Cubs Survive Ugly 8-7 Win Over Crosstown Rival White Sox – Wrigley Field West 3/24/11

Posted on 25 March 2011 by Lou

WOW – what an ugly win for the Cubs over the White Sox on Thursday.  There were some positives, but also a LOT of negatives.

It was great that the Cubs hung on to win, but the White Sox actually out-hit the Cubs 16-8.  Ouch.  Good pitching was clearly not on display yesterday in Mesa.

I’m still waiting for Matt Garza to have that breakout start that shows it was a smart decision for the Cubs to unload 4 top prospects for the big righty from the Tampa Bay Rays.  Garza started off well with 3 straight scoreless innings to start the game.  But he ended up giving up 3 ER on 8 hits and 2 walks which actually lowered his ERA to 8.68 for the spring.  But a 2.0 WHIP during a game is never good, even if you end up winning.  Not sure if Garza is still fine-tuning things and working on pitches no matter what the situation in the game, but I really hope that he starts pitching for real before the season starts.  He has 1 more start next week before he makes his Cubs debut next Sunday at Wrigley Field, so it would be nice to see a stellar outing out of Garza early next week.

The bullpen didn’t fare much better.  Braden Looper gave up a run on 3 hits and a walk in his 2 innings of work and is out of the running for being the Cubs 5th starter.  James Russell gave up 2ER on 2 solo home runs in the 8th inning, but will likely still make the opening day roster as a lefty reliever.  And Carlos Marmol gave up a run in the 9th inning but managed to shut the door on the White Sox to preserve the 1-run win for the Cubs.  All in all, it was a horrible showing by the pitching staff.

The bats finally came to life in the win.  Alfonso Soriano had a solo home run and had 2 RBI’s on the day.  Darwin Barney continued to show Manager Mike Quade that he deserves a shot at starting at 2B this season.  He had 2 more hits including a triple and he drove in 2 runs and scored 1 run.  Marlon Byrd continued his torrid hitting and had 2 RBI’s.  Satrlin Castro had a double and a walk and scored 2 runs.

When these guys are being patient and swinging the bats well, the Cubs are capable of putting up some runs each game.  But is a matter of consistency and hoping that guys like Carlos Pena, Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto all don’t go into prolonged slumps at the same time.

It’s a week away from opening day – can’t wait for another fun MLB schedule to begin…

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