In case the title is unclear (I’m not saying it’s intentionally obtuse because it tickles me, but I’m not not saying it), the Cubs swept their split squad games today against the Diamondbacks and Dodgers. Carlos Zambrano had another solid outing, Starlin Castro continues to destroy the ball, and Koyie Hill went back to his hitless ways. All is right with the world…
- Braden Looper was just so-so in his latest start. He managed just 3.2 innings, giving up five hits and striking out two. He allowed just one earned run, though.
- As for the bullpen competition, Scott Maine had his first really rough outing, allowing four baserunners and three runs (two earned) in one inning of work. I’d say he still has the inside track on a bullpen spot, but he’ll need to bounce back.
- Jeffs Samardzija and Stevens split two innings of work, with the latter going 1.1 and bailing out the former. That’s right – Jeff Samardzija struggled again today, walking two (and striking out two) and failing to finish out his inning of work.
- Theoretical-but-probably-not-actual bullpen competitors like Jay Jackson, Kyle Smit, Scott Rice, and Chris Carpenter also saw work today, but none was sufficiently terrible or great to merit discussion.
- Fernando Perez and Reed Johnson once again both got starts, though Johnson played just a half game. Perez walked twice in five plate appearances, and Johnson went 0-2. You’ve got to believe Perez has an ever-so-slight lead in their battle to win the 5th outfielder job, if not for his performance, then for his speed.
- The other positional battle – middle infield backup – was once again a non-battle, as Darwin Barney started and played a near full game (1-4) while Augie Ojeda did not make an appearance. Were I like, you know, a real journalist, my first question for Mike Quade today would be, “what’s up with Augie? Is he hurt?”
- As for second base: Blake DeWitt went 1-3, and Jeff Baker went 2-2 with a game-winning single. Moreover, and I hate using non-substantive indicators like this, DeWitt simply doesn’t look very good at the plate right now. If he’s going to get the bulk of the starts against righties to start the season, he better be batting 8th.
- Hey, hey: football signee Matt Szczur made an appearance today! But, er, he went 0-1.