SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- Instead of braving the spotty sprinkles that dotted the landscape at Camelback Ranch Thursday afternoon (not to mention the rush-hour traffic returning), I decided to pass on this game and watch it via MLB.tv. That "treated" me to Dodgers play-by-play man Charlie Steiner pronouncing Arismendy Alcantara's name as "Al-can-TEAR-a" and color commentary from Dodgers former general manager, now "senior advisor" Ned Colletti, whose laconic delivery was sleep-inducing. He did, though, heap praise on Jack Brickhouse and watching games growing up in Chicago as a Cubs fan. Colletti grew up in Franklin Park and went to East Leyden High School and Northern Illinois University, and worked for the Cubs for much of the 1980s, first as media relations director and then in various positions in the baseball operations department.
Listening to three hours' worth of Steiner, I have to say, is sleep-inducing. When Vin Scully is no longer on the scene, they'll have to do better than that. Of course, anyone who gets the task of following in Vin's footsteps will have a nearly impossible task.
As for the 2015 Cubs, they continued their spring long-ball barrage against the Dodgers Thursday. Chris Coghlan hit a three-run homer in the first inning and the Cubs bashed out five other extra-base hits in a 7-5 win over the host Dodgers in front of a sellout crowd. Albert Almora hit two doubles, Jorge Soler and David Ross chipped in with a double apiece and Alcantara tripled in the first inning off Brandon McCarthy, who many people here felt the Cubs should have signed this past offseason. McCarthy allowed eight Cubs hits in his four innings of work. The Coghlan homer gave the Cubs 20 in 17 games this spring, the most of any team in the major leagues.
Jake Arrieta, unfortunately, wasn't much better than McCarthy. Handed a 5-0 lead after two innings, he proceeded to give four of those runs back in the bottom of the second, three on a home run by Dodgers top prospect Joc Pederson. Arrieta, who was very good in his last start over the weekend in Las Vegas, gave up seven hits and five runs over his four innings. We don't really have a comparison point for Arrieta, because he didn't pitch at all last spring before having his breakout season. Hopefully, this is just typical "working things out" during spring play.
The Cubs bullpen did a better job. C.J. Edwards threw two scoreless innings, Pedro Strop a scoreless seventh, Hector Rondon gave up no runs in the eighth and Joseph Ortiz, who still has a shot at making the 25-man roster, finished up uneventfully. The relief corps combined for four strikeouts in five frames.
Thursday, the Cubs will play a "B" game at Sloan Park at 1 p.m. Arizona time. I'm going to head over for at least some of that game, which will be started by Eric Jokisch. In the main event Thursday, the Cubs will have their first night game of 2015 against the Diamondbacks at Talking Stick, with Edwin Jackson trying again to impress scouts. The Diamondbacks will counter with Rubby De La Rosa.