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With today’s 5-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers, the Chicago Cubs finish ONE GAME over .500 (17-16-2), which brings me far more joy than it really should. If the Cactus league were like the National League, and five teams made the playoffs, the Cubs would have finished (as of today) just a game out of the second Wild Card. How about that?

Your final bits of the year…

  • Travis Wood, who’s ticketed for AAA Iowa, finally had a good Spring outing (not that it came against a particularly potent Brewers lineup, mind you – it was a split squad with no Braun, Weeks, Ramirez, or Hart), giving up six hits and a walk in six innings of work. He allowed one run (a solo homer to Alex, er, I mean Andy Gonzalez).
  • Rafael Dolis came into the game for a tuneup inning after Wood, and gave up his first Spring Training run. He hasn’t officially been named to the bullpen, but, despite the two walk, one hit, one error inning, I don’t expect a surprise tomorrow.
  • Shawn Camp pitched the 9th inning for the save today, allowing one hit and striking out one. I have a hunch that Dale Sveum would like Camp on the team.
  • The positional regulars mostly tuned up with short, good days – all of Darwin Barney, David DeJesus, Starlin Castro, Geovany Soto and Ian Stewart reached base. Castro hit a monster two-run homer. Alfonso Soriano went 0-2.
  • A number of youngsters – like, rookie/A-ball young – made appearances today, including Trey Martin, Oliver Zapata, and Jeimer Candelario, who made an appearance at third base. He went 0-2 with a K, but you’ll likely be hearing more of his name this year, and in the future.
  • All in all, it was a fine Cactus league slate for the Cubs, who rarely seemed to be “trying” to win (leaving starters in late, using situational relievers, etc.), but still won more than they lost. It doesn’t really mean much of anything, but most experts agree, having a winning record in Spring Training is better than going 0-fer. How much better is debatable, but it’s probably somewhere between “incrementally” and “marginally.”
  • djriz

    Hoping I’m wrong, but come May 1st, we all could be longing for the days of a plus .500 spring training.

  • Kyle

    Put me down for “insignificantly.”

    • SirCub

      That isn’t mutually exclusive of “marginally.”

    • PoopyPants McGee

      put me down for “world series 2012″

  • ty

    As usual on last day every batter was swinging away with whatever bat they could find as trucks are loaded and gone. Wood got the ball over nevertheless. Everybody is running for airport. Truck that caters hauling luxury autos for players has left. Favorite moments was when they would take Zambrano Lambor up the ramp–only time those cowboys got nervous. Baseball is so much like a traveling circus with its stars, b eautiful women, and some teams with featured clown acts.

  • die hard

    Still time to deal with Phillies who are hurtin

    • CubFan Paul

      Good idea. Especially since Sveum came out & said Lendy wasn’t ready

  • Rynomite

    Just out of curiosity, what was our spring record under Quade?

    • MaxM1908

      Last year, the Cubs went 14-19. They also had a -42 run differential–the worst in the Cactus league and second worst in MLB with the Astros sporting an astonishing -72. This year, the Cubs posted a +4 run differential. Spring training results aren’t indicative of regular season results…but I’d like to think this is a positive indication for this season.

    • ty

      Ryno–do not remember but do recall insiders telling me that the team was poorly prepared for start of season. I recanted mostly that team was veteran based and Quade trusted them to be ready. How wrong that was and hopefully Dale is well aware of that debacle spring that Dempster and his followers presented to the fans. Dale*s favorite expression is where he will crawl if you screw up fundamental baseball and remember his longstanding nickname is (nuts) so go ahead veterans and try Quade old style on him. I was around him for the last two months and “Good morning” , How are you doing? is not part of his vocabulary. He is a hard-hard case and detests the media–Theo and Jed will have to help him with that.

      • MaxM1908

        Interesting insights, Ty. Do you think his distaste for the media will affect him at all this summer? In other words, will he let the media noise get to him and will he lose focus as a result? So far, I’ve liked Sveum’s no-nonsense responses to the media. I hope he can retain that even in the face of a losing season.

        • ty

          Sullivan and Carrie understand him and they heard enough B.S. the last few years that he is a welcome change. Suburb amateurs beware. Focus is this guys middle name and seems realistic about Cubs. Right man for this hour. Hoyer is a joy to be around. Theo will talk to you but avoids eye contact and will look over your shoulder as if he is looking for somebody else–Oh, hell,everybody does that to me!l

      • DocWimsey

        I don’t think “being ready” had anything to do with last year. “Lack of talent” was a far more prominent culprit! In particular, the starting pitchers inability to keep other team in check in inning #1 was what killed the team. An over-abundance of batters who cannot tell that a pitch is going to be a ball 10′ from the pitcher’s hand didn’t help. Those are talent issues, plain and simple.

  • college_of_coaches

    I thought I saw in the boxscore that Baez played second base. Can this be confirmed? (The ST boxscores can be sloppy.) If so, how did he look?

    • SirCub

      Apparently he made a barehanded turn on a double-play ball, and through it in the dirt, but Dewitt scooped it.

      • college_of_coaches

        Thanks

  • Chaz Mulherin

    So this Obviously means over a full season we’ll be 84-78, right?? Ha!

  • al

    I’m taking the under on 70 wins. 5 games under .500 would make for a wonderful season.

  • LEO L

    I am having a hard time estiamting the wins. there should be a difference if garza and anyone else having a good season is traded. the wins will drop quickly. of course if the cubs find a way to trade soriano and the young talent is brought up and overachieves then there will be a different story.

  • Ryan

    OK so who gets booted from the 40 man to make space and or who gets released/traded?

  • rocky8263

    Cold and sunny on thursday? Wind blowing in off the lake. pitchers day at Wrigley.

    • nationals

      A pitchers day? that means National 7 Cubs 0. We like to thank theo Epstien boss in making the Cubs a terrible team. Next year we will just thank Theo unless he quits first,

  • MightyBear

    Why does everyone expect the Cubs to have a losing season? They could surprise this year. I really think there is a lot more depth this year. I really like Sveum and the pitchers seem to be responding to Bosio. I’m not saying the Cubs will win it all but I do think they will be much improved and could surprise. Be positive folks, this is the best time of the year to be a Cubs fan!!!

  • SirCub

    Jayson Stark previews the 2012 season and predicts the Tigers to win it all… basing most of his predictions on spring performances. Yea…

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/preview12/story/_/id/7769406/and-world-series-winner

  • BD

    I didn’t notice any other mentions, but for those interested: Castor’s HR was a BOMB. Almost halfway up the scoreboard in LF.

    I only mention this because I am really hoping his power takes a jump up this year.

    • Cubbie Blues

      Announcers were guessing that it was 450-470′. Sounds like he found a pitch off a AAA pitcher that he REALLY liked and turned on it.

  • http://www.cubsanappreciation.yolasite.com Mike

    Spring means absolutely nothing. The warm air, the pitchers just looking to get in their innings, it can all be very misleading. Wait until the Cubs face those 40 degree temps with the wind coming off the lake. Im not expecting a lot this year. This team will probaly win around 76 games. But I think Sveum will have them playing hard, and it will be sooooo nice to see a 3rd Baseman who actually dives for balls for a change! Even if Stewart only hits 20 homers and .230, I think it will still be an improvement, because at least you know hes trying. And I think Jeff Samardzija is the key to the starting rotation. If he can finally put it all together, I might be prone to add a win or 2 to that 76.

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