Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Cubs Improve Cactus League Record

After starting the Cactus League season 0-3-1, Lou Piniella got pissed. He complained that the team was neither pitching well nor getting timely hits. He didn’t throw a tirade, but he let his players know that he expected more.

Over the past two days, the players have given more. On Monday, the Cubs defeated the Mariners 6-5 and yesterday they beat the Brewers 3-2.

In Monday’s game against the Mariners, Mark Prior made his Spring debut and didn’t look very good. He pitched 1 1/3 innings, threw 40 pitches, gave up four hits and three earned runs. Kerry Wood pitched one inning of no-hit baseball.

Felix Pie was the hitting star, going 3-5. He drove in a run and scored another. Mike Kinkade had a HR and a single, driving in two runs.

On Tuesday, Jason Marquis shined in his Cubs debut. He threw three scoreless innings against the Brewers, giving up just two hits and striking out two. Ryan Dempster looked good in his one inning of work, giving up a hit and striking out two.

The better play by the Cubs followed the tough words by Piniella. Is there a cause and effect? Probably not. The better play is more likely the result of Cubs regulars getting more playing time an shaking off the rust of the winter. Even so, it was good to see the Cubs’ manager show some emotion. It was a nice change all the way around.


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