MESA, Arizona -- This has happened to you, I know it has.
My internet service has been intermittent for three days. I spent much more time trying to wade through Cox's phone menus than I should have had to (believe it or not, they're worse than Comcast) and finally, when I got back from Mesa and the 3-2 Cubs loss to the Royals, it wasn't working at all.
Finally getting through to someone who was helpful, he determined that the modem (which I have had for more than four years, the average is about two) was fried. Rather than wait till who-knows-when for a Cox tech to come out, I went to a local Cox store and exchanged the modem.
That, obviously, takes time, and now you know why the recap of Monday's split-squad defeats is so late.
Despite the loss, plenty of good happened in Mesa. Jason Hammel walked the first man he faced, then retired four before a one-out single in the second. A nicely-turned double play ended that inning. Clayton Richard threw two scoreless frames, striking out four (including making Eric Hosmer look silly on one of them) and Hector Rondon threw one of his patented low-pitch-count 1-2-3 innings, dispatching the three hitters he faced on 10 pitches, three ground-ball outs.
So that's good. The rest of the pitching? OK, except for Andury Acevedo, who got touched up for all three Royals runs in an ugly fifth inning in which he gave up two hits (one of them a long double by Hosmer) and a walk, and had to be relieved by Michael Wagner. The rest of the pen (Carl Edwards Jr., Jean Machi and Felix Pena) gave up nothing, but they were facing Royals minor leaguers by then.
The Cubs offense did nothing against Kris Medlen and Luke Hochevar, though Hochevar hit a batter and issued a walk. In the fifth, Dan Vogelbach singled and two outs later, Addison Russell hit his second homer of the spring. But that was about it for the offense; the Cubs managed only five hits, two of them by minor leaguer Matt Clark.
Clark replaced Tommy La Stella, who left the game after the first inning, having neither batted nor taken a fielding chance:
Tommy La Stella left the game with right calf soreness. #Cubs— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 7, 2016
And for now, that's all we know. There was another Cubs injury during this game, that one to a coach:
#Cubs hitting coach John Mallee is icing his left forearm after getting hit by foul ball. Should be in cages early tomorrow— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 7, 2016
Here's hoping Mallee has no broken bones.
At Talking Stick, the Cubs lost 4-2 to the Rockies. Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward homered for the only two runs, and it was reported that Rizzo's landed on the third level of the hitters' background in center field:
Jon Gray getting rocked. Anthony Rizzo just hit one to the third row of cactuses in center field. Gray gets the hook.— Nick Groke (@nickgroke) March 7, 2016
That's about a 430-foot blast.
Since I didn't see that game and there was no TV coverage, I know as much about it as you do from reading the boxscore. Looks like Stephen Fife had a good outing and Neil Ramirez didn't, and that's not good news for Ramirez.
Attendance watch in Mesa: the crowd of 11,937 was small, likely due to three factors: 1) it's Monday, 2) it's not spring break and 3) the weather was cool (most of the day was in the 60s) and kind of cloudy. That makes the total for three home dates 42,826, or 14,275 per game. That will likely go up, as the Cubs will come close to breaking the attendance records they set last year.
Hope that sums it up well enough. Sorry for the delay, but the new modem is working swimmingly well, so no further issues.
Tuesday, Kyle Hendricks will take the mound in Mesa against the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw.