Thursday was a day that I think all Cubs fans can appreciate.
The Cubs defeated the Oakland Athletics 5-3. Even though it's only February and spring training wins and losses mean little, it's always nice to win games.
What's even better is the showing of several players who are, we hope, going to be the future core of this team: Jorge Soler, Javier Baez and Junior Lake.
Soler went 1-for-3 and threw out Josh Reddick trying to take an extra base in the first inning with a rocket of a throw from right field.
Baez went 1-for 3; Lake went 2-for-3 with one RBI.
Most of this was off pitchers who will actually be on the A's 25-man roster: Brett Anderson (who was named their Opening Day starter), Bartolo Colon and Jordan Norberto (who was one of their better relievers last year).
This is all very, very good. Obviously, one spring-training game doesn't make a future, but you can see from the way these guys have played so far that they will belong at the big-league level before very long. Also, Christian Villanueva, another TheoJed acquisition, drove in a run with a sac fly. Other Cubs with RBI: Dave Sappelt and Darnell McDonald.
More good: Cubs pitchers today. Scott Feldman and Travis Wood, both vying for rotation spots, each gave up one run in two innings; for Feldman, for his first spring outing, that's decent. No one else gave up runs today. Carlos Marmol had his traditional walk -- what would a Marmol inning be without one? -- but otherwise looked good. Also, Rule 5 guy Hector Rondon threw an efficient scoreless inning. I'm most interested to see him in person. As you know, I haven't thought much of previous Rule 5 guys. Maybe Rondon is the exception.
This is all very, very good. Wins and losses don't mean that much -- I think I've said that a few times before. But the development of the future does, and we saw quite a bit of it Thursday in Mesa.
Attendance on a much nicer afternoon (70 degrees at game time) was again quite small, just 4,037. For the season so far, the Cubs have drawn 20,414 in four dates, an average of 5,104. And thankfully, this game was a lot shorter than Wednesday's shadowfest, just two hours and 50 minutes, almost an hour less than Wednesday.
I think I've reached the best compromise regarding placement of these recaps. I'm going to place them separately on the front page, so you don't have to search through a game stream for them. However, I will also associate them with the stream, so that all threads for one game can be found in one place. Hope that works for everyone.
I'm leaving Friday morning to head to Arizona for the rest of spring training. I'll post from the road the next couple of days, and will be at my first game Monday, when the Cubs face the Indians in Mesa.
Friday, the Diamondbacks will end the Cubs' "homestand" (very unusual to have four straight home games in spring training) when they send Trevor Cahill to face Jeff Samardzija, the first Cubs starter to go a second time this spring.