A Win, As They Say...

... is a win. The Cubs beat the Mariners 6-5 for their first spring win this afternoon.

But does it really matter? Because the people who had the most to do with bringing the Cubs back from a 4-0 deficit, largely at the hands of ... ... Mark Prior -- won't be with the club when it breaks camp at the end of this month.

Mike Kinkade -- a nearly 34-year-old journeyman who last played in the majors with the 2003 Dodgers -- homered and had 3 RBI today. Big whoop. He'll be playing at Iowa, that is, if the Cubs don't release him. Felix Pie had three singles. He'll be playing at Iowa, too, although perhaps not for long if he keeps hitting like that.

Good: the Cubs drew five walks.

Bad: Mark Prior.

Good: Ted Lilly, in his spring debut, threw two scoreless innings.

Bad: Mark Prior.

Good: Kerry Wood, in his first spring training action of any kind in two years, threw a scoreless inning, with a strikeout. He got the "W", not that that means much.

Bad: Mark Prior.

OK, I'm overdoing it. Prior had to be yanked before his scheduled two innings were up, because the Mariners were pounding him all over the yard (a single and a pair of doubles in the second inning), and even when he wasn't being hit, he was all over the strike zone. The Mariners radio broadcasters said he was clocked at only 83-84 MPH.

That's simply not good; it's reminiscent of Prior's 2006 season debut against the Tigers, where he gave up three HR in the first inning.

It's only one game, and only the first game. But it's still not good. I guess I'll reserve judgment until I hear more from Lou Piniella and Prior on what's next. But this puts some pressure on Wade Miller and the other younger members of the staff (the Sean Marshalls of the world) to step up.

Rocky Cherry -- one of the greatest baseball names ever -- threw two good innings to finish up and qualified for the save. I have not seen Rocky pitch before; I hope to when I'm in Arizona later this month. If he's decent like this the rest of the spring, he may be at the top of the list of callups during the season.

If any of you were at the game today, please post your thoughts on what you saw of Mark Prior.

And thank all our lucky stars for this win, because I'm thinking Lou was holding himself back and might have thrown some stuff around his office if the club had put up another "L". Maybe he'll even smile tonight.

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