeout.  

New Cub Matt Garza came into the game to start the 3rd, and proceeded to load the bases on two singles and a walk. Coco Crisp (batting left-handed) then unloaded a towering grand slam HR over the pavillion well beyond the RF fence, tying the game at 4-4 before Garza could retire a hitter. Garza did settle down a bit after that, allowing one more run on two hits while striking out one. For the day, Garza threw 36 pitches (24 strikes) with a 1/4 GO/FO in 2.0 IP. Garza will probably struggle some in the Cactus League, because he is a "fly-ball pitcher," and fly ball pitchers generally give up more runs in Arizona Spring Training games than they will during the regular season.

Although he did not walk anyone, Jeff Samardzija was behind on most of the hitters he faced in his one inning of work, allowing a run on two hits (a one-out double by Daric Barton followed by a Josh Willingham RBI single). Although he did allow a run on two hits, The Shark did get an inning-ending 6-4-3 DP where he shattered Andy LaRoche's bat.

Carlos Marmol struggled with his command in the 6th, but he did not allow a run in his one inning. Justin Berg, however, got hammered in the 7th as the A's broke the game open, allowing seven runs (all earned) on six hits and a walk, while retiring just one hitter. Berg is one of about ten pitchers battling for (likely) one open spot in the bullpen, and he did nothing to help himself with today's miserable performance.   

John Grabow (who is a lock to make the Cubs Opening Day roster) had a poor outing, allowing a single, a double, and a triple (and two runs) in the top of the 8th. 

The Cubs did mount minor rallies in the bottom of the 7th and in the bottom of the 8th, scoring one run in the 7th on a Max Ramirez bases-loaded SF to RF following Fernando Perez and Bryan Lahair singles and a Brett Jackson walk, and two more in the 8th on a Jeff Baker lead-off infield hit, a Darwin Barney double off the left-centerfield fence, and a Josh Vitters line-drive RBI single.

Alfonso Soriano had a nice day at the plate, collecting three hits (the 1st inning RBI double followed by singles in his next two ABs), and Starlin Castro had two singles (both line drives, both to the opposite-field), as did Marlon Byrd.

On defense, Blake DeWitt was charged with a missed-catch fielding error that really should have been scored a FC (the runner waa already safe at 2nd base when the throw arrived), Tyler Colvin bobbled two line drives to RF in the top of the 7th that resulted in runners scoring from 3rd base after they had held up, and CF Fernando Perez misplayed a routine fly ball to left-center into an extra-base hit.  

The Cubs play the Brewers tomorrow at HoHoKam Park.    


Berg, 189.00 ERA, heh.

Az Phil: Garza will probably struggle some in the Cactus League, because he is a "fly-ball pitcher," and fly ball pitchers generally give up more runs in Arizona Spring Training games than they will during the regular season.

Garza may struggle some in May through September Wrigley field for that reason as well.

Day one of spring training and Garza's performance here is meaningless as a predictor of his performance during the year. But as I don't believe the addition of Garza makes us a contender (even with Wainwright's injury) and I believe Guyer, Archer and Chirinos will be in the majors by 2012, with Archer and Lee (arriving around 2013) becoming extremely good players, I have opposed the trade since the day it was made. I hope Garza becomes a star and proves me wrong, but I think the Cubs will continue to miss the playoffs for now (and, in a few years, contend regardless of Garza) while Tampa will turn around because of this trade. The fact that the Rangers, who have a legitimate argument that a top pitcher can get them to the World Series, offered less than us lends credence to my belief we overpaid, imo.

By the way, Guyer (0-2) and Fuld (0-3) held hitless, while Chirinos hit a pinch-hit home run in their first day as Rays, which I know is just as meaningless as Garza's performance, but is just the first day of performances of Garza and those traded for him that I hope do not meet my expectations.

I don't see how that trade is going to "turn around" Tampa.

1. Tampa won their division last year. Unless by "turn around" you mean the trade will make them worse.

2. Tampa got a backup catcher, a backup outfielder, a no-power SS who is years away, and a pitching prospect who even if he develops and stays consistent is still not going to do much better than Garza, who won 15 games for them.

i still cant believe they want to use jake mcgee as a reliever...but i guess they have the luxury of excess starting and a need in the pen. he's a bit fragile, but he's got nice stuff.

Tampa is in a division with teams spending lots of money to improve. They lost significant pieces (Garza, Crawford) and are getting younger.

Yes, turn around may have been the incorrect usage, but they are getting rid of veterans and going with younger players...does rebuild work for you?

I don't believe I agree with your determination on what we gave up either:

1) A "backup catcher" -- seems there are many scouts and analysts who disagree with your immense knowledge on Chirinos' ceiling. All we can go on is perceived value, with many perceiving this value higher than "backup".

2) A backup outfielder -- Guyer hit .340+ at AA at an age appropriate 24 years old. Will this be a high point for him? Perhaps. But he also hig .340+ in winter ball. He always had speed (30-33 stealing last year) and showed developing power last year, with 39 doubles and a .588 slg percentage. Perhaps he is never but a 4th outfielder...hell, perhaps he never makes the big leagues. But to say at this point that he is "a fourth outfielder" is premature...this may be his high point, but he had also previously fought many injuries and this could be a pre-cursor to continued success of .300+ avg, good speed and decent power.

3) A no-power SS who is years away: Hell, why not trade every player in A ball and below at this concept -- they are all years away. And certainly they have reached their power potential at the age of 20, so if they are putting up high slugging by then, screw them. Lee could have a bright future and power (in terms of slg% or HR, rather than projection) is not something I concentrate on when considering the value of a player in A ball, particularly a shortstop.

4) A pitching prospect who even if he develops and stays consistent is still not going to do much better than Garza: If Archer develops and stays consistent, or in another words reaches his potential, he will be significantly better than 42 wins and 44 losses, 3.97 ERA, .252 avg against by the age of 27. If Archer reaches his potential, he is a number 1 ace, something Garza is not close to being.

If we gave so little, why did Tampa do the trade? And why not take any prospect from the loaded Rangers system, who all are better than these bums the Cubs offered? Why...because we overpaid. And we overpaid to possibly (and I stress possibly) get over the .500 mark, not to make the playoffs. It was a terrible trade even if done for fair value and ridiculously bad because we got ripped off.

More importantly, the trade was bad no matter how the players turn out. Prospects have value and, if a trade is going to be made, a team should get commensurate value in return. Corey Patterson may never have developed, but that doesn't mean it would have been good when he was one of the top prospects in baseball to trade him for a serviceable middle infielder like Jeff Baker, even if Baker has turned out to have a better career.

What does Grabow have to do to NOT make the opening day roster?

Your entries below.

Release a sex tape with Hendry's hot wife?

Don't believe Hendry is married any longer. This clearly will not work.

Think up something else.

Release a sex tape with Hendry's hot ex-wife?

With a time stamp from two years ago?

I still don't think that will do much.

IF you can produce a tape of Hendry having sex with Andy McFail, you may have something.

A bullpen spot?

I'm disappointed for Jim Hendry's sake. She was alright.

She was my cousin.

Haha, really? Sorry for being a dick.

She WAS his cousin? Did she quit?

Sorry -- IS my cousin. The previous post said "She was alright" & I responded to the past tense comment by wording MY statement also in the past tense. She does still exist (as far as I know) and she is still related.

My grandmother was her great aunt (and my grandmother has passed on -- so I didn't screw that one up!).

Murder a teammate in cold blood...during a game, on the field of play?

I'm not sure, but I think Zambrano's already done that.

Which teammate? It could make a difference.

I was thinking someone whose jersey number isn't in the 60s or higher.

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  • Oh yeah! It just felt like one for some reason.

    Old and Blue 39 min 16 sec ago view
  • Agreed. I was not including Fowler or Heyward.

    I'm just not a fan of 2016 Coghlan.....

    Dusty Baylor 45 min 53 sec ago view
  • @Dusty Contreras if it's a Lester or Arrieta start. TLS is good PH too. You also forgot about Heyward, assume Fowler is CF.

    chitownmvp01 47 min 8 sec ago view
  • I expect Soler to get optioned as well when activated and Cahill to replace Grimm. It wouldn't surprise me if Coghlan and/or Soler is included in a trade.

    Maybe Coghlan is up to see if he can get on track before someone acquires him.

    This move could also be to assure that we have as much OF depth as possible to maximize Joe's ability to rest players in September once we've clinched.

    chitownmvp01 49 min 18 sec ago view
  • Maddon basically said as much...Fowler still kind of sore, they're being proactive, etc.

    Tito 51 min 32 sec ago view
  • La Stella at 2B...Baez at 3B, or vice versa. Zobrist in RF, Bryant in LF No one gets bumped.

    Dusty Baylor 59 min 49 sec ago view
  • If Coghlan is leading off, I assume Fowler is getting the day off. Who is supposed to lead off, then? Someone has to get on base for Bryant and Rizzo. Coghlan's OBP is .346 with the Cubs. Jackson's was .304. LaStella can lead off, but then he has to play second or third, and bump Zobrist or Baez.

    Unless he gets hot, Coghlan will likely change places with Soler soon.

    VirginiaPhil 1 hour 1 min ago view
  • I suspect the Cubs asked Chris Coghlan if he would accept an Optional Assignment to the minors and he refused (Coghlan has one minor league option left), so either you keep LaStella on the 25 and release Coghlan, or option LaStella to AAA for about a month and have both LaStella and Coghlan available in September-October. (As an Article XIX-A player, Coghlan must give his permission before he can be optioned to the minors, while LaStella has not accrued enough MLB Service Time to refuse an optional assignment).

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 22 min ago view
  • Given today's lineup -- maybe they just wanted an extra OF to give Dexter a few days off (i.e. day game after a night game).

    billybucks 1 hour 24 min ago view
  • Tommy LaStella has three minor leaue options left so it's no big deal to send him to Iowa, but as of right now he projects to be at 2+124 MLB Service Time by the end of the of the 2016 MLB regular season, which will place him "on the bubble" as far as being eligible for salary arbitration as a "Super Two" post-2016.

    But if he spends at least twenty days on optional assignment this season (anything less than twenty days and he will accrue a full season of MLB Service Time), he will not have enough MLB Service Time to have a chance to be a "Super Two."

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 35 min ago view
  • this will be his 4th time leading off for the cubs this season...WITH A .500 OB%! HAIL MADDON! THE PLAN (c)2016! HE HAS RISEN! #YOLO #SWAG! KONY 2012!

    crunch 1 hour 43 min ago view
  • I don't hate Coghlan as a PHer but he's leading off today which is as bad as Austin Jackson doing so last year. He doesn't even have the speed.

    johann 2 hours 32 min ago view
  • TLS has options. He will be up again in Sept, and maybe earlier.

    Rob Richardson 2 hours 43 min ago view
  • Very odd -- TLS .308/.419 in July (in 26 AB). Strange move for a team struggling to score runs. Hard to imagine Coghlan doing better than that. Maybe they like Coghlan better as a PH?

    billybucks 2 hours 53 min ago view
  • Sorry to nitpick -- but the first game wasn't a save.

    billybucks 3 hours 8 min ago view
  • Wow La Stella sent to Iowa and Coghlan brought up. I'm not a huge Stella fan but he has been hitting lately and is to me better than Coghlan. Neither are good defensively but I guess Coghlan can play the outfield allowing Bryant to stay at 3rd more where he's better.

    johann 3 hours 9 min ago view