Cubs Use Extra-Base Barrage To Bury Angels 8-1

Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney hits against the Los Angeles Angels in the third inning at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Credit: Rick Scuteri-US PRESSWIRE

AMARILLO, Texas -- Now that was a pleasant way to pass the drive through New Mexico and north Texas this afternoon, listening to the Cubs pound out five extra-base hits on their way to an 8-1 win over the Angels.

That was especially true after sitting through about a 30-minute delay on I-40 about 30 miles west of Albuquerque... for no particular reason. They forced everyone to get off at an exit... and then right back on. About three or four miles further east there was a nasty truck wreck that they appeared to be in the end stages of cleaning up, but it had been moved completely onto the shoulder.

Similarly inexplicable: the Cubs' use of Frank Batista to throw an inning on Sunday. The team is still not sure of who's going to make this year's bullpen, and they're using a kid who's going to be pitching in Double-A this year, four days before Opening Day? Look at this:

Why wasn't Manuel Corpas in this game? Or Lendy Castillo? For that matter, why did Chris Rusin start instead of Matt Garza -- it should have been Garza's turn toay Rusin threw well, no question -- and the Cubs should have a strong Triple-A rotation -- but why is Garza tuning up against minor leaguers at Fitch Park?

Those are questions that might never be answered. Let's hope they have enough info to make the right choices for the pen by Wednesday.

David DeJesus is finally starting to hit; his two hits today brought his spring average up to .207, not great, but at least headed in the right direction. Darwin Barney tripled in a run; he's hitting .392. The Cubs scored three runs off one of the better pitchers in the American League, Jered Weaver, but the biggest blow was Jeff Baker's three-run homer off Jason Isringhausen; that hit broke the game open in the eighth inning.

Batista gave up the only Angels run, a homer by Maicer Izturis. Apart from that, Cubs pitchers limited the Angels to just four singles, with no walks, but this doesn't mean much since the only pitcher who threw today who has a chance of making the 25-man roster was Shawn Camp, who did throw well today, with three strikeouts.

On Monday, the Cubs' minor league pitching corps continues its late-season run of starts; Jay Jackson will face the Diamondbacks' Patrick Corbin. (I know. Who?) Other D'backs who will throw on Monday include Wade Miley and David Hernandez.

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