SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- About three regular players were in the afternoon game for the Cubs against the White Sox in Mesa, and that lineup put together a 17-hit, nine-run attack. Those were spring highs so far.
The "better" hitting lineup headed to Glendale Saturday night and faced the Dodgers and really couldn't hit much at all. The starters in this game didn't hit much: apart from Willson Contreras, who went 3-for-3 and scored the Cubs' first tally of the game, our favorite team had just six other hits, just two by starters: a single by Juan Perez and a double by Ben Zobrist.
One of those hits by a sub Cub, though, was a ninth-inning two-run homer by Jesus Guzman, who arrived late to camp due to visa issues, and that gave the Cubs a 5-4 lead. Guzman's homer, off Dustin Richardson, was a bomb -- it landed near the back of the left-field berm.
Unfortunately, Edgar Olmos and Frank Batista couldn't throw strikes nor hold the lead in the bottom of the ninth and the Dodgers wound up with a 6-5 win over the Cubs on a bases-loaded walk.After the starters left, it was a sloppy mess of game in which the last two innings took over an hour to complete.
Trevor Cahill didn't pitch too badly, as he allowed just two hits and a walk in three innings. Unfortunately, he got wild at the worst possible time, with runners on second and third in the second inning. Two wild pitches plated both runs.
Adam Warren followed Cahill and was better than he was in his first spring outing last week. He also threw three innings and allowed two hits. One of those hits was a home run to Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes.
As noted above, there really wasn't much to talk about otherwise that was positive for the Cubs. They went down pretty meekly most of the way until the starters departed, although they kept the strikeouts down, just four of them, and Kris Bryant, who led the National League in K's last year, didn't strike out at all. So that's good, I suppose.
The Cubs scored a pair of runs off Jamey Wright in the eighth on a bases-loaded walk and a sac fly, tying the game. Why Wright, who didn't pitch at all last year, is even in a spring camp this year, is beyond me. After that, the Dodgers took the lead back off ex-Dodger Stephen Fife in the eighth on an unearned run, but all that did was set up Guzman's homer, which for a time looked like it might win the game... if only Olmos and Batista could have done their part.
I didn't go to this game, so I watched it via MLB.tv, as, likely, did many of you.
I have to say, Charley Steiner, who's been doing most of the Dodger games that Vin Scully doesn't for the last 10 years, is awful. I don't particularly care for his style or cadence, and he kept getting Cub-related things wrong. He consistently called Albert Almora "Alberto" for the entire game -- what, no producer talking in his ear correcting him? He said that Jason Heyward would be playing center field for the Cubs -- no mention of Dexter Fowler at all. And in talking about Micah Johnson, who the Dodgers picked up from the White Sox in the three-way trade that included the Reds that brought Todd Frazier to Chicago, he called the college where Johnson played "The University of Indiana." As Kyle Schwarber -- who was a teammate of Micah Johnson for two years in college -- could tell you, it's "Indiana University." I'm pretty sure we've got some IU grads here who could say the same thing.
Beyond that, Steiner spent a fair amount of time complaining about the cool evening. Hey, Charley: It's a desert. It gets cool at night, even when it's in the 70s or 80s during the day.
The Dodgers have hired Joe Davis, who's 27 and has done baseball for Fox Sports for the last couple of years, to do some road games this year. I suspect if he's well-received by the Dodger fanbase (that is, the 40 percent of the L.A. market that can see and hear him), he might wind up being Vin Scully's successor and do all the Dodger games.
Rick Monday, the former Cub who's in the booth with Steiner, is pretty good. But overall, I wasn't impressed with the Dodger broadcast.
Sunday, the Cubs will return to their former spring home in Mesa, HoHoKam Park, to face the Athletics. Kyle Hendricks will go for the Cubs, and Jesse Hahn for the A's. The game preview will post at 1 p.m. CT (remember the time change today -- game time is 3:05 p.m. CT).