SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — I opted not to make the long drive to Goodyear during the rush hour Wednesday, and as a result missed several Cubs pounding home runs in an 11-6 crushing of the Indians.
If you missed the game — or even if you watched it on WGN-TV or MLB Network — you’ll want to see the power displays again.
Efren Navarro, who’ll likely play first base at Iowa this year, with a man on in the second inning:
An early appetizer for Efren Navarro. pic.twitter.com/U17zqcDeRD— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) March 8, 2018
Albert Almora Jr., with two runners on base in the fourth, launched this one somewhere in the general direction of the Grand Canyon:
Estimated distance: space. #Crushed pic.twitter.com/FvJ0uqirO0— MLB (@MLB) March 8, 2018
Obviously showing no ill effects from his bloody nose Tuesday, AA smacked his second of the season.
Then, it was Kyle Schwarber’s turn to get in on the home-run fun, a solo shot in the sixth:
It’s starting to feel a lot like baseball season. pic.twitter.com/qvNq8FRNqD— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) March 8, 2018
If you were concerned about Schwarber losing his power with his 30-pound weight loss over the winter, I’d say that one should allay some of your concerns. That was hit high and deep to the opposite field, a really good sign.
The Indians took part in the power game too; Yonder Alonso hit a solo shot off Jose Quintana, whose outing had to be considered somewhat shaky (one walk, no strikeouts). Quintana was relieved by David Garner with one out in the third after he couldn’t handle a comebacker from Jose Ramirez. Q joked about it after the game:
#Cubs Quintana was happy to avoid getting hurt on Ramirez's grounder in 3rd. "Extra PFP tomorrow. That's what Joe said." (PFP = pitchers fielding practice)— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 8, 2018
Alonso was the first hitter to face Garner, and he hit a sharp line drive right back to Garner, who snagged it nicely [VIDEO].
However, Garner apparently thought it was the third out and he began jogging toward the Cubs dugout. sheepishly realizing it was only the second out, he looked around to see if he could double off one of the two runners. Most likely, he couldn’t have done that anyway, which is too bad, because Garner then hit Lonnie Chisenhall to load the bases.
The next hitter, Yan Gomes, smashed a grand slam, which at the time tied the game.
Something of concern: Shae Simmons, a late NRI to camp, left the game after walking the only two hitters he faced beginning the fourth inning. This does not sound good:
#Cubs Simmons left the game with tightness in his right shoulder. He'll be re-evaluated on Thursday— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 8, 2018
Here’s hoping Simmons is OK. He had a chance to be one of the Iowa shuttle guys in the bullpen this year.
Dillon Maples, who is likely also going to be one of those Iowa shuttle guys this year, threw the sixth inning and struck out all three hitters he faced, all swinging. That’s a good sign, even though all of them were Tribe minor leaguers.
Jen-Ho Tseng was touched for a run in the seventh, a solo homer by Rob Refsnyder.
That’s pretty much it for the Cubs who will be big-league contributors or potential replacements this year in this one. I noticed the Indians still had Chief Wahoo on their right sleeve, but have replaced that image on the caps, or at least the caps they’re wearing for spring games. Just a block “C” appears on the cap and batting helmet. It’s a rather dull “C.” dark red against navy blue; the Indians might have to work on that.
The Cubs have the best record in the Cactus League at 9-2 (with two ties). Only the Yankees, at 10-2, are better. This, of course, means absolutely nothing, as the games aren’t being played the same way regular-season games are, and half of them are being played by minor leaguers. For whatever it’s worth (again, not much), the last Cubs team to have a winning spring record was the 2012 version at 17-16. That year resulted in 101 losses, so the correlations are pretty poor.
Thursday afternoon, the Cubs return to Sloan Park to face the Padres. Tyler Chatwood will go for the Cubs, and Mike Montgomery will also see action. Jordan Lyles starts for San Diego. Game time is 2:05 p.m. CT and it’s back to audio-only for this one on cubs.com.
Final note for Thursday’s game: If you’re going to the game, here’s an event you might want to attend.
#Cubs Wives Garage Sale including Mystery Baseballs is Thursday in LF garage, starting 11 am MT. Proceeds will benefit Paz De Cristo in Mesa— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 7, 2018
They always have game-worn jerseys and caps, as well as game-used bats and other team-issued items, for a worthy cause.