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Mets 8, Cubs 1: Leaving Las Vegas

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The way this one was played, everyone seemed to be in a big hurry to get out of town.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- I didn't go to Las Vegas this week to see the Cubs play and thus missed Friday afternoon's 8-1 loss to the Mets.

But it seemed those who did go were in a big hurry to leave. Most of the regulars for both teams started heading out of the game by the third inning, bringing to mind this song:

I mean, we are getting to the silly season right before Opening Day, so why not a little Sheryl Crow interlude before the rest of this recap?

Especially because there isn't a whole lot to say. Steven Matz of the Mets ("Matz of the Mets" -- you know they'll do something with that one) no-hit the Cubs for five innings. Incidentally, if you're wondering about spring-training no-hitters, there have been some. The Mets-oriented site nonohitters.com has put together a fairly comprehensive list. As you can see at that link, the Cubs were last no-hit in spring training in 1952.

Meanwhile, Jason Hammel was throwing four fairly decent innings (68 pitches, 44 strikes), allowing two runs (one earned) and striking out six. He should be ready for his first regular-season start a week from today against the Diamondbacks in Phoenix.

Thus the Cubs don't have too many highlights from this game, but here's one, some more incredible defense from Albert Almora:

Almora would be one of the best defensive center fielders in the major leagues right now, I think. It's just a matter of whether he can hit. This year at Iowa is critical for his hitting development. If he blossoms as a hitter this year, the Cubs could let Dexter Fowler go to free agency and install Almora in center field in 2017. If not... well, they'll have to consider where to go next with him.

The game was so bereft of Cubs offensive highlights that the only one I have to show you is a bases-loaded walk:

Try to contain your excitement.

Cubs minor leaguer Michael Wagner got hit pretty hard by some miscellaneous Mets substitutes and gave up three runs in the eighth. Irrelevant to this year's Cubs? Sure, but it happened, so I am reporting it to you.

To show you how silly this has gotten:

Probable reason this happened: guys from the Cubs minor-league camp are generally given jerseys with no names and numbers in the 80s and 90s. Watkins wore No. 83 for these games. But the Vegas P.A. announcer probably had only the Cubs non-roster invitees list, on which you see Felix Pena listed as No. 83.

It got even more confusing when Pena actually came into the game to pitch the ninth inning. And, according to Jim Deshaies on the broadcast, the guy wearing catche Tim Federowicz' jersey in that ninth inning was Chad Noble, the Cubs' bullpen catcher (who played four years in the minor-league system after being the Cubs' 37th-round pick in 2010).

One of these years I'll figure out a way to get to Vegas to see what these games are all about (although based on some of the details of this one, maybe I shouldn't bother). Right now I'm pretty much ready for the season to start. You?

One more practice game before that happens, Sunday in Anaheim. Kyle Hendricks will face Matt Shoemaker.