Cubs Recap: Cubs lose but Jeff Beliveau, Brett Jackson impress

It was one of those days.  The Cubs couldn't seem to get a hit no matter who was pitching.  They totaled 5 on the day and didn't score a run.  Aesthetically, it wasn't a fun game to watch either.  The Cubs lost 5-0 and really were never in the game.  There were, however, a couple of positives to talk about in Jeff Beliveau and Brett Jackson...

On offense

  • The most impressive thing the Cubs did on offense today was work the count and grind out ABs.  The results weren't there as far as hits are concerned, but that will come as long as the Cubs continue to produce quality at-bats.  They drew 5 walks today in addition to their 5 hits, but just couldn't seem to get a hit when they needed one.
  • Brett Jackson got Dale Sveum's attention today despite not getting a lot of action.  He made the most of his opportunity.  He singled in his only AB and then came in hard but clean to break up what looked like  a sure double play.  Sveum liked the effort so much that he got up to greet and praise Jackson as soon as he came back to the dugout.
  • Blake DeWitt continues his hot hitting.  He had a single and a walk today in 3 plate appearances.  Despite the good showing, his average dropped from .625 to .600.  He did get picked off 2nd base, so not all was well this time.
  • Anthony Rizzo got a hit to raise his average to .308.

Pitching

  • Matt Garza really struggled today.  The radar readings on WGN were scary in that they had his fastball clocked at 89 mph, but considering it also clocked the soft-tossing Andy Sonnanstine at 100 mph and a Jeff Beliveau pitch at 58 mph, it's probably safe to say that something was wrong with those readings today.  That doesn't excuse Garza's lack of control.  He didn't get hit hard, giving up 3 soft singles, but the 2 walks added in made it a rough outing when all was said and done.  He gave up 4 runs in 1 1/3 innings.
  • Chris Rusin made a brief appearance and got Garza out of the jam with an inning ending double play.  This has nothing to do with today, but I'm now thinking that Rusin's future role won't be as a starter, but as a lefty specialist out of the bullpen.
  • Andy Sonnanstine pitched a scoreless 3rd inning and gave up one hit and Trever Miller continued his solid spring with a hitless inning.
  • The pitching star of the day was Jeff Beliveau. We always say "it's early" in the spring because things can change.  Beliveau is a perfect example of that.  He was wild in his first outing and then got hit hard in his second outing.   This time around he pitched 2 hitless/walkless innings and struck out 5.  He is a pleasure to watch operate.  He has a slight hitch in his delivery and keeps the ball hidden behind him pretty much until the moment he releases the ball.  It has to be tough for hitters to time him and pick up the ball and it makes his 89 mph fastball look like it's at least mid-90s.  It often resulted in late, feeble swings by the Dodger hitters.  Control-wise he was a machine when it came to throwing tough-to-hit, knee-high strikes.  It's safe to say he's back in the bullpen picture.

Defense

  • Bobby Scales played SS later in the game and air-mailed a throw that Rizzo was able to leap up and deflect, likely preventing it from going into the dugout.
  • The normally dependable Marlon Byrd was a little non-chalant on an apparent single up the middle that Dodger Trent Oeltjen hustled into a double.  Knowing Byrd, I'm guessing that's not going to happen again anytime soon.

Overall, it was the Cubs most dismal effort of the spring so far but the outstanding outing by Beliveau and the hard-nosed baserunning play by Brett Jackson were sure to grab the attention of the Cubs staff.

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  • Brett Jackson is making it very hard for Cubs management to put him to AAA, he has been the talk of camp. As for Beliveau, it's very encouraging I know how much the Cubs like him and unlike Gaub, he doesn't have control problems.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    It's a tough decision, but imo, unless a team is willing to give some value back for Byrd, it's not worth it.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Yep that is what I said to a Cubs source. He isn't convinced they can make a move (Byrd or Sori) to get him in the line up just yet, and besides they probably want to let him play in Iowa for a month or so.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Agreed. I doubt they want to give him away and they probably feel there's no rush to do that at this point.

  • If Beliveau makes the 25-man roster, am I allowed to say "I told you so?"

    Only slightly kidding, but I don't think anything has happened this spring so far to make me change my opinion on anyone.

  • In reply to Cameron Macpherson:

    I think we've been calling Beliveau the favorite for that job, though his poor start has put Trever Miller in the thick of things and we should see Gaub soon. Today was a good start. It was interesting to watch how someone with an 89 mph fastball can look almost overpowering at times.

    I think you always have to give guys a fresh look in the spring. It's early and spring stats may not mean much but I think you can pick things up via subjective evaluation. Did a guy add velocity or an extra pitch? Has he improved his command? Is there an adjustment a hitter makes to make him less vulnerable to certain pitches? Has he developed a more mature approach? etc. etc.

    That stuff is hard to evaluate objectively but it can change the course of a player's career.

  • This question may be wasting everybody's time (but maybe that's the point): Why is Bobby Scales still coming to spring training??

  • In reply to Dan Bradley:

    The Cubs really like him and want him around the organization. He's older and probably doesn't make the team, but he's a coach on the field right now and I'm sure he'll be one off the field soon.

  • Is Scales out of options at this point?

  • In reply to lokeey:

    He's on a minor league deal, so they can send him to the minors is they want to without risk. They have a glut of utility IF'er types, though: Matt Tolbert, Alfredo Amazega, Edgar Gonzalez, Adrian Cardenas, Blake DeWitt...I don't know if there's a spot for Scales anywhere.

  • The great thing about this site is that I actually know who these guys with the high uniform numbers are that they are putting into these games. I'm actually looking for certain guys (like Jackson, Sczzur, Rizzo, several pitchers, etc. etc.) in game action.

    Before if was "Who??"

  • In reply to eaton53:

    That is great!

    It makes the end of the games more fun to watch, especially early in the spring. They'll probably start getting sent to the minor league complex soon but one of my favorite parts of spring is getting a peek at these guys.

  • Great to see Beliveau pitch like that. I think he still will start in the minors. The new regime seems to like the idea of giving players plenty of time before they get called up and I think will err in that direction. Miller and Russell are pitching well and have in the past, so it depends on whether they want three lefties in the pen and how others pitch from here on out. The same with trading someone to get Jackson in the big league roster on opening day. I don't see it. On a related topic. the Cubs Web site has a bit about Coleman making the pen.

  • Has Beliveau ever started at any level? with his deliver from the left side, I'd love to see if he could do it.

  • In reply to Deer:

    He hasn't started in a while as a pro. He didn't have good command as a starter. He's also more slightly built, so it remains to be seen if he can maintain his velocity -- which isn't a whole lot to begin with.

  • many big leaguers strike out a lot, soriano for one. should we send him down? i know you can't, i'm saying is Jackson better up here learning from pro's or in the minors for a month where he won't learn any more. platoon Byrd/Soriano and play Jackson in CF.

  • In reply to arthur:

    The ability to make contact can affect your ability to hit for average too because of less balls put in play.

    If a guy is struggling with it, you may want him making adjustments against less savvy pitchers first before he tries big leaguers.

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