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Cubs 7, Diamondbacks 1: The Tyler Chatwood evidence

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Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — Once again, Tyler Chatwood threw in relief. Once again, he threw very, very well. Five batters faced, five batters retired, no walks.

Hey, I am not a sports psychologist, nor even a sports mental skills person. But there seems to be some issue with Chatwood, the starter, where... I don’t know, maybe he just overthinks what he has to do on the mound, as opposed to when he enters the game in the middle, when he just uses his good stuff — again, hitting the mid 90s with his fastball — and can get outs.

Numbers, just so you have them:

Chatwood the starter: two games, 3⅓ innings, four hits, four walks, one hit batter, two strikeouts, six runs (four earned), one HR, 10.80 ERA
Chatwood the reliever: three games, 7⅔ innings, six hits, no walks, five strikeouts, no runs, 0.00 ERA

Granted, the spring training outings are very, very small sample sizes. But the difference between Chatwood the starter and Chatwood the reliever this spring have been like two different pitchers. I like the reliever much, much better. As of right now, with some potential injuries limiting some relievers who could be on the Opening Day roster, Chatwood’s probably going to be in the Opening Day bullpen. And you know what? I think he might just do pretty well.

In other news from Saturday’s game, the Cubs beat the Diamondbacks 7-1 in front of the largest crowd ever at the D-backs spring home of Salt River Fields, 14,035. About two-thirds of those were Cubs fans on what was probably the nicest day so far this spring, 77 degrees and unlimited sunshine.

Kyle Hendricks wasn’t too sharp; he issued a pair of walks and allowed five hits, several on hard contact. The D-backs scored a run in the first and might have had more, but Hendricks induced a double-play ball to end the inning.

The Cubs broke through with three runs in the fourth, two of them on this Anthony Rizzo double ripped down the right-field line:

In the fifth, David Bote stepped to the plate with one out [VIDEO].

Bote’s opposite-field smash, his second of thee spring, made it 4-1 and then the Cubs teed off on Rubby De La Rosa and a couple of D-backs minor leaguers for three more in the sixth. Ian Happ and Bote had RBI singles.

Mike Montgomery made his second appearance of the spring, and allowed a single and a walk to the first two batters he faced, but then retired five straight before a two-out double in the seventh. One of the outs was on a nice catch of a sharp line drive hit by former Cub Matt Szczur by Javier Baez, and I wish I could show you another play Baez made, but there’s no video available. In the fifth, Ketel Marte hit a line drive that glanced off Kris Bryant’s glove, but Baez caught it before it hit the ground for a rare 5-6 putout.

After that it was all minor leaguers, except for Allen Webster, who threw a scoreless eighth. Webster hit 96-97 on the SRF video board, and he also has a chance to make the Opening Day bullpen.

Sunday, the Cubs return to Sloan Park to face the Rockies. Jose Quintana will start for the Cubs and Chad Bettis goes for the Rockies. Game time is 3:05 p.m. CT and there will be TV coverage via NBC Sports Chicago as well as an audio webcast on cubs.com.