SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — Sunday afternoon’s 12-10 Cubs win over the Giants featured the following:
- A leadoff home run by Ian Happ
- Two hits from Kyle Schwarber (one off Madison Bumgarner) and two stolen bases (!)
- A bunch more hits and runs and walks... lots of walks
The game was sloppily played most of the way. The Cubs had a 3-0 lead going into the bottom of the second on Happ’s home run plus another RBI hit by Happ and a third run that scored on a throwing error by Joe Panik. Schwarber looked very good, actually, running the bases. He might surprise a few people and steal some bases this year. He also made a nice diving catch in left field.
Jen-Ho Tseng didn’t have the strike zone during his brief 1⅓ inning outing. He hit Panik, the first batter he faced, then walked Andrew McCutchen. He got out of that inning with no runs allowed, but after he issued a one-out walk in the second, Joe Maddon had seen enough. The Giants wound up taking a 5-3 lead off non-roster invitee Daniel Camarena, who did not distinguish himself in his inning of work, allowing four runs, with one charged to Tseng.
This outing reminded me of Tseng’s major-league debut last September against the Mets, last September 14, when he also hit a batter, issued a walk, gave up a bunch of hits and committed an error. The thing is, Tseng’s game is command and control, something he’s done very well at the minor-league level. Hopefully he can get back on track. He’s not likely to start any more major-league spring games this year, what with the regular rotation guys getting in games starting Monday, but we might yet see him in relief. Tseng has talent, he just needs to trust his stuff and the guys around him.
The Cubs broke through for six runs in the fourth off Dereck Rodriguez, who I learned from the Giants’ broadcast is the son of Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez. The younger Rodriguez did not show that sort of talent in his outing, as the Cubs pounded him for six hits, a walk and six runs. He got just one man out before Hensley Meulens, subbing for the absent Bruce Bochy (Bochy was away attending a memorial service for his friend, the late former Padres GM Kevin Towers), had mercy and took him out of the game.
After that, substitutes were sprinkled throughout both lineups. Recent addition Shae Simmons had a good first inning of work, though he got hit by a couple of baseballs, then gave up a couple of walks, some hits, committed a throwing error and threw a wild pitch in his second inning of work, not the way to impress your new employers.
Also, today I learned that the Giants have a minor-league infielder named Ryan Howard, who’s actually something of a prospect (their fifth-round pick in 2016).
I should note again that after three games this spring, we still have not seen a single reliever (or starter, for that matter) who will be on the 25-man Opening Day roster. Perhaps tomorrow.
This game was not fast-paced. Granted, there were 31 hits, 13 walks and 22 runs scored, but really, spring-training games should not last three hours and 58 minutes. Glad I skipped going to this one!
Instead, I watched the single-camera webcast via the Giants website. The camera operator did a pretty good job following the action, but I didn’t care for Jon Miller, not at all. He mispronounced some Cubs names (it’s not “Rade-MAKER,” and the PA announcer, who you could hear, did it right), dredged up a spring game from 2014 when the game was cancelled after the sun came out (he failed to mention the torrential downpour that made the field unplayable), and generally was completely old-school. Duane Kuiper, his partner, who I usually like, talked about Panik “standing out there for 45 minutes” (while the Cubs had their six-run fourth) and then “being pinch-hit for,” and saying Panik was probably upset about not getting his at-bat. Except that’s not how modern spring training games are played; Panik (and the rest of the Giants starters) likely knew exactly how much they’d play before the game even started.
It was interesting to listen to the cues being given by the radio producer, as the audio was from the OTA radio broadcast on KNBR 680 in San Francisco.
Monday, the Cubs return to Mesa to face the Mariners. Tyler Chatwood will be the first of the Cubs’ expected rotation starters to see game action this year; Felix Hernandez will start for Seattle. The game will be a webcast on cubs.com at 2:05 p.m. CT.