Saturday, March 31, 2012

3-3 on 3/31

Maholm solid today
I'm not going to do the usual game recap today, instead here are just a few thoughts. I don't have a sister, but I hear kissing her would be like today's game - Cubs 3 Angels 3, final in 10 innings. Our first pitch was at 1:06pm today. At 1:08pm, I thought to myself, here goes, the first time I would have to make an infamous (at least for a Cubs fan) announcement , 'Now Batting, Albert Pujols'. At 1:08 and 15 seconds, Pujols launched the first pitch he's ever seen at Hohokam Park into the left centerfield berm for a 2 run homer. I'm sure glad he's not in the Cubs division anymore.

After Pujol's homer in the 1st, Paul Maholm settled down and pitched well for the rest of his 4.2 innings, only allowing 3 hits total while striking out 6 Halo's. Cubs relief pitchers Wood, Lopez, Marmol, Dolis and Russell all pitched well.

Cubs first base coach Dave McKay and Pujols exchanged a pre-game hug. With McKay having been the Cardinal's first base coach for 16 years before coming over to the Cubs, those two have spent a lot of time together.

The boys in the booth played The Heat is On by Glenn Frey between innings, which was pretty dang accurate as we hit 90 degrees for the first time this spring. Our old pal LaTroy Hawkins got into the game for the Angels. Cubs fans enjoyed a snicker, jeer, guffaw or heckle at Ol Albert's expense, as he ran for the dugout at the end of the fourth inning. To Albert's surprise and dismay, there were only 2 outs. That made the afternoon worthwhile for me.

Baker applies tag in rundown with Angels Trumbo
David DeJesus had a solid single today, that's encouraging. Darwin Barney had an error at short, not as encouraging. Ian Stewart stole a base, a bit of a surprise, but the Cubs are running more. Steve Clevenger throws out a couple Angel would-be base thieves. Joe Mather hits the ball hard. Starlin Castro, Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto, Marlon Byrd enjoyed a day off.

Due to a very full press box with multiple broadcasts, Angels broadcaster's Mark Gubicza and Victor Rojas spent the afternoon in my booth. Gubicza helped the Kansas City Royals win the World Series in 1985 and pitched in the majors for 14 seasons. Victor Rojas is the son of former major-league player and manager Coolie Rojas. Gubicza told us it was Angels Manager Mike Scioscia's policy this spring to not let his pitchers swing the bat in games. And so Angels starting pitcher Garrett Richards struck out three times looking, never taking a cut. This also meant that he personally left five base runners stranded.

Cubs get to play the Angels again tomorrow in Tempe, and I am going to relax and watch from the stands. Here's some photos from John Antonoff. Enjoy

Sutcliffe and Pujols 
DeWitt can't handle high throw

Marmol deals perfect inning  

Mather belts a double in the 5th inning

Friday, March 30, 2012

Dodgers - Cubs

Dempster dealing
The Los Angeles Dodgers came to Hohokam for the first time this spring and handed the Cubs a 6-3 loss in front of 10,102 warm sun-drenched fans. The Dodgers were playing a split squad today, while the Cubs fielded what looks to be the opening day lineup, pending any late maneuvers.

Ryan Dempster, who will start opening day next week, had his final rotation turn, and pitched a solid 4.2 innings, giving up 1 run on 4 hits while walking 3 and striking out 3. Manuel Corpas entered the game in the sixth and tossed a nice 1-2-3 inning, but stayed in the game for the seventh inning with the score tied at one. Corpas proceeded to give up 3 runs on 2 hits, and a base on balls. The big blow was a 2-run triple by Dodger shortstop Dee Gordon. Rule 5 guy Lendy Castillo came in for Corpas giving up an RBI single, (the run charged to Corpas). Castillo then gave up another run in the eighth inning. Cubs minor leaguer Marcus Hatley allowed the Dodgers final run in the ninth.

Stewart goes yard 
Offensively, Ian Stewart hit a home run in the fourth inning off Dodger's starter Fernando Nieve, the ball cleared both bullpens in right. Marlon Byrd hit a triple in what really looked like a missed catch in right field by Dodger's minor leaguer Nick Buss. Alfonso Soriano hit the ball hard today, unfortunately a couple times right at Dodger defenders. Soriano did come through with an RBI double in the eight inning, driving in David DeJesus. Starlin Castro hit a double in the first inning where he slid in awkwardly at second base. The Cubs trainer came out briefly, luckily Castro was fine. On Castro's double, David DeJesus was rounding third with the green light for home, but stumbled. Having to hold up at third base, Dejesus was left stranded.

Defensively the Cubs made some nice plays including Geovany Soto nailing Dee Gordon on a steal attempt in the first inning. Darwin Barney made an incredible diving stop on a Juan Uribe rocket that had nearly decapitated Dempster. Barney made the throw from his knees that nipped Uribe at first. The Cubs were also charged with a couple errors as Lendy Castillo threw the ball into center field on a pick off play, while Joe Mather coming off the bench to play second base, couldn't handle an in-between hop grounder.

Next up, the Cubs host the Angels tomorrow at Hohokam. Great to have BOS photographer John Antonoff back! Here are more of his photos from today's game.

Barney makes diving play

Byrd hits a single

Barney misses lead runner but gets the out at first

DeJesus can't make sliding grab 

Dempster attempts back handed flip from glove

It's a Cubs - L.A. Weekend

If you had said 40 days ago when I took these photos at Fitch Park, that both these guys would be on the Cubs opening day roster, then I want you to pick my Mega Millions ticket for tonight! 

The Dodgers are at Hohokam today, then the Angels tomorrow, with the Cubs traveling to Tempe on Sunday for another game against the Angels. Getting close to opening day! Go Cubs!
Joe Mather

Steve Clevenger

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Shark Attack in Mesa

Today Jeff Samardzija made a strong claim to be in the Cubs starting rotation, pitching 6 innings of shutout ball in a Cubs 2-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians at Hohokam Stadium. Shark allowed a double to Jason Kipnis to open the game, but only two singles after that. He seemed to get stronger as the game went on. Samardzija walked only one batter while whiffing 5 Indians in front of 8,911 fans on a warm sunny Mesa day. Carlos Marmol, Jeff Russell and Rafael Dolis each pitched a scoreless frame, although Dolis made it interesting in the ninth inning by walking two Indians with the Cubs holding only a two run lead.
Samardzija the former Notre Dame wide receiver showed his wheels legging out a triple after Indian's left fielder Russ Canzler allowed the ball to get past him. On his first plate appearance, Samardzija brought a little humor to the ballpark as he trotted to first base after drawing a walk, problem was it was still a 3-2 count. He was half way to first base before realizing his mistake. Steve Adams our scoreboard operator who sits in the same booth as I do, initially was freaked out because he thought he had messed up the count. Steve was relieved and laughed when he saw Jeff turn around and head back to the plate.

The Cubs didn't need much offense, but finally broke through against Indian's starter Josh Tomlin in the sixth with four singles. Alfonso Soriano and Ian Stewart started it off and were driven home by Bryan LaHair and Joe Mather respectively.  Stewart also led off the second inning with a double, but like Samardzija when he led off the fifth inning with a triple, was left stranded. Cubs First baseman Bryan LaHair who started off slowly at the plate this spring has been steadily improving; with his hit today his batting average is up to .310.

Cubs defensive notes: Ian Stewart made a nice charging play on a slow roller, then turned and nailed the lead runner for a force at 2nd base. Starlin Castro ranged far towards the outfield grass behind second base to snag a Shin-Soo Choo grounder, then whirled and threw Choo out at first base to end the third inning. Castro also made a nice running catch on Casey Kotchman's foul pop to the left field line. Castro would come back later and make an almost identical play to the left field line catching Carlos Santana's looping popup. Castro made long runs on both those balls before making each catch. The Cubs young shortstop seems to be alot more focused on his defense this spring, and that could pay big dividends for the team moving forward.

About one third to half of the Cubs fans in the stands were on their feet cheering as the final out was made, that doesn't happen much in spring training games. I noticed something interesting in Cleveland's Press Game Notes, on the far back corner is the "Tribe on Twitter", all the players and staff with Twitter accounts. Nice to see a team embrace the new media with a published list. One of the former Cubs hot prospects Felix Pie got into today's game for Cleveland. Pie is a non-roster invitee with the Tribe after spending the past 3 seasons with Baltimore.

Our Boys of Spring game photographer John Antonoff, will be back for the rest of the games, so you won't have to see any more lame pics of sharks.

I know that you've all been eagerly awaiting the Boys of Spring - Best Cubs Site Awards (ok, you probably forgot), but they are going to happen - finally! Look for the BOS-BCS Awards next week; so you'll be fully fortified with all the Cubs websites and info you need before opening day.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Cubs Win With Shutout

On a gorgeous sunny 75 degree day, the Cubs played their final split squad games of the spring season. At Hohokam Stadium the Cubs came away with a 2-0 shutout of the San Diego Padres, while falling 3-2 to the Arizona Diamondbacks in Scottsdale.

The game in Mesa was the Cubs first shutout this spring and Cubs starting pitcher Paul Maholm turned in five solid innings, scattering 4 hits, with 2 walks and 6 K's. Carlos Marmol followed Maholm with one of his best efforts this spring. In spite of allowing a hit (the ball hit the bag at first, otherwise Bryan LaHair may have made the play) and a walk, Marmol shut down the Padres without scoring. Casey Coleman followed with 2 solid innings, allowing only 1 single. Rafael Dolis finished the game for the Cubs in the 9th. Dolis would have had an easy 1-2-3 inning, but while striking out Everett Williams for what would have been the 3rd out, the ball got past Geovany Soto (wild pitch) allowing Williams to reach 1st base. Dolis then walked Yasmani Grandal, putting the tying run aboard, before recording the 3rd out.

The Cubs were not exactly an offensive juggernaut themselves, but were able to plate a run in each of the first two innings. In the first, Starlin Castro drew a 2-out walk then stole second base and was driven home on Bryan LaHair's double. In the 2nd inning, Jeff Baker led off with a double (one of two doubles he had today), followed by a Tony Campana single, Reed Johnson then drove in Baker with a single.

Matt Szczur made a sensational diving grab in the top of the 9th off a Jaff Decker (yes, Jaff) sinking liner. In the fifth inning Tony Campana made a long run on a bloop single down the left field line, he then turned and gunned a perfect throw to nail Padres Will Venable trying to stretch it to a double.

It's nice to hear Go Cubs Go after the victory at Hohokam, however this is only the 3rd win for the Cubs at the Mesa ballpark this spring. 7,122 fans attended the Mesa game, with 11,573 making it out to see the Cubs in Scottsdale. Our photographer John Antonoff had the day off, so no photos today. I would have taken some but I was a little busy announcing the game.

Sunday at Fitch Park

Dempster in action at Fitch Park
Yesterday, I decided not to make the 100 mile round-trip drive from my house to watch the Cubs play the Cleveland Indians in Goodyear, AZ. Instead I went over to Fitch Park to watch Ryan Dempster and the Cubs minor leaguers play. I just love the relaxed low key environment at Fitch Park; it's a great place to see the up and coming ballplayers in the Cubs system.

As for Dempster, according to AZ Phil over at The Cub Reporter, Dempster pitched against a lineup of "A"-ball kids, allowed six runs on eight hits in five innings of work. I never like to read too much into an outing like this by a major league pitcher against young aggressive kids. For all we know Dempster could have been working on a specific pitch, the bottom line is, he was getting his work in and staying on his rotation schedule.

The Cubs play the San Diego Padres today at Hohokam, I'll be back later today with a report on that. Here are a few of my pics from yesterday at Fitch.

Cubs GM Jed Hoyer at Fitch Park yesterday
Dempster works against Angels minor leaguer
Hoyer and Jay Jackson

Matt Szczur

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Introducing The New Flying iPhone

Travis Wood pitching today
Today's Cubs game was on WGN-TV so you may have watched this uneventful Cubs 5-1 loss to the San Diego Padres. From a Cubs fan standpoint, likely the most exciting event during today's game was a fight between two women behind the Padres dugout. More on that later. We did have a large sellout crowd of 12,872 on a warm 86 degree day in Mesa.

The Cubs only had 3 hits in the entire game against a Padre's split squad team that had few of its expected 2012 starters playing. The Cub's lone run came when Alfonso Soriano doubled off the left field wall and eventually scored on a sac fly by Darwin Barney, who was starting at shortstop today. Not to be an alarmist, but I am a little concerned with the Cubs lead off hitter David DeJesus, who came into today's game batting .216, he reached on an error in the first inning but then proceeded to strikeout three consecutive times. DeJesus is a great team member, but so far this spring he hasn't been able to get it figured out at the plate. Hopefully he can get it going, as we have only 12 days until opening day.

Travis Wood got the start and pitched decently until the 4th inning, eventually giving up 3 runs on 5 hits while striking out 1 and beaning 2 Padres. Wood's 3.2 innings today was his longest effort of the spring. Cubs pitching blanked the Padres from 5th through the 8th inning until Cubs minor leaguer Tony Zych allowed the Padre's final 2 runs in the 9th.

Yesterday we learned the expected news that Brett Jackson and Anthony Rizzo were sent down to Triple A Iowa. Obviously the plan is to be conservative and not bring them up too soon, however they have been two of the best players for the Cubs this spring and if they continue playing this well, they may end up forcing management's hand sooner than later.

Ryan Dempster had his Dempster Family Foundation at the Park today promoting awareness of 22Q , a genetic disorder which can cause heart problems, cleft palate, and emotional and behavioral issues. Ryan caught the ceremonial first pitch of Charlie Calcaterra who was representing all the Arizona Q22 families in attendance at today's game. One of the ways you can help out is by texting: DEMPSTER to 20222. You can donate as little as $5 on up.

Girls going wild, interesting reactions by other fans
As I mentioned earlier, we had a girl fight in the stands, I know it's surprising that alcohol was likely involved.  Apparently there was an i-phone that was thrown and destroyed, followed by several hay-makers from each of the participants. A couple Mesa Hohokam's and stadium security quickly broke up the skirmish, before they could do any serious damage to each other. The excitement isn't always on the field, especially in a game like today's.

The Padres had many interesting player names who got into today's game, including Yonder, Yasmani, Beamer, and Mykal (all first names), and it was surprising to me that Jedd Gyorko's last name was pronounced JERK-oh. That had to be difficult as a youngster.

The Cubs are headed to Goodyear tomorrow to play the Cleveland Indians and then will be back to Hohokam on Monday to take on the Padres once again.

Photos by BOS's John Antonoff.

Barney hits sac fly to score Soriano

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Day Off

Goldfield Ghost Town sits under the Superstition Mountains
Yesterday the Cubs had the day off, so with perfect weather, I decided to get out and do something fun. Last spring it was such a blast to see the AZ desert with my friends from Apache Trail Tours, that I decided it was time for another adventure! You can read my blog about that trip last spring - here.  

This time we headed off-road on a two-hour 4x4 sunset tour. All the guides at Apache Trails are experts on the area and its history. The Goldfield Mountains and Old Goldfield Mining district lie to the North and West of the more famous towering cliffs of the Superstition Mountains. The rugged and colorful Sonoran landscape is only a half hour Northeast of Mesa’s Hohokam Stadium. While the Goldfield area is only a short distance from the Valley of the Sun’s population of four million, once you enter into this amazing locale, it’s as if you’re a thousand miles from civilization. In other words - no view of buildings, no sounds of traffic, and gasp, no cell phone service. Hey, if the kids can’t text, they might actually notice this awesome place. 
Four Peaks in the distance 
Our guide took us to a crest with a 360 vantage point of the Great Western Trail, a hiking trail that, once finished, will cross through this area stretching from Mexico to Canada. Heading deeper into the wilderness area we were told to “watch for movement, Bobcats, Javelina, Coyotes, and Mountain Lions all frequent this terrain.”

These mountains are born from the fires of ancient volcanoes (with 5 in the vicinity). As we travel we are told stories of the gold fever that once swept this area, and tales of Jacob Dutchman Waltz and other Miners around the Mammoth Mine. This famed mine yielded millions of dollars of gold and silver before it flooded in 1897. 

If you come here from Chicago or the Midwest and really want to experience what the AZ desert has to offer, this is a trip for you. A couple hours of your time and civilization is long gone. The great part is, you can be back in the city in time for dinner. My photos can't really do justice to this close, but yet so far away trip offered by the good folks at Apache Trail Tours. 

Jump on in partner

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dempster Reaches Six

Dempster pitching today
Ryan Dempster pitched six solid innings for the Cubs today but the Texas Rangers ended up with a 6-2 victory at Hohokam Stadium. Dempster's six innings were the longest outing of the spring for a Cubs pitcher. The Cubs also played a split-squad game in Phoenix against the A's with that game ending in a 5-5 tie after 10 innings.

The two runs Dempster allowed came in the 2nd, after walking Mike Napoli, Dempster was touched for a home run by Ranger's Catcher Dustin Brown. Carlos Marmol took over in the 7th inning and quickly got two outs, he then hit Chris Robinson with a pitch, and had a 1-1 count on Mike Olt before being pulled from the game for an apparent injury. Lendy Castillo came in and finished the 7th without damage but he allowed 2 runs in the 8th, it could have been worse, if not for a double play (with bases loaded) to end the inning. Alberto Cabrera also gave up 2 runs in the 9th, on a single by Luis Hernandez and a no-doubt home run by Leonys Martin.

Castro laces a double
The Cubs couldn't get much offense going today but did plate 2 runs in the 4th. Following Jeff Baker's lead-off walk, Blake DeWitt hit a triple scoring Baker, Reed Johnson followed with a sacrifice to score DeWitt. Starlin Castro had 2 hits, both extra bases (double and triple). Blake DeWitt and Anthony Rizzo also had 2 hits each.

Our pre-game ceremonial pitch was delayed for a few minutes today because Matt Szczur, who was to catch said pitch, was busy getting advice from Cubs Manager Dale Sveum. Wayne and Kathleen Messmer did a bang-up National Anthem duet. We are all still learning some of the new Cubs players' names, or specifically how to pronounce them. Today it was Adrian Cardenas, I had been saying it the way the Cubs media relations department pronounces it. However, Len Kasper stopped into my booth and told me that he had just talked to Cardenas today, and that it's pronounced Card-in-iss. I don't feel too bad because Len said he'd been pronouncing it incorrectly himself. Len is a class act, it was a nice gesture for him to stop into my booth and pass along that information.

Tomorrow the Cubs have their only day off this spring before resuming Cactus League play on Thursday against the Rangers again, this time in Surprise.

Be sure to check out our 2012 Boys of Spring - Best Cubs Site Awards presentation, coming on Thursday. This is our chance to recognize many of the great Cubs blogs and websites out on the interwebs. It should help you prepare for opening day by giving you more options and information on some cool Cubs websites.

Photos by BOS's John Antonoff

Castro applies tag at second

Castro into third with a triple

Marmol in 7th inning 

Ball drops between many Cubs

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cubs - Sox

The sky from my booth about 12:45pm - Photo TJS  

Rain was all around the Valley of the Sun today. In fact, three other Cactus League games were not played due to the rain, and another was stopped after five and a half innings. In Mesa we played 10 innings, with the White Sox beating the Cubs by a score of 7-5.

Casey Coleman today
In spite of the less than stellar conditions, today's attendance was 12,469, it appeared to my eyes that around 11,500 were actually at Hohokam. The Cubs were cruising along with a 3-0 lead until Andy Sonnanstine came in to pitch in the 6th inning. The Sox put up 5 runs on him which included a Dan Johnson, HR blast. Sonnanstine stayed in the game for the 7th inning, and would have been in for further abuse after giving up a hit and two consecutive walks, but the Cubs defense was able to help with an inning ending double play. Casey Coleman started and tossed 3 solid shutout innings. Kerry Wood pitched a scoreless 4th inning aided by a double play after allowing two consecutive hits. Carlos Marmol followed Wood with a nice hitless inning, allowing only a walk to Tyler Flowers. It looks like Marmol is starting to settle in with the pitches he likes and locate his fastball better. Marcos Mateo allowed the Sox two runs in the 10th inning, but only one was earned as Cubs SS Logan Watkins' throwing error allowed Ray Olmedo to score.

Brett Jackson hits a double in 10th inning
The Cubs had a great chance to win this thing in the 8th when they scored 2 runs to tie the game at 5, and then had bases loaded with only 1 but failed to plate another run.  Starlin Castro, Josh Vitters, and Tony Campana each had two hits. It's good to see the Cubs really running and going from first base to third base on a single, today it was Jeff Baker doing the running on a Josh Vitters single to right center. Josh Vitters also had a stole second base, yes, Josh Vitters! With one out in the 10th, Brett Jackson tried to ignite a Cubs rally, hitting a double, but was left stranded.

I really don't get concerned at these wins or losses right now because many of the players who are deciding these games won't be on the team, at least this season. The players and coaching staff are also still working on certain aspects of the game, and not individual pitcher/hitter match-ups at this point. However, with just about two and a half weeks until the season opener, the coaching staff will now become a bit more focused on game situations and match-ups. From here on out the position battles will become more intense and magnified until the cutting process is complete.

Photos by BOS's John Antonoff

Hard working grounds crew 

Kerry Wood

Logan Watkins helps with double play

Baker to third

Vitters steals second

AZ Governor Jan Brewer threw ceremonial pitch 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Erin go Bragh

Happy St. Patrick's Day to one and all! Those of you who have been following this blog for a while might remember that I have Irish ancestry. My dad's side is pretty much all Irish, some on my mom's side as well. In fact the name Sheridan is of Irish derivation and depending on who you believe, it means, "savage" or "wild" or "to seek." I was lucky enough to be able to go to Ireland in April of 2008, and wrote this blog about the trip.

To celebrate the green day here are three Irish related tunes. The first one is by The Corrs who are doing an acoustic cover of  the Jimi Hendrix song Little Wing. You may be familiar with The Corrs who consist of three sisters and a brother from Dundalk, Ireland, they mix rock, pop, and traditional Celtic folk music.

The next song is by Lisa Hannigan and was shot in one continuous take at a pub on the Dingle Peninsula only a few months after I was there. The pubs and music pretty much go hand in hand in Ireland.

The third song is from the Belfast legend Van Morrison, this one seems a fit for Cubs fans.  Sláinte! 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Closer But Still A Loss

Garza today
The Cubs and the Giants squared off in Mesa today, with the Giants coming away with a 3-2 victory in front of 13,245 fans packed into Hohokam Stadium. Matt Garza started for the Cubs and cruised through 3 innings of shutout ball. To start the 4th inning he walked Melky Cabrera, and would eventually give up 2 runs on hits by Pablo Sandoval and Aubrey Huff. Rafael Dolis then tossed a 1 hit shutout inning, followed by Chris Rusin who pitched 2 quality innings, allowing only 1 walk, while striking out 2. After Rusin, it was Lendy Castillo's turn. Castillo looked like he was going to get out of the inning unscathed when he pounced on a comebacker to the mound by Tyler Graham, it would have been out number three. Unfortunately, Lendy with all the time in the world to throw, flung it eight feet over the first baseman's head allowing Emanuel Burris to score from second base. Trevor Miller finished for the Cubs pitching a shutout 9th inning, with 1 hit and 1 K.

The big hit of the day for the Cubs was an Anthony Rizzo home run that he muscled out of the park to left center. Rizzo had a single as well. Blake Lalli homered in the 8th to cut the Giants lead to 3-2.  In the 9th, Joe Mather led off with a base hit, Brett Jackson pinch-hitting, bunted Mather to second. However, on the throw to first base to get Jackson, Mather decided he would continue from second to third base. Unfortunately Mather was thrown out at third, leaving the Cubs with 2 outs and NO base runners. Tony Campana made the 3rd out - game over.

Mather out at third base in 9th inning, (base  far left)
The events of the 9th inning are the kinks I hope are being worked out during spring training. We're witnessing a pretty big transition as the Cubs look to become more of a running team this season. David DeJesus did go from first to third on Marlon Byrd's single in the 3rd inning, which was good to see. Steve Clevenger who started at catcher made a bad decision in attempting a snap throw to first base, the ball ended up in right field allowing Melky Cabrera to score. Clevenger is young and wanting to impress, but he needs to understand, a snap throw to first is alot more risky when there are other base runners. Clevenger did come back later in the game and throw out Emmanuel Burriss trying to steal third base in the 5th inning.

Anthony Rizzo continues to flash this spring with the bat and the leather. Today he made a diving snag of a Nate Schierholtz hard grounder. I see Rizzo during bp and infield working on difficult throws and bad hops. It's a good sign when a player works hard on areas he may consider deficiencies.

Former Cubs GM Jim Hendry was at Hohokam today. A foul ball came right into the booth next to me, where they have the Hohokam scoreboard computers. It careened off a camera and then hit a computer monitor, before coming to rest. Luckily no damage to the equipment or Hohokams.

The Cubs are playing in Phoenix against the A's tomorrow, as well as in Las Vegas against the Rangers. We'll see if they wear their green hats to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. The Cubs will be back at Hohokam on Sunday, taking on the White Sox. They say a big storm front is moving in to AZ with possible showers and high temp of 60 degrees projected for Sunday. Hopefully the rain will stay away.

Game photos by BOS's John Antonoff

Byrd makes sliding grab

Blake Lalli hits HR to right

Clevenger throws out Burriss, Mather applies tag 

Anthony Rizzo going yard