The Cubs defeated the Giants 9-5 Sunday afternoon at Scottsdale Stadium, but that’s the least important thing that happened during the game.
After Tyler Chatwood served up a first-inning home run to Brandon Belt — and that’s not as awful as it sounds — Madison Bumgarner allowed a double to Kyle Schwarber and a single to Addison Russell leading off the second and then hit David Bote in the helmet. Reports from the field were that it sounded pretty loud. Bote fell to the ground but eventually got up and left under his own power, which is good news. He left the game, obviously as a precaution. I’m guessing the Cubs will hold him out for a few days even if he doesn’t have to go under the concussion protocol.
#Cubs Bote was examined by Giants team doctor after being hit by pitch and will obviously be checked by Chicago staff. Bumgarner: "I am sorry for it. That's terrible, that sucks." SF catcher Rivera said he heard ball hit Bote's helmet— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) February 24, 2019
The HBP seemed to unsettle Bumgarner, as he gave up three straight hits and then left the game. Sam Wolff relieved MadBum and allowed a single before recording an out. Two bases-loaded walks plated a pair of runs and a sac fly by Addison Russell and single by Ryan Court (who replaced Bote) completed an eight-run inning for the Cubs.
Later in the broadcast Len Kasper said reports on Bote from the Cubs clubhouse were “so far, so good,” which is indeed good news. He’ll be evaluated again later, according to the broadcast, and we should know more tomorrow.
Regarding Russell, the crowd, which was apparently about 30-40 percent Cubs fans, didn’t have any noticeable reaction, positive or negative, when his name was announced.
“It’s going to happen. I’m just trying to prepare myself for when that happens,” Russell said of the boos he knows are coming. He called today’s crowd “supporting” and somehow surmised “the tough stuff is pretty much out of the way. But there’s still some room for growth. …”— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) February 24, 2019
Assuming Chatwood is done (meaning for today), he finishes with 31 pitches (17 strikes, 14 balls), a walk, hit batter, strikeout, two hits (including a two-run HR) in two innings.— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) February 24, 2019
Not great, but not horrible, obviously still a work in progress.
After the early innings, guys you won’t see during the season took over for both teams. There were more home runs allowed by Cubs pitching, with a wind blowing out to right field, but the team held on for the win, their second in a row. One of those guys you won’t see, Johnny Field, homered in the late innings. Field likely plays this year at Iowa and could be an injury replacement. He hit nine home runs in 221 at-bats for the Rays and Twins last year... but struck out 72 times and walked only seven.
Also, today I learned that Dakota Mekkes’ last name is pronounced “MEH-kess.”Mekkes struck out two Giants minor leaguers and threw strikes throughout. That’s encouraging. He might be ready to provide bullpen help later this year.
As I mentioned earlier today, I didn’t go to this game. But my friend Scott did, and he took some video of Chatwood for me. First, these two videos of him warming up in the bullpen before the game:
And, here are four videos of him throwing pitches in the first inning:
I’m certainly no pitching coach, but he does look like he’s less “open” than he was a year ago. In other words, last year he was flailing around quite a bit, his arm flying out from his body as he completed his motion, making the pitches go... wherever. He appears to be somewhat more “closed” this year, at least in these few very early videos, and even though he allowed that first-inning homer and did issue a walk and hit a batter, he was around the plate more, as Len Kasper and Ron Coomer said on the radio broadcast.
So that’s at least somewhat encouraging. I’m sure we’ll see Chatwood throw again in a few days.
Monday, the Cubs have a split squad. They’ll return to Sloan Park to face the Padres, and we’ll get our first look at one of the Cubs’ regular rotation starters. Jon Lester will start for the Cubs (and likely go two innings). No TV from Mesa Monday, audio-only via cubs.com. In Glendale, Christian Bergman will face the Dodgers. There will be a MLB.com produced TV telecast (online only) from Camelback Ranch featuring the Dodgers’ broadcast crew.