SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — Friday was an absolutely perfect day in the Valley of the Sun. 73 degrees, not a cloud in the sky, light winds, low humidity.
Naturally, this was a day I had chosen previously to skip going to the game. Tempe Diablo Stadium prices are high, the park’s kind of out of the way and hard to get out of, and I wanted a break after four straight days at the ballpark.
The Cubs got their needed work in and a bases-loaded double by Ryan Court scored three runs in the ninth to give them a 6-4 win over the Angels. I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Court this spring. He’s not going to make the 25-man roster but I think he could be the infielder stashed at Iowa for emergency injury replacement.
Jose Quintana made his first spring outing and looked pretty good, despite giving up three hits and being charged with a run in one-plus inning of work. As with a lot of pitchers early in the spring, Quintana appeared to be throwing mainly fastballs, and the Angels squared them up for the hits and a run, although the run scored on a ball that Kris Bryant probably fields if he’s 100 percent. We will find out later if KB passed Joe Maddon’s “test”:
#Cubs Maddon says if Bryant passes tests today, could play Sat. Trying to make up for missed time when he was ill— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 2, 2018
Jason Heyward, being tried in the leadoff spot, went 1-for-3, a double that was well-struck to the opposite field. That’s a good sign! A groundout to second... not so much. Here’s what Joe said about Heyward leading off:
#Cubs Maddon on Heyward leading off today: "I'm going to check it out. We're going to look at a lot of different guys. I like what he's doing now. I want to make sure that we look at every possibility."— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 2, 2018
Heyward does draw walks (career OBP .344). For certain matchups, leading him off might work. Here’s Heyward’s double [VIDEO].
Steve Cishek threw an efficient scoreless inning and the Angels extended the lead to 2-0 off Cory Mazzoni. Before that, though, Javier Baez flashed some glove [VIDEO].
Baez had been robbed of a possible home run [VIDEO] earlier in that inning by Angels left fielder Justin Upton:
I believe that chain link fence that’s on top of the padded wall is a new addition to Tempe Diablo — I don’t recall it being there last time I was at that park. Upton leaped over the padded wall and caught the ball before it could get over the inner fence. Nice defense by Upton.
The Cubs scored their first run in the sixth. Anthony Rizzo doubled and Court ran for him. Two wild pitches scored Court to make it 2-1. Jen-Ho Tseng was the Cubs’ next pitcher, and he allowed a run in two innings of work to make it 3-1 before the Cubs scored a pair in the seventh to tie the game on an RBI single by Mark Zagunis and a sac fly by Jason Vosler.
Saturday, the Cubs return to Sloan Park to face the Reds. Tyler Chatwood will make his second spring start against the Reds’ Luis Castillo. Game time is 2:05 p.m. CT and the game will be on 670 The Score.