Cubs win! Rout Angels behind HRs by Valbuena, Lake; pitchers allow just one walk

I get the feeling that for all the offensive fireworks on display today, Dale Sveum will be most pleased by the Cubs pitchers allowing just one walk -- and that was to the first batter of the game.

And Len Kasper mentioned me on the air! Or so I'm told.  I m it because it happened when my wife called, but it seems it has to do with my Rex Brothers tweet as Len was mentioning players with familial names (Scott Cousins Jonathan Niese, Mark Parent).

Felz will do the recaps during the season so for now, here's just a quick rundown of the action today....

On offense

  • Brett Jackson continued his hot hitting with two more triples and went 2 for 2 with 2 RBI on the day.  Everyone keeps saying Jackson will start in AAA, but evidently he's not listening.  Good for him.
  • Junior Lake hit a bomb today.  After striking out in his first 2 ABs, the 6'4", 220 lbs, Lake showed off some of is raw power by launching a towering drive deep beyond the LF wall.
  • Luis Valbuena is going to make Ian Stewart sweat while he recovers from his quad injury.  He hit a HR in his first AB in the second inning, then walked his next time up.  Power and grinding out ABs is a good way to get his bosses' attention.  Stewart is likely in a position where he either wins the starting 3B job or the Cubs cut ties and he moves on -- so hopefully he gets back in the lineup soon and gives the Cubs a decision to make.
  • Jorge Soler went 1 for 2 with a double while fellow top prospect Javier Baez went 1 for 3 and played well in the field.
  • Anthony Rizzo doubled and walked, which is a normal day at the office for him.  I take it as a sign that Rizzo has arrived when a double no longer gets me all geeked up.  I'm expecting that from Rizzo now.
  • Rizzo's understudy, Brad Nelson, went 2 for 2 with a couple of RBI.  Nelson effectively replaces Bryan LaHair as a veteran minor league 1B with power, but the Cubs have the luxury of keeping him at AAA since he's on a minor league deal.  Break glass in case of emergency only.
  • Brent Lillibridge has grabbed the inside track for that 25th man spot.  He played a solid SS today and also had an RBI double.  Can he be the player he was in 2011?  If so, he'll make a pretty nice reserve.
  • Logan Watkins got a spring training triple which is to say it would have been an error if it happened in the regular season. CF Peter Bourjos misplayed a fly ball and then had it glance off his glove.  Still, it appeared to be a well hit ball.
  • Scott Hairston had a clutch RBI single when it looked like the Cubs were about to squander Brett Jackson's leadoff triple.
  • Welington Castillo went  1 for 3 with a hard hit single that drove in a run.


  • Travis Wood allowed the tea's only walk when he walked Bourjos to start the game.  Predictably, he scored.   Wood struggled that whole inning with his control but battled through it and didn't walk anyone else.  He rebounded with a 1-2-3 2nd inning that included 3 Ks.  Wood is the favorite for the 5th spot in the rotation and I don't think today's outing changes that.
  • Trey McNutt, who is one of my surprise candidates this spring, pitched a scoreless inning with no walks.  McNutt threw 18 pitches, 12 of which were strikes.  That is an excellent sign for him.
  • Hisanori Takahashi started off with a strong statement, pitching 2 scoreless innings as he attempts to make this bullpen as a non-roster invitee.  His big advantage is that he is a LHP with veteran experience, something the team lacks.
  • Hard throwing RPs Rafael Dolis and rule 5 pick Hector Rondon each pitched a scoreless inning.  To see them do it without walks had to be the most encouraging part for Sveum -- especially Dolis, who has struggled with control.  Rondon has had good control in the minors but it was nice to see it carry over to his first outing in the spring.
  • Non-roster invitees Zach Putnam and Jaye Chapman each pitched a scoreless inning to close the game.




Filed under: Game Recap, Uncategorized


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  • fb_avatar

    I posted this a little bit ago on the previous story, so I'll say it again here. Nice to see the offense break out, but the 14 K's are a little concerning (with only 3 BB's).

    I'll take 1 BB from the Pitchers, but only 3 K's seems odd in what looked like a solid outing (6 hits, 1 BB).

  • In reply to brober34:

    14 k's and none of them were from Jackson. So that's good news.

  • In reply to brober34:

    Sorry, was just away from laptop for awhile. Cubs did play a lot of younger prospects which added to the total. I know Soler and Baez whiffed. Lake did it twice. Didn't happen as much with the starters.

  • This a great time for the Cubs brass to see Baez, Sojer, Lake
    and others in play.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    It's fun for us fans too!

  • It would be fitting if Nelson replaced LaHair, as he did so in Tacoma in 2009 as well at 1B.

  • Twas listening when they mentioned your name.....think that brought us luck!!

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    I missed it. I'm kind of bummed. Wife went to get a hair cut then called and asked what groceries we needed since she was right by the store. Bad timing!

    At least it brought the Cubs luck!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    As most of us have concluded, your wife is a saint.....gotta forgive her timing!!!

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    Thanks, she is great. She had no idea (neither did I) so it was just one of those things.

  • Another plus with Takahashi is that he might be able to help ease Fujikawa's transition to the US and the big leagues. I wonder if that's part of the reason they invited him to camp.

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:


  • Person that I know, said was at the game and that Rondon's fastball was consistently 95-96 mph range... Also said Chapman worked a quick 9th and that Javier Baez made a couple of very good plays, especially one coming in on a slow dribbler... He also said Baez' flyout was deep and that he just missed it, apparently fell under it.

    He also said Jr Lake looked good at 3B, making a couple of easy plays.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Nice to hear on Rondon. If hes throwing 95-96 and throwing strikes all spring it's safe to say he'll be coming to Wrigley.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    big time prospect when he was in the Indians system. Frankly, Im surprised they let him go, considering they don't have a lot of top end pitching.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Unless they had internally written him off, which I doubt, I assume he was lost in a numbers game much as what happened when the Cubs DFA'D TC. They were quite active this offseason w/ FA's (as I recall) and w/ trades, so their calculations heading into the offseason likely left Rondon closest to the proverbial edge.

  • So is Jax still batting close to 1.000?

  • In reply to Good Captain:

    Officially he's 2 for 2 and if you count the intrasquad, he's 5 for 7.

  • John, nice job again. It was only a matter of time before you/Cubs Den would be mentioned on air. Really Cool.

    Changing topics, where did you find Lake listed at 6'4'' and 220. On the top 20 prospect list it has him as 6'3" 215lbs. In general the heights and weights don't ever change for prospects.

  • In reply to John57:

    Just hear he's more in the 6'4 to 6'5 range. A lot of times those MLB measurements lag a bit, and they're not always accurate.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Terry Forster says hey. :)

  • By the way, congratulations, John... Wish I was listening when it happened, but I was working... Hopefully it is not the last time.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Thanks...I missed it too! I got a bunch of tweets on it afterward.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    You tweet, they say your name, we win..........I think you know what you have to do from here.

  • In reply to Hubbs16:


  • Glad Valbuena seems to be continuing his hot winter. He was my pick to win the 3b job even before Stewart went down, but power's gonna determine if he can stick there. Nice to see him homer today.

    John, what inning where you mentioned in, do you know? You can probably go back and listen to it archived. And I'm gonna miss your game recaps. Last year that was the first place I'd go afterwards to discuss the game.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    I don't remember. I can probably check my phone when my wife called and could take a guess based on the time.

  • fb_avatar

    To think this team might have gone from among the least MLB pitching depth last year to a nice amount of depth this year is quite an accomplishment.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Yes, that part of the offseason was a great success. By May they'll have 7 legit MLB starters, maybe more if some guy emerges from minors.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    It's funny how "depth" works. Last year at this time, the FO was talking about how much pitching depth there was. One Randy Wells, one Paul Maholm, and a few trades later, things can look pretty slim.

  • Sounds to me like Sveum really doesn't Stewart. He's been rooting for Valbuena to get the job. I'm also sure he didn't like him being away from the team last year. Also if they get rid of him it makes it that much easier to add Lillibridge to the team since Stewart will be removed from the 40-man.

    If Valbuena can't cut it as starter then proceed with a platoon of him and Vitters and if that doesn't work. I sincerely hope Lake is ready.

  • In reply to Furiousjeff:

    I think Sveum was a little more bothered than the FO that Stewart didn't spend any time with the team. However, he has said he thinks Valbuena should be a sub. At the same time, you can't give Stewart the job. He hasn't earned that right yet. I agree that you can give him the inside track, but he needs to win it.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think Dale is just stating a very obvious fact: Ian, you don't have a guaranteed job. If you want to be the starting 3B, come take the job, otherwise we have others who will.

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    I agree and I certainly hope he bounces back because if Valbuena becomes our everyday 3B, it'll weaken our bench severely, I just think the bench looks much better with Valbuena than Edwin Maysonet or Alberto Gonzalez.

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    No argument there. He has to win the job. He needs to play and play well, but it's going to be tough for him if he's not on the field -- especially if Valbuena keeps hitting.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree... I wonder what's going through his mind after the 2 3B's today (Valbuena - Lake) both went deep... I hope he bounces back, it can only do good and maybe we won't feel too bad about the trade.

  • In reply to Caps:

    I really do hope he bounces back as well. He has the potential to add a lot to the lineup -- and Valbuena will make an excellent utility guy. Makes team better if Stewart plays well.

  • Absolutely not the time to "give up" on Ian Stewart.

  • In reply to GoCubs:

    Not at all, but I think it's fair to say he needs to play and play well to win the job.

  • I was very pleased with everyone's performance, this gives me hope for our cubs this year! This group of pitches surprised me...Did anyone see McNutts wife that day? Holy smokeshow!!!

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