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Cubs 5, Athletics 3: Now That's More Like It

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Friday night's game in Las Vegas showed off the results of two of Theo Epstein's best trades.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

No dateline on this recap as I watched this game on television with the rest of you.

Winning has been a fairly rare event for the Cubs this spring so Friday night's 5-3 Cubs win over the Athletics was welcome even though wins before April 5, 2015 are meaningless, and also to show one way in which Theo & Co. are building this team.

Jake Arrieta, who arrived from the Orioles in mid-2013 and was a revelation last year, had a very good outing in his second spring start. Arrieta threw four solid innings, allowing just four hits and a run, and issuing no walks. The run put the Cubs behind, but they took the lead for good in the third inning when they loaded the bases with nobody out.

Anthony Rizzo then grounded a ball toward first base, on which A's first baseman Matt Olson made an error. Two runs scored and it looked like the Cubs were headed for a big inning. Unfortunately, Jorge Soler, Miguel Montero and Javier Baez all struck out to leave it at a two-run ining.

This is the cautionary tale of this team. They can put up runs in a hurry if everyone hits the way they're capable of. But we are also going to see strikeout-filled innings like that one. If runs score before all the K's... that's a good thing. Baez has struck out five times in 18 at-bats, which isn't good, but it's still a better K ratio than he had last year.

The other trade acquisition who had a good night in Vegas was Addison Russell, who has been very, very impressive this spring, both at bat and in the field. Russell doubled, walked twice and scored a pair of runs, and is now hitting .462 (6-for-13, two doubles). It's obviously a very small sample size and Russell is likely ticketed for Triple-A, since he's played all of three games at that level. But he'll be in Chicago soon and then some decisions will have to be made about who's going to play what position, especially since Russell looks so fluid in the field at shortstop.

Eric Jokisch was also impressive, throwing three shutout innings. He'll start the year in the Iowa rotation, but it's nice to know that there's someone like this available in case of any injury to a starting pitcher. Blake Parker, who's on the bubble as to making this staff or not, finished up for his first spring save.

Saturday, the Cubs and A's finish up their Vegas weekend. Kyle Hendricks pitches for the Cubs and Jesse Hahn for Oakland. Back in the Phoenix area at the Brewers' Maryvale Baseball Park, the Cubs face the Brewers with Edwin Jackson pitching against Jimmy Nelson. Note the staggered game times: the game in Vegas begins at 2:05 CT, and the game in Maryvale at 3:05 CT. There will be one set of game threads for both games, and the preview will post at 12 noon CT.