We thank Chad Jennings for relaying this great video to us. Apparently, Jorge Posada and Joe Girardi are working on an upcoming Direct TV commercial. Check it out: From the article:Of course, it’s not spelled that way. Nor is Florida pronounced that way, at least in the ears of a relentless director who had Yankees manager [...]
Read The Full Article:
George Steinbrenner took a visit to his own stadium earlier today (George M. Steinbrenner Field) , to watch his team get slaughtered 9-1 to the Blue Jays. He was sporting the Yankee team jacket, with the new 27th World Championship patch on it, as well as the World Series cap. From the photos, it looks like he [...]
Read The Full Article:
This was an unusually quiet game for the Yankees, both on the pitching side and at the plate. The offense collected a total of 6 hits and 6 walks total. The only run crossed the plate in the third inning, on a fielder’s choice by Ramiro Pena. Pena also picked up a stolen base on [...]
Read The Full Article:
Read The Full Article:
Last week, I reviewed FanGraphs' Fan Projections for NL East Starting Pitchers. According to the fans, the Braves' rotation will be the best in the division--about 2 games better than the Phillies'. This week, I am going to analyze the fan projections for the Infielders in the division. I'll be looking at fielding as well as hitting.
The infield is clearly one of the strengths of the NL East, particularly the left side of the infield. Chase Utley and Hanley Ramirez are without a doubt 2 of the top 5 position players in all of baseball, and Ryan Zimmerman, David Wright, and Jose Reyes aren't far behind. The division is so strong at shortstop that Yunel Escobar, who has the 6th-highest projected WAR of any SS in baseball, is only the 4th-highest-rated SS in this division (though he's neck-and-neck with Jimmy Rollins).
So who do the fans think has the best Infield in the division? For the answer to that question, and of course lots of nifty graphs, read on.
Unlike the starting rotations in the division, the infields are more or less set for each team; there are a couple position battles, but we pretty much know who will be playing (if not how much they will play). Even the first couple guys off the bench look fairly set for each team. I looked at the fan projections for each infielder who is likely to make his team's opening day roster (that means no Logan Morrison for Florida). For ease of comparison, I limited each team to 6 players for this analysis--a starter at each of the 4 IF positions, plus a backup corner infielder and a backup middle infielder. If there was more than 1 player at one of the backup positions, I left out the one with the lower projected WAR*, though this had little effect on the totals.
* WAR (Wins Above Replacement player) combines all aspects of a position player's game--hitting, baserunning, and fielding--which explains why Placido Polanco has nearly the same projected value as Adam Dunn.
So, who has the best infield in the division? I summed up all the WAR values from each team's 6-man infield, and these are the results:
Thanks in large part to Chase Utley's league-leading 8.0 projected WAR, the Phillies come out on top. The Mets are a distant second, followed closely by the Braves, with the Marlins and Nationals bringing up the rear. It should be noted, though, that the Nationals' 14 WAR figure is not bad at all (though I'd hate to see their infield without Zimmerman); the NL East is just full of good infields.
The next part of this graph that jumps out at me is the poor bench production that the Phillies and Marlins are projected to get. This is especially concerning for them because each has so much value tied up in 1 player--an injury to Utley or Ramirez would be devastating. On the other hand, the Braves have a couple decent bench guys (and no superstars), making the drop-off in case of injury much less severe.
Overall, as with the starting rotation projections, these seem fairly reasonable to me. I do have some bones to pick with a few of the individual projections (more on them later), but the totals are about right. I'd probably flip-flop the Braves and Mets, but that's really about it.
I will reiterate my warning from the last post: a lot can change during the season, between injuries, trades, surprise performances, and call-ups. This is not a prediction; it is only a projection based on how things look right now. I could see any of these teams ending the year with the best infield WAR, particularly if Utley falls short of his monstrous projection.
Below, I examine the projections for each team in more detail.
For each IF in the sample, I list the # of votes cast for that player, plus his projected plate appearances (PA), batting average (AVG), on-base (OBP), slugging (SLG), walk rate (BB%; the percentage of PAs that end in a walk), and strikeout rate (K%; the percentage of at-bats that end in a strikeout). I also included each player's projected home runs (HR), stolen bases (SB), Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR; a measure of how many runs a player saves/costs his team compared to an average fielder), and WAR.
A few caveats:
As with last week, we'll go in alphabetical order by location, starting with the Braves.
Player Votes PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% HR SB UZR WAR
Overall, these numbers imply that the fans think the Braves have added about 3 wins from their infielders (they got roughly 13 WAR from these positions in 2009). The fans project a loss of about a win from the Kotchman/LaRoche combo to Glaus, and a gain of about two wins by replacing Greg Norton with Eric Hinske. Most of the rest of the projected gain comes from a projected bounce-back year from Chipper Jones, which makes sense but is hardly a guarantee. Chipper is definitely the biggest potential source of downside in the Braves infield.
As for upside, there are several places to look... The fans think that Yunel Escobar will do almost exactly what he did last year, which to me seems a bit conservative. At his age, he could just as easily break out with a 5.5-6.0 WAR season. I'd project his slugging and HR numbers, in particular, to improve. Prado is projected to lose almost 40 points of SLG off last year's number; I don't see any reason why that should be the case--he did slug .461 in more limited PAs in 2008, too. Then there's Glaus. I think there's a very good chance that this projection understates both his power numbers and his health. I would project Glaus for 600-ish PAs, about 30 HRs and a SLG near .500 (his career mark is .497). I can understand the fans' skepticism with Troy, but he's only 33, he is healthy by all accounts, and if he stays healthy, he will definitely hit more than 22 homers--and possibly far more.
As for the defense, all of the UZR projections seem reasonable. The Braves' entire infield seems average to me with the glove, except for Chipper, who is a bit below average (though Escobar has the potential to be above average).
All in all, my optimistic projection would add about 2 WAR to the fans' projection. I'd put Escobar at around 5 WAR, Prado at 3.5, and Glaus at 3.0, with the others staying where they are. Even if I wanted to be pessimistic (especially with Chipper), I don't see how I could project our infield to be worse than last year's.
I combined the projections from the Braves' 6 infielders and compared those numbers to the projected league-average numbers. The graph below gives you a sense of how the Braves compare to the averages in 5 categories: batting average (AVG), isolated power (ISO; slugging minus batting average), walk rate (BB%), strikeout rate (K%), and UZR*.
* Well, a modified form of UZR... Since UZR can be negative, and negative numbers mess up the percentages, I converted all the UZRs to positive numbers by finding the difference between a player's UZR and the UZR that the worst projected defender, Brad Hawpe, would put up in the same amount of playing time. The resulting stat, which I call "UZR Above Brad Hawpe," or "UZR (ABH)", is ridiculous, of course--but it does allow me to convert defensive skill to a % value, so whatever. To give you an idea of what the numbers look like, the projected league average UZR (ABH) is 18.9 per 600 PAs. The Braves were slightly below average at 17.5 UZR (ABH).
To read the graph, keep in mind that closer to the center is always worse and closer to the edges is always better. In other words, the bigger the shaded area, the better. The percentages given are relative to the league average. The Braves' infield rates as "+12%" in the K% category--this means that they project to strike out 12% less often that the league average, not 12% more.
This graph really gives you a good sense of the Braves' infielders' strengths and weaknesses. On the down side, they don't hit for great power and they aren't great with the glove (though they aren't terrible in either area). On the plus side, they hit for a good average, walk a ton, and don't strike out very often. Add in the fact that there's some upside in the power area--Prado, Escobar, and Glaus could all outslug their projections by quite a bit--and this is a potentially excellent infield.
Player Votes PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% HR SB UZR WAR
The Marlins' 1B situation has to be a bit troubling for them. Supposedly, there is an open competition between Sanchez and hot prospect Logan Morrison to win the job, but I just don't think either is ready to be even an average hitter just yet. Perhaps that's why the Marlins are rumored to have offered a minor-league deal to Hank Blalock, though really he won't be that much of a help--he'd add about 0.5 WAR compared to Wes Helms. (I've included Blalock's numbers in the table above for reference, but they were not used in any of the graphs.)
The hitting projections seem right on to me. I might pick Uggla to do a bit worse and Ramirez to do a bit better, but that's minor. The biggest discrepancy I see in these numbers is actually Jorge Cantu's UZR figure. I think the voters must not have considered that he's moving to 3B (where he's terrible) from 1B (where he's actually not bad). I covered this issue in my Troy Glaus defense post a while back. Given his age and track record at 3B, I'd project Cantu to put up something more like a -14.5 UZR, not -4.5. That'd knock a whole win off his WAR mark.
Here's the Marlins' graph:
As you can see, this is a fairly average-hitting infield overall. The Marlins' infielders seem to be willing to sacrifice a few strikeouts for an uptick in power, which is reasonable. The problem with this infield is that it stinks defensively. Uggla is bad, and nobody else can really make up for that. And, of course, their UZR figure is liable to be even worse, thanks to Cantu's aforementioned position switch. If I were Josh Johnson, I'd be furious about this; it's not out of the realm of possibility that poor infield defense could cost him the Cy Young.
Player Votes PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% HR SB UZR WAR
Ah, the Mets. You've got to love them. A few stars and a bunch of scrubs. If their stars stay healthy and play to their potential (like the fans think), their infield will be in decent shape. But if not, watch out; this could get ugly again. All of these projections are fine if you assume Reyes and Wright will be back to normal in 2010. But that seems a bit too optimistic to me, given the Mets' dysfunctionality. Personally, I would have a hard time projecting Wright to hit 24 HRs a year after hitting 10, or projecting Reyes to get 666 PAs given the questions about his hamstring and his thyroid. I'd subtract 0.5-1.0 WAR from each of their projections to be safe.
One note about the 1B projection. Supposedly, the Mets are having an open competition between Murphy and Mike Jacobs (either one will likely split time with Tatis, which makes sense). Mets fans had better hope that Murphy wins that clash of the titans, for Jacobs is just terrible--a projected -0.7 WAR. In a well-run organization, Jacobs would be nothing more than catastrophe insurance in case several guys get hurt, so I didn't include him in the table above... But with the Mets, you never know.
The defensive projections seem fine; Castillo is a butcher and the others are decent (though Wright is so inconsistent in the field, he's hard to project). My only question is whether Murphy is a plus defender. When I saw him at 1B last year, he looked awful (though that's a small sample, obviously, and he looked even worse in the outfield).
Now for the Mets' infield graph:
The Mets' graph is a lot like the Braves, except more extreme (in fact, it looks more like a triangle than a pentagon). They project to hit for less power (and it could be even worse if Wright doesn't get his HR stroke back) but also to strike out less. Their defense projects to be a bit worse, but their batting average a bit better. I guess that's what happens when Luis Castillo gets 571 PAs--no power, bad defense, few strikeouts, a decent average, and a lot of walks.
Player Votes PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% HR SB UZR WAR
It's all too easy when looking at the Phillies' numbers to focus on their offense, but I'd like to point out how excellent they are defensively. All their starters are projected to have positive UZRs, and several are projected to be excellent with the glove, especially Utley. Based on these projections, the Phillies will add nearly 3 wins compared to the average team with their infield defense alone. That is, obviously, excellent.
As for the hitting, they have 3 good hitters on the infield and not much else. Polanco is OK, mainly because his excellent strikeout rate allows him to hit for a good average. Rollins is probably overrated in general, and particularly in these projections, but he's a good player. I don't think he's going to be 4.5 WAR good next year--I think last year's suckitude portends a permanent decline--but I'd probably peg him for 3.5 to 4.0 WAR. Howard's numbers seem about right, though hitters like him tend not to age very well. As for Utley, well, he's awesome. I don't doubt that he could, and probably will, put up a roughly 8.0 WAR season. The only problem is that with that high of a projection, there's really nowhere to go but down. He could put up an excellent, 6 WAR season and still be a disappointment. And Phils fans had better pray that he doesn't get hurt, given that their bench guys aren't that great (I guess if that happened, they'd move Polanco to 2B and play Dobbs at 3B, which would be okay for a week or two, but not for longer).
Here's the Phillies' infield graph:
Obviously, the UZR number is out of this world, but I find it interesting that the Phillies manage to hit for a ton of power without striking out that much. How is that +10% K rate possible with Ryan Howard, you ask? Well, Rollins and especially Polanco have excellent K rates that more than counteract Howard's poor one. Rollins and Polanco giveth in K rate, but they taketh away in walk rate. Clearly, both those guys just really like putting the ball in play.
Finally, the Nats.
Player Votes PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% HR SB UZR WAR
According to the fans, the Nationals will roughly split the middle-infield positions between Kennedy, Desmond, and Guzman. As you can see, giving Guzman the lions share of the PAs is not a wise plan (look at that walk rate--it's downright Frenchian). I think the wise choice would be to play Desmond full-time at short and let Kennedy and Guzman fight for scraps at 2B. Desmond is already the best of the 3, and he could be much, much better.
The hitting projections seem about right--I might put Desmond a bit higher, but that's about it. The fielding projections, too, are reasonable. It is interesting to note that of the 7 players listed, only 1 has a positive UZR projection. Though that 1, Ryan Zimmerman, is a gold-glove-caliber guy. It's also funny how Zimmerman's great glove almost counteracts Dunn's terrible one. If the Big Donkey can somehow manage to become a mediocre first baseman, the Nats infield defense might not be that bad. Of course, he's just as likely to put up a -25 UZR as a -5.
Here's the Nats' infield graph:
This is an average-hitting infield that stinks defensively. If Zimmerman gets hurt, though, that will hurt them a lot in both areas. Any hopes that the Nats have of being respectable this year fall on him. I think he'll be fine, but I still wouldn't bet on Washington winning more than 75 games no matter what--their pitching is just not good enough.
The fans at FanGraphs tell us that the Phillies have easily the best infield in the NL East. On paper, that is certainly true. In reality, anything might happen. I think it is likely that some team at least challenges them for infield supremacy this year--I just can't say who it will be. My guess would be the Braves--I see the most upside there--but then, I might just be a delusional homer.
By the way, here are the WAR standings when you combine the figures from the starting pitchers and the infielders:
Thanks for reading, everyone. I know these posts have been long; hopefully they've been informative. I look forward to hearing your input about how the Braves' infield stacks up to the rest of the division.
What can I say? If this were a real game I’d point out the Braves had 14 base runners and 8 total bases while the Astros had 10 base runners and 10 total bases and the Braves were just as liable to win that one as they were to lose it, but who gives a [...]
Read The Full Article:
More photos » Reinhold Matay - AP
George Steinbrenner: not a fan of revenue sharing.
This week's edition of Purple Row Academy focuses on a very polarizing subject around baseball circles, revenue sharing. I'll write this week about the reasons that revenue sharing was put into effect, with future sessions being devoted to the policy's effectiveness and recommendations for improvement. It's a trip back to baseball of ten years ago, when the steroids hadn't yet hit the fan but a growing imbalance in baseball's economic model threatened the league's long-term survival.
First put in play on the recommendation of the Commissioner's Blue Ribbon Panel of Baseball Economics in 2000, the practice of revenue sharing aimed to bring more competitive balance to MLB. Part of this involved every team in MLB paying 31% of their local revenues into a pot that is then distributed equally to all 30 teams (meaning that the Yankees are paying a much higher sum into the fund than anyone else).
In addition, the MLB's Central Fund, made up of revenues from sources like national TV broadcast deals, is unevenly paid out with more going to low revenue teams. Finally, MLB also implemented a Competitive Balance (or luxury) Tax against teams with excessive payrolls, and while this does not officially fall under the revenue sharing umbrella, it serves a similar purpose. Only the Yankees have ended up paying this tax in recent years.
The Revenue Sharing and Competitive Balance Tax policies, per the CBA (which runs through 2011):
1. Net transfer of revenue sharing plan will be the same as the current plan ($326 million in 2006). Net transfer amounts will continue to grow with revenue and changes in disparity.
2. Marginal tax rates for all recipients are reduced significantly through the use of a new central fund redistribution mechanism. Rates reduced to 31% from 40% (high revenue Clubs) and 48% (low revenue Clubs) under old agreement.
3. All Clubs face the same marginal rate for first time.
4. Commissioner's Discretionary Fund will continue at $10 million per year, with cap of $3 million per Club per year.
5. Provision requiring revenue sharing recipients to spend receipts to improve on-field performance retained with modifications.
Competitive Balance Tax
1. Competitive Balance Tax structure from 2002 agreement is continued.
2. Rates will continue at 22 ½ % for Clubs over the threshold the first time, 30% for Clubs over the threshold the second time and 40% for Clubs over threshold the third time. 3. Clubs that paid 40% in 2006 will face 40% rate in 2007.
4. Thresholds reset to $148 million in 2007, $155 million in 2008, $162 million in 2009, $170 million in 2010 and $178 million in 2011.
So why was this policy necessary to implement? Three major reasons were cited by the Blue Ribbon Panel: Revenue, Payrolls, and Competitive Balance. Let's look at each aspect in detail.
In the years leading up to the Blue Ribbon Study, the revenue disparity between the big market, high revenue teams and the low revenue teams was growing at an alarming rate. To wit, the seven teams with the highest revenue in 1999 averaged more than double the revenue of the fourteen lowest clubs.
The lowest team in average local revenues between 1995 and 1999, the then Montreal Expos, averaged only $16.332 million in revenue per season. Meanwhile, during this same period the Yankees (who admittedly were a huge outlier from every other team) averaged just over $118 million in revenue per year (that's 723% more per year). Furthermore, the Expos' annual revenue growth rate from 1995-1999 was -14.6%, compared to the Yankees' average growth rate per year of 12.7%. Even more alarmingly, in 1995 there was a 5.5:1 local revenue advantage by the Yankees over the Expos, but just five years later New York's advantage had grown to 14.7:1. In other words, the gap between the haves and have-nots in terms of revenue was growing at a dangerous rate.
The data shows that 70-80% of a MLB team's revenue comes from their local revenue streams, which are largely determined by ticket sales, concessions, and local media contracts. The problem is that economic factors like population base, per capita income, and other demographically oriented statistics largely determine a team's attendance and total revenue. Other factors were very important as well, such as having a new stadium or team, but the local market size was of the most importance.
Top Revenue Quartile (1995-1999): NYY, CLE, BAL, ATL, COL, LAD, BOS, NYM (1998-1999)
Bottom Revenue Quartile: MON, MIN, PIT, OAK, KC, MIL, DET
From 1995-1997, when there were 28 teams, there were seven teams in the top quartile, but upon expansion in 1998 to 30 teams this definition included eight teams in the top quartile. Interestingly, Colorado was part of the top quartile, placing fifth in MLB in average total revenues over the time period with about $100 million. In fact, Colorado was one of three teams (along with the Indians and the Yankees) to turn an operating profit during this time period. This was due largely its winning combination of a new, winning team and a spectacular new stadium.
Therefore, the panel argued, some teams have an inherent, unfair advantage in revenue capability simply due to their location and not necessarily from having a higher business acumen (though the possibility that these teams have more revenues because they capitalize on these advantages well is also a consideration). No matter how well the Twins manage their team, they will never compete with the Yankees in terms of local revenue. Heck, the Yankees' local revenues in 1999 exceeded by $11 million the local revenues combined of six other clubs. On a league-wide scale, the average gap between the top quartile of teams in terms of local revenue and those in the bottom quartile had grown from $48 million in 1995 to $71 million in 1999.
The correlation between these inherent revenue advantages and on-field success was readily apparent to the Blue Ribbon Panel. Because there is no salary cap in baseball and teams can spend as much (or as little) as they want on payroll, teams with higher revenue has more money to offer the best players (whether these players be free agents, the club's own players, or prospects internationally or in the Rule 4 draft) than lower revenue clubs, such that they will be able to retain the services of top players and therefore remain consistently more successful, drawing in more fans and more revenue. The Blue Ribbon Panel saw this trend and decided to take some measures to slow this growth rate.
The fact was that economic model that the league was based on had simply become outdated. The increasing gap between the haves and have-nots, based largely on inherent advantages gained from local revenue base, threatened the long-term vitality of the game.
As was mentioned previously, teams with higher revenue bases usually had much higher payrolls than their lower revenue brethren--and as the gap between high and low revenue teams was increasing at an alarming rate, so too was the gap in payroll expenditure growing. These facts illustrate this point:
In 1999, the combined payrolls of the highest two payroll clubs exceeded the combined payrolls of all clubs in the fourth revenue quartile by $30 million.
Baseball's highest paid player in 2000, Kevin Brown ($15.7 million) was paid more than the entire Minnesota Twins roster.
From 1995-1999, the payrolls of the top quartile went up on average by $32 million (70% increase) while the bottom quartile went up only $2 million (13% increase).
The Yankees' payroll was about equal to the sum of the league's bottom five payrolls.
The gap between high and low in terms of payroll grew from $45 million to $75 million over the five year period, but more tellingly, the average payroll increased from $22 million to $43 million.
In all, the top quartile of teams outspent the bottom quartile on major league payroll by 3.9:1 in 1999, up from 2.6:1 in 1995.
As you can see, the expanding revenue gap in MLB had similarly manifested itself in terms of payroll.
While having a higher payroll is certainly not the only determinant in winning, it was becoming an increasingly important one from 1995-1999 as the payroll gap continued to expand. While putting a high payroll team on the field did not guarantee a sterling W-L record, it certainly helped.
As you can see, having a payroll in the top 25% of MLB was nearly essential in both getting to the playoffs and then winning in them during this time period--and chances were that with the expanding revenue and payroll gaps that this would not be changing much in the near future. Largely as a result of these findings, MLB implemented the Revenue Sharing and Luxury Tax policies.
Next week I'll write about both the positive and negative effects (potential and actual) that this policy would have on MLB from the points of view of the small and large revenue clubs. In the future I'll explore the actual effectiveness of these policies thus far and recommend a course of action to be followed in the new decade.
Blue Ribbon Panel Report on Baseball Economics (Richard C. Levin, George J. Marshall, Paul A. Volcker, and George F. Will)
MLB's Revenue Sharing Formula (David Jacobsen)
"His changeup was good. He was finishing them good and I thought he did a great job with it," Posada said. "I think it's going to be a good pitch. It looks like it's going to be a swing-and-miss pitch. Having a third pitch is going to be important for him. Now is the perfect time for him to use it, and to be comfortable (for me) to call it and use it."And the man himself:
"He's an overpowering fastball guy, and we can't get away from that," Posada said. "But having a third pitch is going to make him keep the hitters off balance. That's the biggest thing. We're not going to stay away from his fastball and his curveball. That's his bread and butter.
"It could be effective. We've just got to make sure that it's down. ... It's like a BP two-seamer. It's going to be 90, 91 miles an hour, five to six miles per hour less than his fastball. That's all that we really want."
"When I'm throwing it right, I get [split-finger action], straight down," Burnett said. "I don't have to worry about velocity when I've got that kind of action to it. It's about confidence and not being stubborn, and pitching, not throwing."And his manger:
"I don?t feel like I?ve had the success that I should have," Burnett said on Saturday.... "I?m a .500 pitcher and there?s a reason behind that."
"I know I?ve battled injuries in the past, but over three-quarters of my career I?m a two-pitch pitcher, so there?s got to be some theory behind it," Burnett said. "Why not learn another pitch? It?s only going to help."
"A.J. was just working on arm strength today," Girardi said. "He threw only fastballs and changeups. He threw some good changeups today. He did what he wanted to do and what we wanted him to do."Regarding Cervelli, after being hit in the third inning he was taken to the hospital after the game for a CT scan, which came back negative, and he said he expects to return to the lineup in a few days. However, as you might expect, Joe Girardi is going to be a little more cautious.
"I'm not going to rush it," Girardi said after the game. "It's a concern. Anytime you start to talk about injuries to the head like that, you're concerned about it. He's feeling OK now, but you worry about it. It's scary."This is also not his first concussion this year. He suffered a similar injury during winter ball in Venezuela when he was hit in the head by a batters backswing, so it's smart to take it slow at this point. He'll be fine for the regular season and that's what matters.
Well we've got 29 days left until Opening Day, which means it's season preview time. We'll be[...]
Read The Full Article:
Game Three - Cubs 3 White Sox (ss) 15
WP - Daniel Hudson (1-0) LP - Carlos Silva (0-1) Save - None
Lou Piniella's crew dropped their first game of the spring on Saturday afternoon after a horrible start by Carlos Silva. Silva dug a hole for his new team and the White Sox kept tacking on throughout the game.
Carlos Quentin hit two of the Sox five home runs in the first two innings, both off Silva. Cubs pitching allowed 18 hits and the Sox scored seven of the 15 runs in the final two innings off of non-roster invitee Jeff Kennard and John Grabow.
Carlos Marmol settled down after a rocky start and put together a perfect inning in his first outing of the spring. Marmol struck out a pair on 13 pitches, 10 for strikes.
James Russell took over for Marmol in the fourth. Russell threw the ball extremely well, hit his spots and struck out two with a walk in two innings of work. Alfonso Soriano's error allowed an unearned run to score while Russell was on the mound.
The Cubs offense was pretty quiet in the third game of the spring. They managed only three runs, all in the third inning, off of White Sox starter Daniel Hudson ... for the game, the Cubs scattered only six hits.
With the bases loaded, Kosuke Fukudome drove in a pair with a single to right. The Cubs other run came courtesy of a Derrek Lee sacrifice fly.
Two of the concerns at the beginning of camp were pitching and defense ... and the Cubs showed why on Saturday afternoon.