In front of a smallish (maybe the economy IS having an effect) spring opening crowd of 7,496, five Cubs (Derrek Lee, Marlon Byrd, Sam Fuld, Brad Snyder and Tyler Colvin) smacked homers and the Cubs won Thursday afternoon over the Athletics 9-3.
Schedule the parade! We're a juggernaut! Nothing can go wr...
Well, of course I know it's just the first day of spring games and these don't count, and in general don't mean anything. Still, it's nice to get that first victory, isn't it? Much more pleasant to talk about this than a loss. More after the jump.
Lost in the offensive barrage (16 hits, including a pair of doubles from Colvin, who went 3-for-3, and a triple from Starlin Castro) was the generally solid performance of the pitching staff. Randy Wells threw two perfect innings. Sean Marshall, a pair scoreless, with just one walk. It was the guys with minimal chances to make the roster (J. R. Mathes and Mike Parisi) who gave up the runs, both allowing homers -- Mathes to Adam Rosales, and Parisi to A's minor leaguer Chris Carter, maybe a matchup that might happen later this summer in the Pacific Coast League.
Then Esmailin Caridad finished up with a 1-2-3 inning against Oakland scrubs. Caridad's roster spot, promised by Lou last week "unless he pitched himself off it", seemed solidified even further today when the Mets signed Kiko Calero to a minor league deal which will reportedly pay him $850,000 if he makes the team.
That isn't a lot of money for someone who has put up the numbers Calero has, but it seems to me that there must be something teams are leery about regarding Calero if the best he could get from anyone is a minor league deal. In any case, I think at a certain point, if your minor leagues are going to be seen as productive, some of the players you're producing have to, you know, produce, and that includes Caridad, Justin Berg, Jeff Stevens, or even Andrew Cashner. Cashner might be a top starter someday, but what's wrong with making him a top reliever? He has the stuff to be a closer or setup man, and if he can get major league hitters out, I don't see any reason why Cashner shouldn't have an equal shot at making this year's bullpen.
Nicely done offensively and pitching-wise, though it's just the first step in what we hope will be a seven month march to the postseason and beyond. Carlos Zambrano makes his spring debut tomorrow. Until then.