Today the Cubs got slapped around by the Brewers so badly that I’m thankful I get to fall back on the old “Spring Training games don’t count so who cares about the score” thing.

Spring Training games don’t count, so who cares about the score?

Among the notable bits…

  • The aforementioned slapping didn’t occur until the fourth inning, and that’s because Randy Wells had the ball the first three innings. Wells gave up just two hits, and nothing else. He was a ground ball machine, as he often is in Spring Training. The Brewers weren’t exactly throwing an All-Star lineup out there, for what that’s worth.
  • The fourth inning slapping? Actually, it was just 1/3 of an inning of slapping, because that’s all it took for Travis Wood to give up six runs (five earned) on three hits, two walks, and HBP. Spring performances, while not the be-all-end-all of the roster-shaping process, do matter. And this one is going to hurt Travis Wood’s hopes of making the rotation out of Spring. Badly. Particularly in light of how well everyone else is pitching.
  • Another pitcher’s chances of making the roster probably took a small hit today when Casey Coleman gave up four earned on five hits and two walks in just 1.2 innings. I’m not sure what he was working on – i.e., whether he was trying his new bullpen amp-it-up approach – but, whatever it was, it didn’t work.
  • Manny Corpas had his first good outing, cleaning up Wood’s mess by striking a guy out and getting a grounder. But it was just 2/3 of an inning.
  • Trever Miller continues to be quietly solid. He pitched 1.1, and gave up nothing.
  • On the offensive side, no one did anything exceptional or particularly worthy of mention. Reed Johnson struggled in left field. Tony Campana remains hitless on the Spring – a Spring in which he typically gets one late at bat per game.
  • Cliffy

    In the 5 loses so far this spring the Cubs have committed an err in 4 of them. Also in 2 of the 5 .loses Cubs did not steal a base as in today. also in those 5 lost games the pitchers have given up a high number of walks. Its a small sample size but all these areas have been outstanding in the games won.

    • Brett

      The little things add up, and all that, I suppose. Of course, today, an error or two or a steal or two weren’t going to make much of a difference.

      • DocWimsey

        Or it’s the big things that add up: the Cubs were out-slugged in 4 of their 5 loses, with equal slugging in their other loss. The Cubs out-slugged the opposition in 4 of their 6 wins, with equal slugging in one of the loses. So, the “slugging” team is 8-1 in Cubs games so far, with 2 “byes.”

        (In regular season games, the “slugging” team won nearly 80% of the time over the first half of last year; I stopped keeping track after that.)

        • Brett

          Like, duh. Was just making conversation … :)

        • Luke

          Have you looked for a relationship between team SLG and walks drawn on a per game basis? I don’t have the data (or the time) check it right now, but I’d not be surprised if there is at least a weak relationship there.

          If you keep tabs on this sort of thing during the 2012 season, I’d be interested in seeing the data.  We might have to get a Message Board thread going on the mathification of baseball.

          • DocWimsey

            Brett: Mea culpa!

            Luke: I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t keep track of that while I was plugging along last year. (I was interested in the notion that the Cubs had to learn how to win without outslugging the opposition: it turns out that the other 29 teams would like to know how to do that, too!) However, for individual players, there is a pretty significant relationship between isolated slugging and walks/PA over the season. That does not demonstrate a relationship within individual games, but it should create one all by itself.

            I’ll try to keep track of it this year.

            • Luke

              Sounds like fun.  I imagine Theo and company are way ahead of us, but it should be fun nonetheless.

            • CubFan Paul

              Isolated SLG has been my new favorite state for a while now.

              Hopefully Barney has an ISO of at least. 099 this year ..a. 700plus OPS would be nice at 2B

  • Dan

    I had high hopes for Travis Wood and I still do. I didn’t think he’d make the rotation but maybe fit in the bullpen as Jeff Samardzija’s replacement in the 7th inning. I think the last two spots in the rotation boils down to Jeff, Randy, and Chris.

  • Kyle

    Travis Wood should be in the rotation even if he gives up 50 more runs in spring training. He should probably be the No. 2 starter.

    • CubFan Paul

      I know we’re in a transition year and trying to find young impact players, but who would you leave out of the rotation (or trade this spring to make room for Travis Wood): Garza, Dempster, Maholm, Samardzija & Volstad

      Samardzija will make the rotation and should be the #2 behind Garza, in my opinion. T.Wood can go to Iowa til Garza & Dempster get traded to contenders in June/July

      I can understand releasing Soriano or trading Byrd this spring to make room for the team’s best OF, BJax.

      • Kyle

        Wood > Volstad or Samardzija, and I’d trade Dempster in a heartbeat before sending Wood to Iowa.

        • Dustin S

          Assuming the last 2 spots go to Volstad and Samardzija, and Wells and Wood don’t make the rotation – it will be interesting to see how they respond. To all the sudden find themselves in the pen or worse yet Iowa I could see them being unhappy regardless of what they say publicly. I doubt Wood expected to have to fight tooth and nail for a starting spot when he came over (and maybe even just a roster spot now), and I think that is probably why he is pressing. Likewise, Wells has started over 80 games in the last 3 years. So to be on the bubble has to be a bit strange.

          Not that their 2011 stats don’t provide reason for them being on the bubble, but I am curious to see how that pans out. For some reason I could see Wood throwing a fit about going to Iowa…

        • CubFan Paul

          Kerry Wood or Travis Wood? I’ve lost your logic ..& The earliest Dempster would accept a trade is July

  • mark

    I’m looking forward to Rodrigo Lopez’ next start. I thought he did a very nice job overall last year, in a difficult situation, and he seems to have lost nothing so far.

    Positives? Stewart had a good day at the plate. I liked his walk. Good to see Mather come back from the DP ball and take a walk. Maybe Sveum put a flea in his ear.

    Negatives? I question whether this might not still be too early in his career for Castro to switch to the 3-hole.

  • clark addison

    Travis Wood will be plying his trade at Iowa this season.

  • mark

    Tony Campana should make the team even if he never gets a single hit in spring training.

    And why not? If DeJesus can be a starter with only one hit in these meaningless games, there should be a spot for Campana, too, right?

    • Kyle

      If the Cubs thought Campana was one of their 25 best uses of a roster spot on March 1, they should go with that regardless.

      • Luke

        I’d actually like to know who the Cubs did see as their most likely 25 roster coming into camp.  Campana would definitely have made the cut last October, but the Cubs have added a couple of guys since then (Sappelt and Cardenas, in particular).  I wouldn’t be surprised if Campana was still penciled onto the roster, but I wouldn’t be surprised if was in the 26th or 27th slot either.

        That’s one of the things we’re never likely to know, but I’d like to see anyway.  It would be a whole new context on some of these spring training decisions.

  • ferrets_bueller

    I really, really hope that

    1. Samardizja makes the rotation.

    2. Volstad makes the rotation.

    3. Sappelt makes the team, and ends up either prying away a starting spot, or takes over CF with a Byrd trade.

  • daveyrosello

    Travis Wood, please pick up your boarding pass for the flight to Des Moines at courtesy counter #4.

  • jim

    Wells has always been the number four starter.

  • MichiganGoat

    I just have to say that the main board has been amazing these last few weeks. Advanced meteorology, deep sabermetric discussions, rich prosect information. One might even say that the board is… I don’t know… What word am I looking for… Oh yeah… BETTER

    Could resist, but seriously great work everybody! Can’t wait to see what the season will bring.

  • mark

    The Cubs have very obviously hedged their bets at several positions, including the outfield: they didn’t pick up Sappelt, Johnson and Mather because they were totally sold that Campana was their guy. Sveum himself has said how pleasantly surprised he’s been with Barney, an indication that they stocked up on middle infielders because they had real doubts about Barney–as well as recognizing that neither Baker nor DeWitt offered the level of defense they were looking for. Yes, these games really mean something–not in the standings, but in terms of shaping the roster. For an outsider to make the roster may be a longshot, but it’s still a possibility.

    Same goes for pitching. If the Cubs had stocked up with so many promising young starting pitchers they should have been set, especially with Samardzija bucking for a shot at starting. And yet they brought Lopez back for a look. Sure these moves are at the margin of the roster, but over a season they may make a big difference. Or they could to a team in contention. For the Cubs these moves may provide more trade bait.

  • die hard

    Want them to beat the Brewers every time this year and so lets get the losing out of the way now and let the law of averages take over later