The Cubs dropped today’s game against the Dodgers in a relatively ugly fashion. Not so much in the way of the score, but in the fact that the Cubs were going with their Opening Day lineup, and the Dodgers, well, weren’t. It was a split squad of Dodgers that dominated the regular Cubs today. It’s still just Spring Training, and all that, but I have a feeling Dale Sveum would have liked to win this one.

The notable bits become significantly less notable now that we know the vast majority of the Opening Day 25-man roster. There are a couple battles left in the bullpen, though, and the starters are trying to round into regular season shape…

  • Speaking of which, Ryan Dempster had an adequate final Spring outing. He went 4.2 innings, giving up just one earned run on four hits and three walks. He struck out three.
  • As for the remaining bullpen battle, Manny Corpas and Lendy Castillo got the first chance to impress now that we know it’s down to just a few remaining candidates. Neither impressed. Corpas gave up three earned on two hits and a walk in 1.2 innings. Castillo wasn’t any better, maybe just luckier. He gave up just one earned run in 1.1 innings, but gave up three hits, a walk, and threw the ball away once, for good measure.
  • The Cubs’ offense was a whole ball of nothing today, outside of an Ian Stewart moon shot. Six hits and three walks, total. Only Marlon Byrd reached base more than once (a walk and two hits, including a triple).
  • Joe Mather made his first appearance at second base today (an error, and a double play turned). Interesting.
  • I know that doesn’t seem like too much, but there really wasn’t a great deal to say about today’s game.
  • SteveDillard

    [all caveats about spring training acknowledged]

    This game was a microcosm of the 2012 Cubs season. Despite solid starting pitching, we will lose many games like this because of:

    a. lousy situational hitting

    b. crap bullpen

    As for point a, look at the first inning: runners on second and third, and one out. LaHair must drive in at least one run, but he does the worst thing possible. Strike out. Then in the 5th inning, DeWitt gets to third on an error with one out. Again, Barney must drive that run in, and he does the second worst thing possible. Pop up. Get used to this outcome.

    As for point b, that should be self-evident after today, and why Hoyer said they are still looking for pen help. Our relief corps are going to really suck.

    Stay positive.

    • Andrew

      worst thing possible would be ground into a double play in that situation for Lahair.

      • Kyle

        Worst thing possible would be to to end Starlin Castro’s career on a line drive into the dugout, and blind Matt Garza on the ricochet.

        • A.J.

          LoL.. Wish I could hit a like button for that comment.

          Andrew, there were runners at 2nd and 3rd; if Lahair grounded into a double play it wouldn’t of been his fault, but that of bad base-running.

          • Andrew

            Ahh i thought I read first and third, I didn’t listen to the game.

    • DocWimsey

      The question is, why did LaHair strike out? Was he being “situational” and expanding his strike zone on the philosophy that his job at that point was to put the ball in play at any cost? Or was he being “selectively aggressive” and just fail to make contact? (I.e., was it Hendryball or Theoball?)

      Again, past Theo/Hoyer teams have rejected the notion of “situational” hitting. It’s all about looking for a pitch to drive and swinging hard. “Contact swings” are strongly discouraged. This had a lot to do with why the Sox routinely led the AL in runs scored: they worked lots of counts to walks waiting for drivable pitches, and they also drove a lot of pitches.

      Having not seen the AB, I do not know what LaHair did, however.

      • MichiganGoat

        Oh Doc you need to focus on his “true cub” factor, how much oxygen is in his blood.

  • CubFan Paul

    Byrd should be batting second if Castro is in the 3 hole

  • dob2812

    Lousy situational hitting? What is situational hitting?

    So the guy struck out. Albert Pujols at his peak made an out 55% of the time. The game is hard. Don’t pretend otherwise.

  • ty

    Doc–let me simplify–I was there. He swung and missed by a foot each pitch. He was selectively aggressive when he yelled f— coming back to the dugout.

    • DocWimsey

      So, it was “Hendryball”? I don’t make too much of one AB – to follow up dob2812, the right approach generates a bad outcome most of the time in baseball – but it does suggest that LaHair expanded his strike zone mightily.

      Of course, Pat Hughes would be telling us that it was his job to do that to get the run home……

      • ty

        Doc–it would make our day if you could do color commentary just one game on WGN. It would be un-rivaled in annals of the game.

  • daveyrosello

    DeJesus signing looking like a total waste. This guy has nothing.

    • ty

      Davey–so you are the one who has been watching him play?

    • gratefulled

      Yeah, I’m not sure why he is such a lock for the lead-off position. It’s early, but I haven’t been impressed at all.

    • dick

      I agree with you guys about DeJesus. The guy had a bad year last year and has shown nothing in the spring. Maybe he’ll come around, but I don’t feel very good about him. BN has at least one blast at Barney and usually a Soriano or two every day, but never any comments about Dejesus. He must have a Teflon uniform.

  • Sven-Erik312

    Here’s a thought. If Castro’s fielding is no better this year, trade him to an American League team so he can be a DH and we get all their pitching prospects!

    • hansman1982

      Thank God your name is not Theo Epstein…

    • ferrets_bueller

      dear god……

    • Can’t think of a cool name

      Derek Jeter had a negative 1.3 defensive war as a 22 year old. Just saying.

      • DocWimsey

        Wasn’t that one his better years? 😎

        • ferrets_bueller

          Nice. Most overrated defensive player ever?

          • DocWimsey

            Cap’n Clutch is the classic case of a guy being judged by how pretty he looks at the end of his range rather than by his ability to actually get to balls. Omar Vizquel could set up lawn chairs and start a tail gating party in front of some of the “in the hole” Jeter plays that ESPN called web-gems.

            Still, Jeter’s bat more than made up for his glove: he was a great hitter.

        • Can’t think of a cool name

          Doc, that’s my point on 2 accounts. The first Jeter did get better, not as great defensively as he’s made out to be, but he did get better. The second, you don’t have to be the best defensive shortstop in the world to be considered a great shortstop. If the Yankees had traded Jeter based on his defense at the age of 22 it would have been a trade they would have regretted.

          • DocWimsey

            Oh, I agree entirely. I think that what the Yankees as a whole falsified thoroughly was the notion that you need strong fielding up the middle to compete. Bernie Williams was average at best at 2nd, Knoblauch was a disaster at 2nd (and although his replacement was a lot better, he still was below average!), and Posada was the AL equivalent of Mike Piazza.

            What the Yankees did get was outstanding OPS from 4 positions that often are the weakest. I’m not sure how bad the fielding would have had to have been to dig a hole under the mountain of OBP & SLG that those 4 generated.

            (And it should be noted that although Jeter improved, he never was above average for more than a season at a stretch.)

            • Can’t think of a cool name

              I absolutely agree. I’d be estatic with Castro making a 30 point improvement on his OBP and a move toward being better defensively. He had a .385 OBP in September, hopefully he’s figuring it out. Doesn’t need to be Vizquel for me.

      • ferrets_bueller

        Nearly every great defensive SS was bad at that age. People commenting on Castro’s D are simply ignorant of the history of SS defense. It takes quite a while to develop, as long as the guy has the tools. Which Castro undeniably has. His range is already among the best in baseball. He just needs a feel for the position, which only comes with years of experience. The same goes for nearly every single other young SS.

  • Sven-Erik312

    I hope he does get it working in the field. I hope Dales coaching will make the difference. But if he can’t, then I think I would have to ask is his batting output worth more than the runs allowed due to unreliable fielding and in that case, getting stronger pitchng could be worth it. Then it begs the question: Is keeping him on at the cost of unreliable fielding considered “new thinking” or “old thinking”.
    Anyway, it’s time for Baseball folks,:Opening day is this week. I’ll never forget it, in the final season of Old Comiskey park, I was there for both the Cubs and the Sox home opener, which was on the same day as well as the final game in Old Comiskey to end the season. A year later, I had moved to Sweden and very quickly became desperate for any Baseball news I could find. Now, with the Internet and ESPN America, it’s almost like being in Lakeview on North Jansen street, but that’s a pretty big almost…
    Play Ball!!!!!