It doesn’t “matter,” and .500 isn’t “good,” but today the Chicago Cubs climbed back to .500 on the Spring. Now they will enter tomorrow’s final game with a chance to finish the Cactus League with a winning record. I can’t help it: I like that.
- All three of Arizona’s runs came off of starter Jay Jackson, who is ticketed for AAA, and perhaps his last chance to show he’s going to be worth a look in the bigs eventually. A former top pitching prospect, Jackson has had back-to-back disappointing seasons as his stuff regressed and he couldn’t dominate tougher competition.
- Most of the regulars were looking good – Geovany Soto went deep, Darwin Barney had another couple hits (including a double), and so did Starlin Castro (both of his were doubles). Marlon Byrd also had a double.
- Joe Mather had a hit in four at bats (a double, imagine that), and played a little third base and center field.
- Alfonso Soriano went hitless again, though, and his Spring numbers have dropped precipitously since his early league dominance. That’s right: one of the streakiest hitters in baseball is getting cold just in time for the regular season. Neat.
- Kerry Wood actually threw an entire inning today, and it was perfect.
- Two of the remaining bullpen competitors got an inning of work, and kept things scoreless. But Manny Corpas was perfect with two strikeouts, and Lendy Castillo gave up two hits. Dale Sveum has spoken highly of each at different points this Spring, but it’s going to be hard for the Cubs to keep both. To do so would require dumping one of Rodrigo Lopez (almost certainly the long man) or Shawn Camp (a quality vet who’s looked good). Castillo’s upside is huge, but if he’s not ready to really contribute in the bigs (and, I kind of want to say: how could he be? He’s a 22-year-old kid who’s only been pitching for a couple years, both in the very low minors), can the Cubs afford to go with an essentially six-man pen?