Cubs hit offensive slump
The Chciago Cubs’ rotation has performed well all spring, and up until the last 10 days, so did the offense.
But the Cubs picked a bad time to go into an offensive rut, with spring training ending Saturday and Opening Day on Monday in Atlanta. Derrek Lee is hitting .189, Geovany Soto .229 and Aramis Ramirez has no home runs.
“We’ve had a good spring,” manager Lou Piniella said. “We’re leaving here relatively healthy. We’ve pitched quite well and I’ll tell you, we’re going to have to swing the bats a little better than we have here the past week or so.
“But the adrenaline, it counts for real (on Monday), and that will help. It’s been a long spring, and at the same time, the guys have worked hard. You can be a little worn out here toward the end of spring training. There were times that I left spring training when I played and I said I don’t know if I’ll get another hit. And then you get in cooler weather and you get a little rest, and all of a sudden, your body starts functioning the way you want a little better.”
Alfonso Soriano had a big game Thursday, going 3-for-3 with his second home run of the spring. He flipped his bat and did a hop after the homer.
“That made my day,” Piniella said. “I can enjoy a nice margarita now.”
Carlos Silva finished his hot spring with five scoreless innings against the Rockies.
After giving up six runs in two innings against the White Sox in his Cubs’ debut, Silva has allowed only three runs over 19 1/3 innings over his last five starts, a 1.40 earned-run average.
Guillen supports Peavy
Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen had an expletive-filled message Thursday for those who doubt Jake Peavy.
Peavy’s message came in the form of a laugh.
“I think it’s funny, actually,” he said. “I think it’s funny (people) get worried about spring training.”
But they do, especially when you’re Jake Peavy and you can’t get Triple-A hitters out.
In his last two outings before facing Triple-A Charlotte on Thursday night, Peavy had a seven-run, 10-hit performance against the Royals in Arizona and one of seven runs and 12 hits against Reds’ minor leaguers Saturday, which prompted some to wonder.
“A lot of people are talking (bleep) on TV and radio,” Guillen said. “All of a sudden, when you have a microphone in your hands you think you know (a lot) about baseball.
“He didn’t worry about getting people out, he just worried about doing his job. And to get ready for the season. A couple of hours later I see the genius people on (television talk) about how bad Jake Peavy was.”
Peavy wasn’t paying attention then and he won’t be today after he allowed three runs in four innings as he took the 4-3 loss against the Sox’s top farm team.
In fact, he was more than pleased with the outing, as he struck out seven batters. He gave up a pair of home runs in the fourth inning while working on a cut fastball.
Target Field gets rehearsal
The first event at Target Field—the Minnesota Gophers baseball game last Saturday against Louisiana Tech—was similar to a pitcher making his first outing of spring training. The fastball was thrown over the plate, and now the rest of the repertoire can be worked on.
That’s the approach the Twins will take today and Saturday when the St. Louis Cardinals come to town for two exhibition games at Target Field. Because the Twins open the regular season with a seven-game road trip beginning Monday against the Angels in Anaheim, Calif., this weekend’s exhibitions will complete a spring training of sorts for the new ballpark. Target Field makes its grand debut April 12 when the Twins play host to the Boston Red Sox.
“This weekend will be a much more real test of a typical baseball game experience,” Twins President Dave St. Peter said.