Daily Facepalm 4.3.12

Was there a Cubs game yesterday?

The Cubs hit roughly 37 sac flies to beat the DBacks yesterday, and drag their spring trianing winning percentage to .500. Clearly I should place a big bet on the Cubs winning 81 games this year.  Kerry Wood pitched a scoreless inning, and Jay Jackson had a meh start. Jeff Samardzija threw four scoreless innings in a minor league start.

Is there a Cubs game today?

The Cubs play the Brewers in what will be the last Cactus league game of the season. Travis Wood will start for the Cubs, as well as most if not all of the opening day lineup. The Brewers also have an exhibition game against the DBacks later tonight in whatever they're calling the BOB these days, so it will probably mostly be minor leaguers from them today. The game will be broadcast on WGN radio.

Expected lineup

RF DeJesus

2B Barney

SS Castro

1B Lahair*

LF Soriano

3B Stewart

CF Byrd

C Soto

P Wood

*LaHair has sat out a few games with a stiff back, and could miss this one too. I get the vibe that it's something he would play through in the regular season, but there's no point in playing through it in a meaningless ST game.

Marmol working on more than just locating his fastball

Carlos Marmol and the Cubs also seem to be aware of the drop in Marmol's fastball velocity last year. So he made a few changes to his grip, adding more movement and sink to it to make up for the drop in velocity. It would help explain his struggles in early spring, and he's had six consecutive scoreless outings. Clearly he'll post a 0.00 ERA. He'll lose the handle on it from time to time but this sounds like good news to me.

Extended news

Two big extensions were signed yesterday. Matt Cain signed a 5/112.5 deal with the Giants, and Reds star 1B Joey Votto signed a monster 10/225 deal. Seeing Votto around the NL central for the next decade is obviously going to have a bigger effect on the team, but the Cain deal could have ramifications for a possible extension of Matt Garza. John at Cubs Den has a piece up looking at how it might affect the Cubs negotiations.

Carrie Muskat makes a Romney-esque endorsement of the Cubs

In the beginning of an article about how the Cubs believe their hard work will pay off:

On paper, the 2012 Cubs may not scare many teams. New third baseman Ian Stewart hit zero home runs last season in the big leagues and is replacing someone who could be counted on for 20-plus dingers and 90-something RBIs. First baseman Bryan LaHair had nearly as many at-bats in Venezuela this winter as he has in the Majors. The bullpen may include a slender 22-year-old making the leap from Class A to the show.

Who's ready for some baseball! Yeah!

Baserunning fluff

Reed Johnson gets mega-pats on the back for scoring from third on a shallow flyout in yesterday's game. Sveum has emphasized aggressive baserunning this spring, but judging from what we've seen it hasn't paid off. I'm all for aggressive baserunning, but the Cubs to stress smarter aggressive baserunning, stuff like going from first to third more often, not just simply attempting more stolen bases or ill-advised sac-fly scoring attempts for the sake of aggressiveness. This team does not have good speed.

Ubaldo Jimenez suspended five games

The gutless pitcher was allegedly sending a message to his former team by throwing at their franchise player. It sounds like things got really nasty in that locker room before they traded him.

Forum highlight

Josh started a Blackhawks thread in the forum yesterday. Feel free to jump in and discuss your favorite team that was recently freed from the clutches of a miserly owner.

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