cactusIf you were able to stomach Hawk and Steve Stone homering the hell out of the game, you just enjoyed the Cubs beating the White Sox to close out their 13-18-1 Cactus League season.

  • Travis Wood tuned up with three innings, giving up no runs, two hits, and one walk. He struck out four, and he’s ready to go.
  • Carlos Villanueva – probably the fifth starter – followed up with two perfect innings of his own, striking out two.
  • The Cubs’ lefties got in some work: James Russell threw a scoreless frame (1 H, 1 K), and Wesley Wright gave up back-to-back solo homers to Adam Dunn and Alejandro De Aza. I mostly shrug, but both were lefties. Don’t really want to see that from Wright.
  • Neil Ramirez came on to get the last couple of outs today, and once again, I was struck by how much I like his stuff. Pounded the bottom of the zone, showed a variety of pitches, and struck out both guys he faced
  • Ryan Sweeney broke out of his Spring-long slump with a deep homer, another hit, and a very well-struck out.
  • Emilio Bonifacio led off the game, got a hit, stole second, and then took third and home on successive groundouts. Would be nice to see that kind of thing on the reg in the regular season (well, maybe with some hits mixed in there, and not just groundouts).
  • Mike Olt and Ryan Kalish celebrated their roster victories today with a 1-4 and 0-3 outing, respectively. No worries, boys.
  • The one who knocks

    Feels like Wesley Wright has been shaky this spring. Hope he’s just waiting for the bell to ring.

    • Noah_I

      I’m curious if he’s the type of guy who will look awesome when the wind blows in at Wrigley, and terrible when it blows out.

  • woody

    I liked the base hit that Olt had. He just stroked it up the middle. That is something that Baez needs to learn. I don’t see why he has to put the power stroke on every pitch he sees. Wood looked good, but if he hadn’t of got that double play ball in the 1st he might given up some runs. Not too good to see Wright give up two homers to left handed hitters. Sitting here looking outside today at drizzle and temps in upper 30’s to low 40’s and thinking what a shock it will be to guys that have been in Arizona.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Baez starts swinging about as late as anyone in the game. If he didn’t execute that vicious swing, then he would never catch up to anything.

  • ladnerdude

    Still my favorite Cubs-Soxs moment [img][/img]

  • Floyd7070

    I take Hawk and Steve Stone over Kasper and Deshaies any day. In my humble opinion, those Cubs TV guys are just plain boring. Oh, and Barney is looking a little better hitting-wise….would be nice to see him open up his stance a little, with his chest facing the pitcher more and trying to hit the ball the other way. He always looks like he is trying to pull everything.

    • ssckelley

      You must be a Sox fan or a fan of both teams. No way a Cubs fan would ever say they enjoy listening to Hawk and Stone. I used to enjoy listening to Stone when he was with the Cubs but he is annoying teamed with Hawk.

      • Floyd7070

        i am a die hard Cubs fan.

        • fromthemitten

          also a die hard troll

          I think most sox fans don’t like Hawk… I do miss Stoney. Jury is still out on JD for me. Len Kasper is solid. Hawk… hawk has a good voice? that’s about it for him.

    • Bill

      Can’t stand listening to Hawk and Stone, especially doing a Cubs game. Hawk is annoying as hell with his stupid sayings, and Stone sounds like the most bitter person alive. He just can’t get over the fact the Cubs didn’t bow to his every command. His objectivity about anything related to the Cubs is non-existent and this goes beyond homerism. I’d rather listen to the Cardinal announcers than Hawk and Stone.

      • Matt

        I mostly agree. Hawk is one of those people who is hilarious to hear in the news the next day when you hear the clips of his most recent senile rant, but listening to him for a whole game is nothing short of torture. Waterboarding was the stupidest form of torture out there to get people to talk when you have Hawk right there.

        With Stone, I’d probably normally enjoy him, but you can tell in only about 10 minutes of listening that he hates where he is right now. Him and Hawk can’t even sit within 5 feet of each other during games, Stone just hates being there. Sure, with Harry he had a colorful guy, but at least Harry could engage in a decent baseball conversation. With Hawk that isn’t an option. I think he does have a bit of an ego, but if the Cubs had a chance to get him back, I’d take him. That being said, I do think Len and JD do a great job.

        • Matt

          I should throw in that one of the reasons it’s so funny to hear Hawk the next day in the news after one of his rants is because it’s usually something based on his misery.

      • Napercal

        Even most Sox fans feel that Harrelson is unlistenable. Kasper is light years ahead of him. Deshaies has been a disappointment. He came over with great expectations, but he seems uninterested and really adds nothing to the broadcast.

        • ChadThompson20

          I have to agree on Deshaies. He’s a nice guy, but not a great broadcaster, at least for the Cubs. I think Hollandsworth would have been a better choice. He seems to have a lot more passion and doesn’t try to be funny like JD does a lot.

    • mjhurdle

      2012 Fangraphs ranked Hawk and Stone as the worst broadcasting pair in baseball.
      The Cardinal crew came in at 29th as well.
      I think both rankings were pretty spot on.

    • C. Steadman

      ” with his chest facing the pitcher more and trying to hit the ball the other way. He always looks like he is trying to pull everything.”

      Then he should close his stance more. It allows him to better reach balls on the opposite part of the plate. You’re taught to go with the ball, if an outside pitch go oppo, but if its inside you pull. If you try to go oppo with an inside pitch you just jam yourself and inside-out it. Barney can’t get away with inside-outing a pitch bc he lacks power. It’d turn into a soft grounder to 2b/1b

  • ssckelley

    Cubs played a little bit of small ball to score a couple of runs, that first inning was fun to watch.

  • Santos Toupee

    Was at the game today. Olt’s bat is quick. Ramirez is extremely impressive-saw him Monday also. Ramirez is another potential steal for Garza. Abreu and Garcia are big guys. Garcia may not see a fastball all year.

  • itzscott

    I’ve said from the beginning that CJ Edwards was like icing on the cake, but Olt and Ramirez were the ones who were going to make the Garza deal a stroke of genius.

    Nobody here gave Ramirez even the time of day, but he’s the real deal and the only reason the Rangers even considered including him was because they thought he had shoulder problems. But, like with Olt, the Cubs rolled the dice with nothing to lose, everything to gain and took the low risk high reward path and will come out smelling like a rose.

    I have little expectations for Grimm… But the others will be key components for years to come.

    • Crockett

      You could be right. I am less impressed with Ramirez for a few reasons…namely…control/walks per nine. He’s unlikely to improve greatly on that going forward. So we’ll see. He has good stuff though, but I think he’s ultimately ticketed for the pen.

      Grimm was a good addition just because he’s cheap and can eat innings, and at 90 losses a season, that’s about exactly what you need.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Who do you think is first to get called up mid-season: Kyle Hendricks or Neill Ramirez? A few week ago would have said definitely Hendricks, but if he gets hit around by trying paint the corners of the plate with his marginal stuff it could be a rough first half the season for him at Iowa. Ramirez has been particularly impressive this spring. I know its only spring training but the guys arm is live and if he could learn to consistently keep balls down in the zone then I really think this guy could be a solid #3 guy. Injuries are always a consideration also. But he’s been particularly impressive

  • 5412


    Never could like Hawk, he grates on me. I think all fans learn baseball from ex players in the booth; however there is a limit to what they know. After several years of Stone he became predictable. Santo was one exception, much like Vince Lloyd and Lou Boudreaux, they kept you entertained with humor that we don’t normally find in the TV booth.

    Having seen Stone in the team hotel a few times, my personal feeling was he came off as arrogant and that eventually shows through.