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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Forget Me Not: Cubs 3, A's 1

Stuck with the fourth-worst offense in the league, Oakland last year had little reason to think they were going to markedly improve this offseason. Signings of an increasingly decrepit Hideki Matsui, and trades for Josh Willingham and David DeJesus, while not awe-inspiring, made for enough of an improvement at DH, left field, and right, respectively. Of that trio, we only got to see Matsui and Willingham, but neither one was overly impressive against Carlos Silva.

Silva himself had something to prove, as he has been largely a cipher for the Cubs this spring training. Even after yesterday's favorable results, Silva ended the day with a 10.90 ERA in five appearances and 17.1 IP. The Cubs faithful had been looking to eject Silva and let him land where he may, $12M (minus $5.5M paid for by his former team, Seattle) remaining on his deal or no. Left to my own devices, I would leave him in the rotation for now and see how long he lasts before throwing him out; it's not as though the Cubs have a lot of rotational depth this year.

The A's got a single run in the first on a leadoff single by Coco Crisp and a followup double by Willingham, but Oakland failed to get a runner into scoring position thereafter, and only even had a single baserunner past that, Cliff Pennington's one-out single in the eighth. Pinch runner Andy LaRoche erased himself on a badly timed steal attempt that ended the frame; if that was an indication of the sort of baserunning the A's have going for them, they're not going to get any better offensively.

One surprise was seeing Brad Ziegler struggle as much as he did in his half of the eighth. He gave up an infield single to lead off the inning, and that seemed to unhinge him a bit. Even though the next two batters mde outs, he gave up an intentional pass to Scott Moore, and an unintentional one to Welington Castillo; he then plunked Alfonso Soriano to drive in an insurance run for the Cubs. Probably just early season jitters for the A's submariner, but it's worth keeping an eye on.

Cubs recap

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