I can hear Ozzie Guillen's head exploding from here, can't you?
Even in a spring training game, no manager, especially one with Ozzie's volatile nature, wants his team to lose 13-0. But that's exactly what happened, a 13-0 Cubs thrashing of their South Side rivals, on another warmer-than-usual for late February, 77-degree day in Mesa. Attendance, buoyed by the weekend date and the matchup, jumped to 13,010, the largest announced crowd in the history of HoHoKam Park (so much for the idea that attendance is "down" this year), breaking the old record of 12,917, set March 30, 2007. The Cubs' spring record is now 4-0.
There weren't a lot of really important things that happened today, as the nine-run rally that turned a 4-0 lead into the 13-0 final margin was mostly created by guys who won't be coming north with the team. Still, it was nice to see Brad Snyder crash the team's second grand slam of the spring. Mostly, what was important today was the outstanding two-inning outing for Aaron Heilman, who struck out four and threw only fifteen pitches (are you paying attention, Z?). Koyie Hill hit a two-run double; Bobby Scales drove in three and Sam Fuld went 2-for-2.
And Micah Hoffpauir drew another walk in addition to his two hits. Maybe he's really figuring out the strike zone. He'll have competition for his spot once the just-signed Corey Koskie returns from the WBC. I think the Koskie signing is a good, low-risk, low-cost move. If nothing else, Koskie goes to Iowa to get his timing down and is a major-league-ready recall if anyone gets hurt.
Two other pitchers who will play key roles this year -- Neal Cotts and Kevin Gregg -- threw scoreless innings. Four other pitchers who likely won't -- David Patton, Ken Kadokura, Jason Waddell and Esmailin Caridad -- also held the White Sox scoreless. In all, Cubs pitchers gave up six hits and two walks and struck out nine.
Tomorrow, MLB Audio returns (it'll be the Padres announcing team), and Ryan Dempster makes his Cactus League debut against some Padres guy whose name starts with "P". Maybe you've heard of him. Was the subject of a trade rumor or two over the winter.