Saturday, March 25

No-no for the Cub-Cubs!! ... sort of

I was fortunate to catch the majority of the Cubs/A's game this afternoon and it was a good one. While it is still only spring training and it was a split squad game with mostly minor leaguers on the scorecards, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The game flew by (10 innings in under three hours) and Cubs pitching retired 29 before allowing a hit. You read that correctly, 9+ hitless innings for the A's. Who accomplished this amazing, never before seen cactus league feat? It was a combined effort with Sean Marshall (who?) and Angel Guzman each working 4. Aardsma took care of the ninth before Koronka took over in the 10th and blew it (the no hitter that is). The Cubs did manage to pull this one out in the bottom of the 10th. Brandon Taylor (again, who?) got the RBI with a broken bat hit that made it to the left field wall. Final score was 1-0 in case you didn't infer that already.

This one really should have been over in the ninth. Jamal Strong started things off with a standing double. He advanced to 3rd on a sac bunt (nice!). Next, the A's decided to juice the bases w/2 intentional walks. The A's were able to prolong the inevitable two ground ball outs... Hopefully, once the season kicks off, we'll see less runners LOB. I'm not holding my breath though...the Cubs seem to do this REALLY well.

Some random good stuff from the game: 3 double plays (thanks to a few walks and Cedeno's glove), 2 sac bunts (Dusty is taking a page out of the south-siders playbook apparently...hopefully we see more of this once the season starts) and 1 shrouded Dusty. Let me clarify that last item: being in Mesa, I guess Dusty is trying to stay as cool (literally and figuratively? sure, why not) as possible. Throughout the game he was sporting a Cubbie blue shroud out of the back of his cap. Pretty sweet look but I think he'll retire it before opening day.


At 8:56 PM, Anonymous Lazlo said...

Actually, Brandon Sing drove in the winning run.

I'm kind of hoping that either Marshall or Guzman get the 5th spot in the rotation. Hill needs to control the fastball and improve his change-up. Marshall and Guzman need more work too, but they both have better control of the fastball, which is a must in the major leagues. Marshall has basically come out of nowhere (by which I mean AA) to challenge our other two touted starters (and Jae Kuk Ryu, who was the most consistent of the 4 last year, and threw the most innings).

Too bad the Cubs couldn't put a run up in the 9th, would've been fun to see a no-hitter. Maybe they're just saving it for the regular season. However, I'd bet that if either Guzman or Marshall can put up another good outing before the season starts, they will get that 5th spot. Gotta ride the hot arm.

I kind of like watching the minor leaguers too, actually, even when I don't know who they are. It often makes me feel more optimistic, because if you know a guy is just a prospect you can freely talk about all his potential without too much thought of what he is doing right now.

At 10:43 PM, Anonymous Lazlo said...

Oh, and Gene Clines got hit in the head by a foul line drive while they were interviewing Dusty. Didn't impact the game, but I thought it was worth mentioning. The camera guy missed it, though. What was he thinking? Old guy concussed by screaming line drive? That's good television!

At 12:44 AM, Blogger DS said...

You're right, it was Sing, not Taylor, who drove in the winning run. My bad and thanks for the correction.

Hopefully we'll see some more of Guzman and/or Marshall.

It is fun watching the minor leaguers. I found it especially funny when the announcers were calling them by number rather than name because the guys on the field aren't on the scorecard. "And here's good old number 31 up to bat for the first time today..."

Guy hit in the head by a foul ball? That IS good television...not sure how I missed that.

At 1:33 PM, Anonymous Lazlo said...

It was kind of amazing how many times the announcers said the words "no-hitter" yesterday before the game was over. They had some marketing guy in the booth, whose name I can't remember, and Len said something about trying to avoid saying it exactly, but that the A's hadn't had a hit yet, and the marketing genius said "yeah, I haven't seen a Cubs no-hitter," or something like that. Do these guys not know baseball? Granted, it's just superstition and tradition, but since you're just a marketing doofus and a pair of announcers and can't contribute in any way to the effort, then you uphold the tradition as kind of a sign that your in it with the team. These baseball guys should know their baseball. Still, it was really the fact that the Cubs couldn't bring the run home in the 9th that kept us from the no-hitter.

At 4:20 PM, Blogger JT said...

Yeah this was definitely nice, but it's so hard to look at it as being anything other than a scrimmage with some sexy stats.

Oh, and what the heck?? Hawk, you actually posted something????!?! Jesus!

At 10:01 PM, Blogger DS said...

Well JT...I like it and it got me excited. I'm not making a big deal out of it but I'm not going to try to find a way to discredit a great performance.

At 5:39 PM, Anonymous Lazlo said...

Agreed. Our 4 minor-league pitchers did fantastic. Granted, it was probably a good day for pitching, as the A's pitchers did very well too. But remember, we were the split squad, not Oakland! If these guys had come out and given up 10 runs then people would be saying "it is only spring training, BUT these guys have to get people out." Guaranteed, when they into late innings and realized they hadn't been able to hit a bunch of guys who have about 10 major league games between them (if that), I'm sure the A's were playing seriously. Now, still, it is only March, and the A's do not have a Pujols, Bonds, or Ramirez.

At 11:34 AM, Blogger DS said...

Lazlo -- great call on the A's not being split squad, I didn't even realize that until you mentioned it.

If you check out a recent link I posted (Wellemeyer trade post), it looks like Guzman will be starting in AAA and we'll probably see more of Marshall in the first few weeks of the season. Good stuff...let's just hope Marshall's performance wasn't a fluke.


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