A young pitcher was making his major league debut. He was extremely nervous and was throwing up in the clubhouse bathroom 30 minutes before he was slated to pitch. After many a heave, he finally got his composure and walked out to the mound. The first pitch he threw beaned the leadoff batter on the neck. The hitter was notorious for charging pitchers, but he just gave the young hurler a glare and trotted down to first. The next hitter was slightly luckier. He drew a walk on a borderline pitch at the knees. Surrounded with this jam, our hero lost his cool and walked the next two batters. After walking in 2 runs, the skipper made the long walk from the dugout and took his pitcher out. As the rookie walked into the dugout, the first thing he said to his team was: “What was that skip? You took me out when I had a no-hitter going!”
Even though that was a joke, this is very much how I felt when Carlos Zambrano was pulled from the Cubs first spring training game yesterday. I thought it was ridiculous that Quade would take a pitcher out when he was riding a no-no, spring training or not. Then I realized that this was Mike Quade, the guy selected for manager over a Hall of Famer. He probably knows his stuff. So I don’t question him anymore.
Even if he didn’t throw a no-hitter, Big Z was definitely at top form. It gave me huge hope for the season, seeing that Cy Young potential. If he can carry that out for the whole season, I think he’ll do just fine.
The next guy that came in was Matt Garza. His outing was shaky, but I’m not worried about it. He probably had killer start-the-season nerves, plus the pressure of a debut. He also said that he wasn’t throwing any breaking pitches, nothing but fastballs and changeups. So I’m not that concerned. Garza also got his first professional hit ever.
Here’s some other stats from the game:
Fukudome: walked then scored
Starlin Castro: 2 hits + stolen base
Marlon Byrd: 2 hits + RBI, plus run scored
Aramis Ramirez: hit and an RBI but stranded two
Carlos Pena: drew a walk, prevented grounding out of double play through extreme hustle (that’s worth a HR in my book)
Soriano: 3 hits and 2 RBIs!
Soto: 1 hit
DeWitt: no hits, stranded 5
Baker: hit and a walk
Overall, the Cubs lineup showed potential and I think it’s going to be a great year!