SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — Let’s hope Jon Lester got all this out of his system in the (relatively) thin Arizona air.
Lester allowed nine hits and six runs and had to be removed after the fourth inning in the Cubs’ 11-6 loss to the Rockies Saturday night. It was certainly not the best way to have a final tuneup before the season begins; most likely, Joe Maddon and the coaching staff would have liked to see Lester go six innings in this contest.
Lester is right; the long fly ball just missed by Albert Almora Jr. would have changed the outcome of the Rockies’ three-run first inning. Lester did strike out the side, eventually, in that inning.
Javier Baez provided most of the Cubs’ offense early on. He singled in a run in the top of the first, giving the Cubs a 1-0 lead, and with Anthony Rizzo on first base with one out in the third, crushed this long two-run homer [VIDEO].
That was Javy’s second of the spring and his bat has heated up lately, good timing for the start of the season.
Kyle Ryan, who likely won’t make the Opening Day roster but might be a strong candidate for the Iowa Shuttle, threw a 1-2-3 fifth. Alec Mills, who was optioned to Iowa Saturday, threw a scoreless sixth.
Then Steve Cishek came into the game and ... well, I won’t describe the carnage in detail, but he faced six batters and they all reached base, a walk and five hits. He managed to record an out by picking Trevor Story off base. Hopefully, that’s just a “get it out of your system” type of spring outing.
The game was finished by minor leaguers, and one of them, Christian Donahue, smashed a three-run homer in the eighth inning to make the score look more respectable.
It seems every time the Cubs go to Salt River Fields they set an attendance record of some sort. A week ago, when they faced the Diamondbacks there, the all-time attendance for the facility was set (14,035). Saturday night, the crowd of 14,022 was the largest ever to see a Rockies game at SRF.
The season opener gets ever closer, but the Cubs still have three remaining practice games to play. They’ll travel to Peoria Stadium Sunday afternoon to face the Padres. Mike Montgomery will start for the Cubs against San Diego’s Logan Allen. A note: Game time is 2:10 p.m. CT, an hour earlier than the last couple of weeks for an afternoon game. There will be TV coverage Sunday afternoon via WGN-TV and radio on 670 The Score.