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Pitching Is King, Part Deux: Cubs 8, Mariners 1

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And this time, I mean it: Cubs pitchers were outstanding in today's 8-1 win over the Mariners.

Rich Harden threw two shutout innings, Ryan Dempster followed with three, and Aaron Heilman struck out five in his three innings, and allowed the Mariners' only run. Jose Ascanio finished up; all told, Cubs pitchers struck out nine and walked none, an outstanding performance.

Meanwhile, a lineup that included only three regulars or semi-regulars (Reed Johnson, Mike Fontenot and Ryan Theriot) produced eight runs on 16 hits, with four of those by Doug "Dirty" Deeds, who probably won't have more than a cup o' coffee in the major leagues. Koyie Hill, making a good case for being the backup catcher, also had two hits and raised his meaningless spring training average to .389. (This probably means that he makes the team and hits about .130 during April.) Three Seattle pitchers -- Mark Lowe, Miguel Batista and ten-day Cub Garrett Olson -- gave up all the runs.

Micah Hoffpauir had no hits and two strikeouts today. I blame that on late posting of Erin Andrews photos in the game thread.

The Cubs have their first off day of the spring tomorrow, after playing 15 games in 14 days. Thursday, they will be facing their teammate Kosuke Fukudome and the rest of the Japanese WBC team at Mesa -- and once again, we will not have any audio or video, Gameday will have to suffice. Japan has not announced a starting pitcher; the Cubs will go with Carlos Zambrano.

In the meantime, there is a WBC game going on right now: Netherlands vs. the Dominican Republic, a rematch in which the winner goes to round 2 and the loser goes home. I find myself rooting for the Netherlands, both because they are the underdog and because if the DR is eliminated, Carlos Marmol comes back to Cubs camp, unscathed (he's thrown two good innings, about what he'd have had if he had stayed in camp).

Later this evening, at 9 pm CDT, Cuba faces Australia. Both games are on the MLB Network.

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