Game Twenty - Cubs 2 Indians 9
WP - Fausto Carmona (2-0) LP - Jeff Samardzija (0-2) Save - None
Fausto Carmona dominated the Cubs offense on Monday afternoon at HoHoKam Park. Carmona threw six shutout innings and allowed only two hits ... and one Cub to reach base. Alfonso Soriano accounted for the only two hits off of Carmona, a single in the second and a double in the fifth.
The Cubs did not tally their third hit until the eighth inning and three of their six hits on the afternoon came in the ninth inning. Micah Hoffpauir broke up the shutout with a two-out, two-run single to right.
While Carmona was busy retiring one Cub after the other, the Cubs' pitching staff struggled against an Indians lineup without Grady Sizemore, Travis Haffner and Shin-Soo Choo.
Jeff Samardzija threw the ball better than in his last big league start against the Brewers ... but allowed two runs on four hits in four innings. The Cubs' defense did not help him out. Samardzija allowed single runs in the second and third and walked two while striking out four. Two of the Tribe's four hits off of 'The Shark' were doubles.
John Grabow allowed two unearned runs in 2/3 of an inning. Jeff Baker's error on a ball hit by Matt LaPorta led to the long inning. Grabow surrendered three straight hits before he was lifted for Jeff Stevens.
Monday's performance by Mike Parisi likely punched his ticket back to the Cardinals' organization. Parisi struggled with his command in the eighth and loaded the bases on a hit and a pair of walks without recording an out. Parisi uncorked a wild pitch that allowed a run to score then he hit a batter to reload the bases.
Justin Berg allowed three inherited runners to score in relief of Mike Parisi.
With the loss, the Cubs slipped to 11-8-1 on the spring ...
Welcome to this week’s edition of Minor League Monday. Spring Training will be wrapping up[...]
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From Mark Feinsand:
Hoffmann heads back to the Dodgers for now, but don't be surprised to see him back in the Yankees organization at some point. There have been plenty of whispers in recent weeks about the Yankees sending either Chad Gaudin or Sergio Mitre to Los Angeles for Hoffmann, who the Yankees could then send to Triple-A. As a Rule 5 pick, Hoffmann had to stay on the 25-man roster or be returned to the Dodgers.I'm sure the Yankees would have loved to keep Hoffmann and start him in Triple-A, but thanks to the Rule-5 rules that wasn't possible. Trading for him would open up that possibility, and since we've already heard that Gaudin or Mitre will almost certainly be traded before the season this would make sense.
One of the best blogging academic economists -- Greg Mankiw -- gives his perspective on the federal health care takeover:
In the end, while I understood the arguments in favor of the bill, I could not support it. In part, that is because I am generally more of a libertarian than a communitarian. In addition, I could not help but fear that the legislation will add to the fiscal burden we are leaving to future generations. Some economists (such as my Harvard colleague David Cutler) think there are great cost savings in the bill. I hope he is right, but I am skeptical. Some people say the Congressional Budget Office gave the legislation a clean bill of health regarding its fiscal impact. I believe that is completely wrong, for several reasons (click links). My judgment is that this health bill adds significantly to our long-term fiscal problems.I assume the question is rhetorical. A public figure, like our president, who can't even bring himself to allow mere citizens to see his college transcripts and papers, will not soon be fessing up about the prohibitive cost of operating his version of the Nanny State.
The Obama administration's political philosophy is more egalitarian and more communitarian than mine. Their spending programs require much higher taxes than we have now and, indeed, much higher taxes than they have had the temerity to propose. Here is the question I have been wondering about: How long can the President wait before he comes clean with the American people and explains how high taxes needs to rise to pay for his vision of government?
Chad Jennings is reporting that the Yankees have sent Eduardo Nunez, Reegie Corona, Jorge Vazquez and Brandon Laird to minor league camp.
That left Ramiro Pena, Kevin Russo and Juan Miranda as the only non-starting infielders left in big league camp, and left Pena and Russo as the only utility options.Russo has done everything you could ask for and more this spring, hitting .348/.407/.478, but based on Girardi's comments and the what he did last year I still see the utility role going to Pena.
?Pena has the most experience there and we want to see Ruse more, he?s played extremely well,? Girardi said. ?You get to a point when you?ve got young players like Nunez, you want them to play every day, and to get one at-bat per game is not fair to them. They need to go get ready for their season. That?s why we did it today.?
RHP Gil Meche says he felt shoulder stiffness in Monday's game against the White Sox. Says he doesn't think it's serious.
More photos » David Zalubowski - AP
Jorge De La Rosa knocks how to dominate his opponents.
Two pitches into the bottom of the first and the Rockies were already in a hole after Drew Stubbs hit a leadoff homer to left-center field off of Jorge De La Rosa. It was all downhill after that sequence for the Reds. After back-to-back strike outs by Cole Garner and Jorge De La Rosa, Dexter Fowler drew a walk. Clint Barmes then clubbed a two-run homer over the left field wall. Move ahead to the fifth and Brad Eldred knock a ball out of the park to put the Rockies up 3-1.
The Reds' Aroldis Chapman entered the game in the sixth and struck out Troy Tulowitzki on three pitches to stat a 1-2-3 inning. But then came the seventh inning. Cole Garner reached first on a force out at second and then stole second base with Jonathan Herrera at the plate. Herrera drew a walk. Dexter Fowler hit into a force out, but a fielding error by SS Drew Sutton allowed Garner to score and placed Fowler and Herrera at second and third (4-1 Rockies). After an Eric Young Jr. strikeout, Alex Escobar pinch-hit for Ryan Spilborghs and drew a walk to clear the bases. Jordan Pacheco replaced Troy Tulowitzki at the plate and knocked out a bases-clearing triple (7-1 Rockies). Brad Eldred hit his second home run of the game in the eighth inning, a two-run shot.
Aroldis Chapman left in the seventh inning with back stiffness.
Jorge De La Rosa went 5 1/3 innings, allowed that one run on three hits, and struck out five. Matt Daley collected the final two outs of the sixth inning. Manny Corpas pitched the seventh, allowed a hit, and struck out one Reds batter. Matt Belisle and Juan Rincon split the final two innings. Chris Nelson snagged a line drive in the ninth to start a game-ending double play.
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The Twins enter the 2010 season with a stacked offense, a deep bullpen and a newly re-signed MVP, so everything seems in place for a deep run this year. The most questionable aspect on the club, though, has to be the starting rotation. After all, the Twins ranked third-to-last in the American League last year with a 4.84 starters' ERA and none of Bill Smith's major offseason moves involved supplementing this unit.
However, the return of Kevin Slowey from wrist injury, the re-signing of Carl Pavano and the emergence of Francisco Liriano this winter provide plenty of reason for optimism. That the five hurlers I project to make the rotation have combined for a 1.64 ERA this spring is certainly helping to feed that optimism.
Let's break down the Twins' projected five-man rotation, with a quick look at the candidates to step in should someone go down.
2009 Stats: 200 IP, 15-9, 4.36 ERA, 162 K / 48 BB, 1.19 WHIP
Having been the Twins' most consistent starter over the past three years and having been named Opening Day starter this year, Baker enters the season as ace by default. Whether he'll actually play up to that level remains to be seen -- only once has Baker posted an ERA under 4 in a full season -- but it's easy to be comfortable with him as a rock at the front of the Twins' rotation. Last year, he recovered from a rocky first handful of starts to go 15-5 with a 3.81 ERA over his final 29 starts, including 8-2 with a 3.28 after the All-Star break. Without any shoulder problems bogging him down this spring, it seems fair to expect that type of production over the course of the entire season this year.
2009 Stats: 199.1 IP, 14-12, 5.10 ERA, 147 K / 39 BB, 1.38 WHIP
After being acquired in August last year, Pavano posted a 4.64 ERA and 59-to-16 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 12 regular-season starts for the Twins, finishing his year on a high note with a dazzling outing against the Yankees in Game 3 of the ALDS. Pavano tends to serve up a sizable number of hits and is no frontline starter, but he's a control pitcher fully capable of posting solid overall numbers and he provides a welcome veteran edge to the Twins' relatively young pitching staff.
2009 Stats: 90.2 IP, 10-3, 4.86 ERA, 75 K / 15 BB, 1.41 WHIP
When Slowey went down for the season with an injury last July, his numbers weren't terribly impressive. Despite a 10-3 record, Slowey held a 4.86 ERA and 1.41 WHIP that both screamed mediocrity, and he'd allowed a painful 15 home runs in just 90 innings. That performance was undoubtedly hampered by the wrist problems that ultimately required season-ending surgery; now that Slowey has gotten that taken care of, the hope is that he'll return to his 2008 form (3.99 ERA, 1.15 WHIP) or better. There aren't many starting pitchers around the league capable of striking out five more batters than they walk, which Slowey has done for two straight seasons now.
2009 Stats: 205.2 IP, 11-11, 4.03 ERA, 98 K / 41 BB, 1.36 WHIP
No American League pitcher gave up more hits than Blackburn last year, and yet the right-hander still managed to finish with better than average numbers in the ERA and WHIP categories. That's because Blackburn is very stingy with walks and -- when he's on -- very good at inducing weak contact and keeping the ball in the park. Things can get a little ugly when he's not on, as displayed by his brutal stretch following the All-Star break last year, but overall Blackburn has posted nearly identical numbers in the past two seasons and has been a very solid middle-of-the-rotation starter in both.
2009 Stats: 136.2 IP, 5-13, 5.80 ERA, 122 K / 65 BB, 1.55 WHIP
Liriano is the Twins' ace in the hole, so to speak. He was dreadful last season, struggling with command issues that mostly seemed to stem from mental hurdles, but he built up his confidence with an outstanding stint in winter ball and he's carried that confidence to spring training, where his numbers have been absolutely outstanding. Liriano has the best stuff of any Twins starter and has shown in the past that he's got serious ace ability. If he can fulfill that potential this year, he'll change the complexion of the entire rotation.
Duensing pitched extremely well down the stretch last year, providing an unexpected boost to a beleaguered rotation and playing a substantial role in the Twins' postseason run. That performance has earned him a first crack at the rotation should one of the top five starters fail and perhaps a spot in the bullpen, but his mediocre track record in the high minors, combined with his uninspiring results this spring, will likely keep him out of a starting role with the Twins for now.
After a solid 2008 campaign, Perkins entered the '09 season as a bona fide member of the rotation and a seemingly well positioned piece in the organization's long-term rotation plans. After a season full of injuries, poor performance and bickering with management, Perkins' stock has dropped off a cliff. If he's still with the organization come Opening Day, he'll almost certainly be in Rochester, and with much to prove.
He pitched very well upon being called up last year, but began to struggle immensely once the league caught on to him. Swarzak appears slated to start the year in Triple-A but is a nice piece to have around in case of emergency and is only 24 years old.
Manship got his feet wet at the big-league level late last year, joining the bullpen in August and then making a handful of starts in September as the Twins raced back into the postseason race. The high-pressure circumstances weren't exactly ideal for a young pitcher to be breaking into the majors, but Manship held his own and is likely to get another shot at some point this year.
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"It keeps getting better," Chamberlain said. "This was probably the best my changeup has ever been. I threw some great pitches today. There's times I got a little bit tired, but those are times you've got to bear in and not take a pitch off, because it can hurt you." (source: Bryan Hoch)
"It felt really good," Chamberlain said. "Threw a lot of good changeups, continued to get my legs under me. The ball felt good coming out of my hand." (source: Marc Carig)Meanwhile, over in Clearwater, Hughes had some of the best stuff he's had all spring, but was victimized by the long ball, allowing three including a two-run walk-off shot in the bottom of the ninth. The homers were hit by Ben Francisco, Dane Sardinha, and Wilson Valdez, who hit the walk-off. While the final line wasn't too impressive--4.1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 6 K--his stuff was very good and he threw strikes.
?I felt really good with all my pitches,? he said. ?It just seemed like every fly ball that was hit out there was either going to hit off the wall or leave the yard. I threw probably the best changeups I?ve ever thrown. Probably the first strikeout I?ve ever gotten with a changeup. It?s hard to swallow the three home runs and say I was happy with the way I threw, but I really was.?
?I?ve done all I can do,? Hughes said. ?We?ll just have to see where they want to go from here? I feel like I?ve worked hard to get myself to this point where I can be a successful starter.? (source: Chad Jennings)Hughes isn't exaggerating when he says he had his best changeup he's ever thrown today, and his curveball was dancing too. Girardi has a tough decision coming up.