cactusSpring Training games totally don’t count. The first two did, but this one didn’t. Yeah. That’s the ticket.

The Cubs lost to the Dodgers today, despite twice having large-ish leads. It’s the kind of game I’d love to hate doing an Enhanced Box Score for – but, since I don’t do them in the Spring, you’ll just have to use your imagination.

  • Carlos Villanueva had a rough start to his Cubs career (if you count Spring Training … which I don’t), walking two of the first three guys he saw, and not ultimately making through his first inning of work. It’s one outing, so, like, whatever. Unless both Matt Garza and Scott Baker start the season on the disabled list, Villanueva likely wasn’t going to be in the rotation in April anyway. But he’ll keep fighting for that rotation job, and one bad outing, alone, isn’t going to sink him.
  • Darnell McDonald is fighting for an outfield bench job, and he bolstered his case with a three-run homer today. He’ll have to beat out Dave Sappelt and Brian Bogusevic, at a minimum, to make the club, though. Nate Schierholtz and Welington Castillo also went deep.
  • A bummer moment came late in the game when Dontrelle Willis – who is with the Cubs on a minor league deal in minor league camp, only – was brought along as a mop-up pitcher, and actually got into the game … only to leave after just seven pitches. I’m sure we’ll get more on his injury later, but he’s gotta be torn up. Guys on minor league deals in minor league camp don’t usually have much of an opportunity to showcase themselves, and Willis probably just busted out on his only shot. He wasn’t going to make the Cubs as it was, but, still. I feel bad for the guy.
  • Rob Whitenack also had a bad day, allowing three earned runs … without giving up a hit. Two walks, a HBP, a balk, and a wild pitch. Hopefully it was just a case of the very temporary yips, and not any kind of bad sign about his continued Tommy John recovery.
  • Pitching prospect Barret Loux got in a couple innings of work early, giving up a couple hits and walking one. He also struck out. Currently, he’s slated to be one of the more interesting starters in the Iowa rotation.
  • Brett Jackson finally struck out. It had to happen some time.
  • Jorge Soler went 0-2 with a strikeout, so he’s been dropped out of the top ten on most Cubs prospect lists.
  • hookersorcake

    Damn! I had high hopes for Soler.

    • Danny Ballgame

      He really flamed out early

      • TimJake

        What a scrub

    • Mike

      Soler’s first AB was awful. It was 3 pitches, swung and missed the first two and then watched strike three down the middle.

      Second AB he came up hacking and grounded out weakly on the first pitch. But he showed up a cannon of an arm by almost throwing out a guy stretching a single to a double by getting the ball in the LF corner and hitting the 2B on the fly with a strike.

  • cjdubbya

    Thoughts after today…Soler needs to be traded in the next 12 hours for prospects, because he’s just not going to cut it. Villanueva also needs to be traded. Jackson’s not going to make it either, so include him in the trade for Campana. #STIrrational

  • cb

    He actually walked his 2nd and 3rd batter. It looked like he just couldn’t overcome the 19-pitch at-bat vs the leadoff hitter (although he caught him looking finally).

    Sucks about Soler, was good while it lasted. :(

    • Brett

      Oops. Forgot about the long Dee Gordon at bat.

  • cls

    Ill say this about Soler. I was at this game and he had two throws from RF that we’re on a rope. The first probably should have picked off a Dodger trying to stretch a double but our 2B at the time (don’t even remember the name) failed hard on the tag — didn’t even touch the runner. The second was just to get the ball to the infield but it was a laser that wasnt more than 10 feet off the ground the entire time.

    Kid has a cannon. No worries Chicago.

    • cls

      Oops. Make that LF of course.

  • Spencer

    I’m not too concerned about what Barret Loux does at the plate :)

  • CubFan Paul

    “so he’s been dropped out of the top ten on most Cubs prospect lists”

    So what’s your way too early 2013 prospect rankings (1-5)? Before spring I had Soler 5th (lack of tape) but apparently he’s more advanced/polished than I thought (probably 23plus yrs old) so he’s my #1.


    It was Baez, Vizcaiano (starter), BJax (I believe in the makeup&swing), Almora (crazy polished), then Soler

    • Brett

      Luke’s top 40 list will be coming soon …

      • TWC

        You mean the 7500 word prospect novel he threatened us with on Twitter?

        • Brett

          That’s the one. Fortunately for you, we’ll break it up into more digestible pieces.

          • TWC

            Heck no. I like the long-form posts.

            • Brett

              I don’t mind them, myself, but we are very much in the Internet minority. Since it’s a list, anyway, it’s easily broken up into four-ish pieces. Also, candidly, I kind of like the idea of a four-day roll-out of the list. Is that cheesy? I mean, I don’t care if it is, I’m doing it anyway … but I like it.

              • Carne Harris

                I usually afear the longform, but that Mark Prior one the other day was good. Looked for a minute like the Twins might send him an invite, but then… no.

              • MightyBear

                Giving us the tease. Im all a tingly.

        • Luke

          Novel… I like the sound of that…

          Maybe I can set it to the music of The Ring Cycle…

  • JulioZuleta

    Spring Training is already dragging on.

    Brett, any update on an ETA for baby Julio Zuketa Taylor?

    • JulioZuleta


    • cb

      I thought it was going to be Batman Chalupa.

    • Brett

      Julio’s still a-comin’, but he appears to be in no rush. Due date is technically Friday.

      • Rich H

        You should name him Starlin wait for it Taylor.

        • Jp3

          Starlin Esix Taylor:). Like I mentioned the other day we just had a little boy about 12 weeks ago, the week mark is relevant mainly because the wife is back at work now and the adventure just got more interesting…

  • JulioZuleta

    Also, today is Soler’s 21st bday. I was in no shape to hit ML pitching on my 21st, so I’m not too worried.

    • cubfanincardinalland

      Like Fredo Corleone asked Michael in Havana, how do you say “banana daquiri”.
      Banana daquiri. Remember to take a taxi young man.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Bummer on Dontrelle Willis. But what is that old saying about baseball. Everybody at some points get told that they are no longer good enough to play the kids game of baseball. For most of us, it is by 18 years old. He was one of the lucky ones that got to do it for longer.

    • Rcleven

      Funny thing is is he is not that old.
      Just lost his control.
      Best of health to him.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Willis lost a lot more than his control: he lost velocity and break. Indeed, it’s possible that his loss of control reflected his inability to get strikes past batters, causing him to have to try to go outside the strike zone to get batters out. That often works when you are pitching against the Cubs, but usually not when you are pitching for them!

        • Rcleven

          Remember seeing him pitch at Kane County. He really could dish it. Went from low A to the majors the next season. Became a standout and then fell apart.
          Still got a soft spot for him.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Well, as Jack McKeon said when asked about subjecting Willis and his other young pitchers to very high pitch counts, “maybe these will be the guys it doesn’t hurt.”

            Oh, wait.

  • Rcleven
  • Tim

    If anybody is interested, the game from today vs the dodgers is on tv on the MLBN right now

  • Die hard

    Playing against MLB caliber players is like watching a junior high team play a college team — the chasm in talent is as wide as it is deep– us fans are looking into the abyss which will in the long run make us wiser– but in the short run more terrified of this team’s chances