Baseball Toaster Cub Town
Picking Out The Positives
2007-03-02 17:40
by Phil Bencomo

Angels @ Cubs, March 2
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Los Angeles 0 0 0 3 5 1 0 0 0 9 13 0
Chicago 0 1 2 0 1 0 0 2 0 6 10 1
WP: Nick Green (1-0)
LP: Clay Rapada (0-1)
SV: Ryan Aldridge (1)

In an otherwise unspectacular game (one that was not broadcasted; I'm just reading boxscores here), Matt Murton drove in two-thirds of the Cubs' runs, and his first spring homer capped a perfect day at the plate. Carlos Zambrano was sharp in his two innings, with four strikeouts and, more importantly, no walks.

Back to Murton: his home run against Angel starter Joe Saunders serves as further confirmation of his prowess against lefties. And Murton, unlike the LA batters who hit homers off marginal prospect Clay Rapada, can say that his home run came against a legitimate major leaguer – Saunders is no slouch, with a combined 17 wins between Triple-A and the majors last season. Eric Patterson, who homered against Greg Jones, of career 5.31 ERA, cannot make such a claim either.

But a strong Murton performance also makes one wonder about Cliff Floyd's role on this club. A lefty-righty platoon is tempting, given Floyd's excellent numbers against right-handers (career .281/.368/.496; .290/.382/.533 in '05, his last full season). But Murton has held his own against right-handers (.295/.356/.426 in '06), and it is Murton, not Floyd, who has a future with the club beyond 2007. A platoon would limit more than Murton's at-bats; it would stunt his development as well. If Murton is part of the Cubs' future plans, a platoon makes little sense.

But this discussion may be moot if Floyd cannot stay healthy. Will the Cubs get the Floyd of '05 or '06?

* * * * *

Cesar Izturis had a good game at the plate, as did Derrek Lee. Both had two hits. Prospect Sean Gallagher, a very exciting right-hander, threw two uneventful innings, something neither Rapada (5 ER) nor Neil Cotts (3 ER) could not manage.

Alfonso Soriano went hitless again, but I'll hold off comment on the Cubs' biggest acquisition until after Sunday's telecast, when I've actually had a chance to get a good look at him, both in the field and at the plate.

2007-03-02 19:42:28
1.   Scott de B
The game was available on GameDay via the Angels feed. I caught the last half. Gallagher definitely seemed to be pitching well. Guzman, not so much, he struggled with most of the batters he faced, getting lots of balls and foul strikes, but few strikes swinging or looking. Ohman also pitched well in the 9th.

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