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 mhttp://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/wp-admin/post-new.php#articleissed 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....
- 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 teahttp://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/wp-admin/post-new.php#articlem'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.