Spring Training Miscellany: Cubs 6, Royals 4 – March 7, 2012

It’s a winning streak. Today the Chicago Cubs took down the Kansas City Royals in Surprise, Arizona, to even their Spring record at a still-not-very-meaningful 2-2. The Cubs had 15 hits on the day (all singles, save one Darwin Barney double), made Royals pitchers work, stole four bases, and had solid pitching (until Jeff Beliveau in the 9th).

Speaking of solid pitching…

  • So, Jeff Samardzija had a nice day. A very nice day. He pitched three innings (more than the typical two at this stage of the Spring), striking out three, and giving up no more than a bloop single. His fastball sat in the mid-90s (touching the upper 90s), he was economical in his pitches, and his performance was overall described as very, very good.
  • What does it actually mean? All Spring caveats apply (weak lineups, pitchers ahead of hitters, Scott McClain, etc.), there are still a half dozen starting pitchers probably ahead of him in the rotation competition, and this is but one, very small data point. But it’s a very small data point that points strongly in one direction. Nothing that happened today should change anyone’s minds. But if it were to happen again and again this month? Then it starts to make you think. Given all the buzz about Samardzija coming from both Dale Sveum and the front office, this is very much worth watching, no matter how steep the hill upon which Samardzija currently climbs.
  • Bench hopefuls Joe Mather and Matt Tolbert each got the start today, with a hit apiece in three at bats. We’ll continue to keep an eye on them, but they are facing a numbers game that is not working in their favor. Mather would have to beat out two of Reed Johnson, Dave Sappelt, and Tony Campana to make the team (assuming no trades), and Tolbert would probably have to beat at least four of Adrian Cardenas, Blake DeWitt, Edgar Gonzalez, Bobby Scales and Alfredo Amezega.
  • Sappelt had the chance to leadoff today, but came up empty in three at bats.
  • Steve Clevenger had a hit in his three at bats. He struck out in the other two.
  • Jeff Beliveau, an early favorite to win the “other” left-handed spot in the bullpen had another rough outing. A few hits, a wild pitch, and a general inability to fool anyone, combined to make for an ugly appearance – and that was all before he recorded an out.
  • Jay Jackson and Rafael Dolis each threw two innings without giving up an earned run. Dolis has been an organizational favorite for a number of years, and is pushing for a bullpen spot. Jackson is mostly pushing for a spot in the Iowa rotation right now.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

26 responses to “Spring Training Miscellany: Cubs 6, Royals 4 – March 7, 2012”

  1. Serio
  2. Stan

    Ohhhh “Surprise” is the name of the city!

  3. Bric

    Question: How did Belieau become the early favorite for the other lefty job (if there is one) in the bullpen? He’d have to beat out Guab, Sonnenstine, and Maine. The days of Hendry and Pinella’s pet projects like Pie and Caridad are long gone. Let’s hope the new management has a clearer idea of just putting the top, most experienced performers on the roster instead of trying to pat thenselves on the back for finding diamonds in the rough.

    1. Brady

      yea that outing was a cringe to watch. When you are going into the bot of the 9th up 6-1 and you see it very quickly become 6-4 you start to worry a bit. I get that wins in ST dont matter but they are still nice.

    2. King Jeff

      Beliveau looked pretty great in the minors last year at times, and Maine, Gaub, and Sonnanstine did not. I am not nearly as worried about Svuem making a bad call on the final roster as I was with Quade last year. Not sure that’s worth much, but I get a better feeling from listening to management talk this year.

    3. Luke

      Maine and Beliveau are the best of the bunch, but Maine has had trouble with his location in the past.  Coming off their seasons last year, Beliveau has to be considered near the front of the pack at the very least.

  4. Andrewmoore4isu

    Brett, a little saddened that you didn’t talk about campana’s sac bunt and his outfield assist as he is the best player on the cubs roster.

  5. Brady

    I really am a fan of all the contact hitting. 13+ hits in each game so far. I am not expecting that to continue through the season but its nice to see people reaching base instead of just smashing a hr or striking out. Brett Jackson also had a pretty solid rbi single in his only at bat. Not like 1 at bat really deserves him of mention in the bullets but he keeps producing so I figured I’d mention it instead since I am a nobody and can.

  6. spencer

    Another bad outing for beliveau….

  7. Josh

    I’m pulling for Bobby Scales to earn a bench spot. This guys has done his rounds in the minors and deserves to spend a season in the majors no matter how small the role. Obviously I want him to be productive though and not earn the spot just because he’s spent a lot of time in the minors.

    1. King Jeff

      With Baker and DeWitt locked in as the backups, it will be difficult for Scales to make the team. I think that they have to keep Cardenas on the roster in order to keep him, so it might be impossible for Scales.

  8. oswego chris

    I do think it is OK to get exited about Samardzija…I read something months ago about this being a break out year for him….probably has best pure stuff after Garza of potential starters….

  9. die hard

    I am starting to be a believer….thats why I am a die hard….going to hate myself in the morning for thinking this team could win as much as 70 games….Sveum seems to know what he wants and how hes going to get there…Quade knew what he wanted but didnt know how to get there…Sveum also has respect from players as he was one for long time and had some success….Quade didnt which is tough as he was and is a decent and talented guy…Also think the veterans bailed on him even though he favored them…was like spoiling a child who just acts worse each time he gets his way…lack of discipline did him in…Sveum wont have that problem…Go Cubs!!!!

    1. rcleven

      IF they continue with hitting and can continue to score 6 runs a game I think you will be very pleasantly surprised with Cubs winning somewhere in the 75 to 79 wins this year.

  10. Dan

    My darkhorse came through. Couple more solid starts for him and then he’s a lock.. :P

  11. JasonB

    Another 2B for Barney is nice to see.  I know it’s AZ and it’s a small sample size but if he can develop gap power, then he could be pretty productive plus the additional power should make it more difficult for pitchers to challenge him, which should lead to more walks.  I know it’s early, but this is encouraging.

  12. Sircub

    Just a side note. A single data point cannot “point” in any direction. It requires two points to define a line, and thus derive directionality. HTH