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Diamondbacks 2, Cubs 0: Jon Lester practices his fielding

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... and clearly, it’s a work in progress.

“See this baseball? I know I can throw it to first!”
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — There isn’t much to say Cubs-wise about their 2-0 loss to the Diamondbacks Sunday afternoon, as they managed just two hits and a walk against Arizona pitching on a sunny, pleasant afternoon.

So let’s talk about Jon Lester’s fielding!

In the third inning, David Peralta led off with a comebacker. Lester bounced the ball over to first baseman Efren Navarro, it got away, and Peralta wound up on second. Lester did get through two outs in the third, then was relieved on a pitch count. He allowed one of the D-backs runs, a solo homer by Nick Ahmed. Here’s why that bouncy thing happened:

And, of course, Lester is correct. The method doesn’t matter as long as the result — an out — happens. You certainly remember this play from 2016:

And this one from 2015:

It’s not the process that’s important, it’s the result. And if Lester can get outs by bouncing the ball over to Anthony Rizzo, that’s fine with me. Today, obviously, he had a different first baseman and I don’t know if that was the difference, but I do think with enough practice Lester can make this work. His next outing should be Friday in Mesa against the Angels.

The Cubs were no-hit by Taijuan Walker, Yoshihisa Hirano and Archie Bradley until the sixth inning, when Chris Gimenez blooped a ball into short right field that fell short of right fielder Yasmany Tomas. Truth be told, in a regular-season game that might have been called an error, as most official scorers want the first hit to be a clean one. The Cubs had already had a previous baserunner, Addison Russell, reach on a booted ball by Ahmed in the second. He was erased on a double play. Gimenez, after his hit, was caught stealing, so D-backs pitchers faced the minimum, 21 batters, through seven innings. In the eighth, Navarro smacked a no-doubt-about-it double to left-center and with two outs, Gimenez walked, putting the tying run on base. Both were stranded when Ryan Court struck out.

The only other Arizona run was a solo homer by Rey Fuentes in the seventh off Michael Roth. Otherwise Cubs relievers did a pretty good job, though Kyle Ryan loaded the bases with two hits and a walk before getting out of the inning. Previously, in the fifth, Javier Baez does what Javy does best — flash some glove:

So, so good. And I give Javy all the credit in the world for his hard work on improving his defense, which wasn’t great when he first came into pro ball. He’s so good and it now seems just instinctive for him to make plays like that — they look utterly routine. We are lucky to have him.

The crowd of 13,782 seemed about half Cubs fans. It was a sellout, but not quite a record, falling a couple hundred short of the 14,002 record for the facility set last year. Naturally, that mark was set against the Cubs, March 23, 2017.

The Cubs return to Talking Stick again Monday, this time facing the Rockies. It won’t be nearly as large a crowd, on a weekday and against a team that doesn’t draw as well as the local D-backs. Kyle Hendricks will go for the Cubs Monday and Tyler Anderson pitches for the Rox. Game time is 2:10 p.m. CT and broadcast coverage is on cubs.com.