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Boom. Winning record.

Ok, so it’s just Spring Training, and, indeed, it’s just seven games into Spring Training. But you know the last time the Chicago Cubs had a winning record? April 20, 2011, when they were 9-8. So, we’ve waited, and I’m going to smile about it, Spring Training or not.

Today the Cubs took out the Brewers 6-1, and Starlin Castro hit a homer. Both things are swell. Among the notable bits:

  • Blake DeWitt really wants back on the roster. He had another couple hits today, and is up to .625 on the Spring. Dale Sveum has already discussed the bench as though DeWitt is on it, so it’s fair to consider DeWitt a “favorite,” such as there is one, to win a utility job. At the same time, Sveum’s been very complimentary of Adrian Cardenas. The battle remains one to watch.
  • Alfredo Amezaga, another utility infield candidate, also had a couple hits, and forced me to try very, very hard not to say “that guy is Amezaging!” Obviously I didn’t try hard enough. I apologize.
  • The Cubs gave reliever Blake Parker – the guy Dale Sveum talked up early in camp – two innings of work today, and he responded by striking out two and giving up just one hit. There are a handful of spots for the taking in the bullpen, and Parker might just be emerging as a possible taker.
  • To the contrary, Marcos Mateo and Manny Corpas weren’t overly impressive in their innings of work, with Mateo giving up two hits (including the only run of the game on a homer to Alex Gonzalez), and Corpas giving up a hit and lacking velocity.
  • Casey Coleman got an inning of work at the end of the game, which suggests he’s already out of the rotation competition. To his credit, he was perfect, with a strikeout.
  • Matt

    No mention of Dempster buzzing Aramis when he came to the plate? I smiled when I saw that on Twitter.

    • mb1.0.2

      I saw it on the TV…Len and Bob’s reaction was pretty awesome. It was simply a pitch that got away from Demp, but it was still fun to watch and speculate.

      It was nice FINALLY seeing the Cubs on TV. Lookin’ forward to watching again tomorrow!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It was reportedly unintentional.

      • Matt

        Unintentional, probably. Regrettable, probably not. At least that’s how I’d feel if I were Demp.

      • Matt

        I should probably clarify my thoughts above… I don’t dislike Aramis. I thought he was a solid 3B for the Cubs for many years and came to the club at a time when the Cubs had a black hole at the position. The Cubs could have done a lot worse than him over the last 8+ seasons. The times when he didn’t always hustle and his stoic/bored attitude annoyed me, but I never had reasons to dislike the guy. What made me smile about Dempster (unintentionally) buzzing Ramirez was that he’s now on the opposing side, and no one on the Cubs is going to cut him a break because he used to be a teammate. I enjoy rivalries in sports and now that Ramirez plays for the Cubs rival means I’ll be rooting against him just a little bit more. Whether Dempster did or didn’t throw at him on purpose, I hope Ramirez knows that when he comes to bat against the Cubs, it’s not going to be easy for him.

        • Ol’CharlieBrown

          Hear, hear.

          • AP

            That’s what I thought. That looked like one of those, “Just so you know, we’re not pals between the lines” pitches just to make sure everyone is clear.

      • Eric

        if you ask me, it was not unintentional. I’m sure Demp has no hard feelings against Rammy. But after the not so nice things Rammy said about it not “being so easy” to bring a winner to the Cubs. I think it was just a little bit of rivalry brewing there (sorry for the intentional pun).

  • rocky8263

    Anytime we can see decent pitching and no errors it’s a good day. Spring training or not.

  • TeddyBallGame

    Best part of today was hearing that DeJesus is going to be the leadoff hitter this season. Sveum was messing with us all along and most of us saw it coming. I continue to say/think the staff we have in place seems great as of now. They tell us how it is m and appear open and honest about what they’re thinking. That doesn’t mean that can’t mess with us a litlle. From the front office, to the coaching staff, to the players it truly seems everyone is on the same page and from watching the two games the last two days (I know, two Spring Training games) it seems like we’re more aggresive on the basepaths, trying to get that extra base. I hope this team continues to bust ass regardless of whether it’s Spring Training or midseason. Looking forward to the game tomorrow.

    • brittney

      That mean Sevum’s getting them to work and improve on the small things like aggressive base running and just pure hustle. I am as well on the staff banwagon. Everything just seems to be clicking and running smooth already for the team. MAYBE the cubs will be the surprise team this year?!

      • Kurt

        Also impressed with Blake ending up on 2nd when the outfielder didn’t hit the cutoff man…in the 9th inning…of a game the Cubs had complete control of. The replay showed Dewitt watching the play in front of him the whole time.

        Compare that to the brewer who in a previous inning hit a double down the left field line that Dewitt misplayed. The runner should have been on 3rd but he was already pulling up before he got to first. I love Rammy, but it appears he’ll fit right in on this team.

        Maybe he’s just battling for a spot but to see that heads up play, at the end of the game, with the outcome more or less decided gives me hope that Sveum’s philosophy of grinding out every play is being taken seriously

    • mark

      I don’t think Sveum was messing with us, I think he was showcasing.

  • mark

    To me the highlight was 2 singles from Ian Stewart. The Cubs have made bets on comeback or prove something years from players in key offensive positions–RF, 3B, 1B. So far results have been decidedly mixed, despite DeJesus’ .364 OBP.

    Three way tie for the strikeout lead: 4 apiece for LaHair, Jackson and Johnson.

    No way Szczur makes the team, of course, but he seems to be making the most of his playing time.

  • Cheryl

    LaHair must have faced this type of pitch in September. Hope he is back in swing next week.

  • alsongs

    It was so nice to finally see some real base running. That was great. I too, was impressed with Stewart, particularly his first hit. He seemed to either be fooled by the pitch or maybe made a last second swing, but he stayed with it and hit a nice line drive. If he can do that all year I don’t care if he hits a bunch of homers. Seemed to me also that Soto is still over-swinging. I think he does his best hitting when he goes with the pitch, rather than trying to pull everything. Nice throw to second, though.

  • TeddyBallGame

    Great points made above. Taking an extra base late in a Spring game is what we all want to see. That is a direct reflection of the mindset the organization seems to have now. Always, we’re used to having the extra base taken on us. Even if we lose 90 games again, if I see that kind of *intelligent hustle* on the basepaths and in general, I’d feel as close to certain as possible, we’re headed in the right direction

    • DocWimsey

      But if you still lose 90 games with “intelligent hustle” (and the Mariners & Padres show that this is pretty easy to do), then doesn’t that mean that the “right direction” is in a completely different dimension?

      Again, the idea is to make the Cubs like the Sox, Yanks or Phils. That is not how those teams win. I’ll start feeling good about the Cubs when I see them play like those teams for 3 or 4 months.

  • Bric

    It might just be me but the Cubs, especially in the last couple of days, really look hungry. Beating the Brewers and the Sox says a lot for the team mentality and it feels good. I don’t care whether it’s spring training or not, beating big rivals in the manner that they did inspires confidence, trust and desire among the players and fans. Something that disappeared in the last couple of years of Hendry and Pinella.

  • rcleven

    Got to give Mateo a little break with the triple. Thought Campana over ran and misplayed.

  • Kyle

    The highlight for me was that no one got hurt. Nothing else that happened really mattered at all.

    Okay, now that that’s out of the way. I enjoyed seeing Szczur for the first time. He really does have an ugly swing, though he got a solid single out of it. Fans are going to turn on Rizzo at some point. He’s going to be a solid, productive hitter, but I suspect he’s going to look really bad on some breaking balls.

  • Houston Transplant

    One of the things I really enjoyed was hearing about how the coaching staff is really focusing on base running this year. I’ve been watching spring training games for a while now, and I never remember hearing as in-depth of a description of exactly WHAT they’re trying to teach (hit this bag with this foot, etc.) and how players are hearing about it when they don’t do what they’re supposed to. It just feels like there’s more accountability this spring than in years past, which can’t possibly be a bad thing. Also liked hearing Sveum chat about baseball with Len & Bob…he seems like a rather intense guy!

  • die hard

    Heating up the Cubs-Brewers rivalry to compare to Yanks-Bosox is good and looking forward to it. No doubt Sveum is stoking the fires.

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