Josh Vitters Leads Cubs Past White Sox Again

 vitterspic.jpgIt’s fitting that my real first blog entry would come on Josh Vitters since the Cubs 2008 1st round draft pick led the excitement around Peoria and O’Brien Field last season. Well each of the last two days I found myself turning into the Cubs/White Sox games from Las Vegas on Comcast Chicago. Both teams sent split squads and all week all I had seen about the Cubs was who wasn’t going to Vegas (Piniella, Zambrano, Ramirez, Lee, Soriano, etc) and nothing about who was going. But given the 21 former Chiefs on the Cubs spring roster I figured the odds were good that some would be playing. Even I was amazed at the amount of former Chiefs who got into the two games and the impact they had.
     Let’s start with Friday which had Len Kasper, a fellow Marquette alum who has always been gracious with his time to me, working solo. Bob Brenly, a good friend to the Chiefs last season with his son Michael as our catcher, was back in AZ recovering from knee surgery. The Cubs were down 4-3 heading into the 7th after former Chiefs pitcher Jay Jackson allowed three runs in the 6th. With 2009 Cubs first rounder and former Chief Brett Jackson pinch-running at first, and Micah Hoffpauir on second, Vitters stepped to the plate and ripped a triple to the right-center wall scoring two and putting the Cubs up 5-4. Vitters scored moments later and the Cubs finished off the Sox for a 6-4 win. Video of Vitters triple.
     Overall 12 former Chiefs played in the first Vegas game: Sam Fuld started, made two great running catches and was 0-5 at the plate; DJ LeMahieu was 1-1, as was Kyler Burke who also added an outfield assist; Vitters was 1-2 with a triple, run and 2 rbi; Jackson was 0-1 with a run and outfield assist; Matt Camp was 0-1 as were Ryan Flaherty and Wellington Castillo. On the mound, Jay Jackson allowed three runs on three hits and a walk in 2/3 of an inning while Mitch Atkins gave up a hit and struck out one in 1/3 of an inning. Hung-Wen Chen gave up a hit in a shutout inning and Blake Parker walked two and struck out one in the ninth. Atkins picked up the win while Parker nailed down the save.
    Saturday’s game was also on Comcast but featured the White Sox broadcast team of Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone. While Stone definitely knows his stuff, he was not kind to some of the former Chiefs playing so I’ll ignore him for the time being, and you either love or hate the Hawkeroo, who’s mid-game interview with Ozzie Guillen was unwatchable. Ten former Chiefs played in this afternoon contest and at one point seven of the nine hitters in the lineup were former Peoria stars.
    Again the Sox led late, taking a 6-4 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning.  But the Chiefs, er I mean Cubs, batted around in the eighth and scored four times to take the lead for good. With one out in the inning, Jackson drew a walk and scored easily on a double by Hoffpauir. Brad Snyder singled to put runners on the corners and Flaherty tied the game with a single to right. After a pitching change, Vitters came to the plate with runners on the corners and grounded to shortstop. After Flaherty was forced at second, Vitters beat the relay throw to first allowing Snyder to score for a 7-6 Cubs lead. Castillo followed with a double and Camp walked. Vitters scored to make it 8-6 as LeMahieu reached on a White Sox error. Former Chiefs hurler Justin Berg allowed an unearned run but earned the save in the 9th as Vitters recorded the final out.
     Former Chiefs on Saturday: Fuld 0-2, run, outfield assist (Threw out Andruw Jones at plate to end 4th inning); LeMahieu 1-3; Burke 0-2, rbi; Jackson 0-1, bb, r; Vitters 0-2, r, game-winning rbi; Flaherty 1-2, rbi; Robinson Chirinos 2-2, rbi, 2b, bb; Castillo 1-1, 2b; Camp 0-1, bb, e; Berg 1ip, 0h, 1bb, 1r, 0er, 1k, Save.

1 Comment

Definitely.a0 I can’t help but think that LaHair could hit over .230 with at least 20 homers if given the opnoituprty to start.a0 I don’t know what his salary is, but I assume it’s somewhere near the Major League minimum.So, why not make a fun at Fielder, and if you miss out give the job to LaHair.a0 30 homeruns are nice (and LaHair very well may be able to hit 30, though I think 20 would be a more reasonable expectation), but the .229 batting average Pena has with it is awful.a0 If we set the expectations for LaHair’s rookie season at better-than-Pena-numbers I do not think we’d be disappointed.Let’s pick up a vet somewhere (3B, 1B, or corner outfield) and otherwise give the kids a chance.

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