Beating the White Sox feels good even when it’s completely meaningless. Ryan Dempster was superb for five shutout innings, and each reliever kept the shutout intact until…
- Jeff Samardzija gave up three earned runs, including a two-run homer to Pirate cast-off Lastings Milledge. Once again, Samardzija was pitching the 9th inning, which he has in each of his last four Spring appearances. I’m now as convinced as ever that the Cubs are trying their best to make Samardzija look good – either to shop him or to justify his place on the team – and that Samardzija is trying his best to make the Cubs look foolish. His Spring ERA is 8.44.
- Among the better relievers of the day, Thomas Diamond and Scott Maine each threw a scoreless frame. Maine is making a strong case that he should be in the bullpen regardless of what happens with the other pitchers – that is to say, the Cubs may have to carry three or four lefties in the bullpen.
- Jeff Baker and Blake DeWitt split the game at second base. Baker doubled twice, and DeWitt went 1-2. For now, the anticipated platoon remains unchanged.
- Non-battle-related note: Carlos Pena finally had a good game at the plate, with a homer and a single in three at bats. He’s going to face a dramatic shift all season long, so expecting a huge leap in his batting average is probably not realistic, his recovery from last year’s foot issues notwithstanding.