MESA, Arizona — Monday’s Cubs game ran three hours, 45 minutes. Even with a lot of scoring (16-12) and a lot of minor leaguers, that’s a long, long game.
For my first spring game attended in 2020, I thought perhaps it would be nice to have a game not that long.
I got my wish — by two minutes. The Cubs lost to the Rockies 12-6 Tuesday afternoon on a windy afternoon at Sloan Park in three hours, 43 minutes.
Jon Lester departed before the second inning ended after having allowed five runs (three earned). Maybe he gets out of the first inning unscored-on if Robel Garcia holds on to a fairly routine throw from third baseman Daniel Descalso. But he didn’t. Here’s what Jon said about his outing:
Lester after first spring outing pic.twitter.com/e4jt2oiBbM— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) February 25, 2020
Noncommittal, as you might expect. Lester was relieved by minor leaguer Scott Effross, who was once a teammate of Kyle Schwarber at Indiana, and that produced this:
As @GDubCub pointed out, the first reliever ever called into a game by Cubs manager David Ross was... Effross.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) February 25, 2020
So there’s that.
The Cubs couldn’t do much off Rockies starter Wes Parsons, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. With two out and two on in the bottom of the first, David Bote hit a ball that should have landed on the left-field berm for a three-run homer. Instead, the wind blowing in kept it in the park and it was caught in center field. The boxscore says the wind was blowing “out to RF at 7 miles per hour.” Don’t believe everything you read. The wind was blowing IN strongly from center field, at quite a bit more than seven miles per hour.
You can hear the wind on this video of Lester’s pregame bullpen session that I ran on Facebook Live.
Posted by Bleed Cubbie Blue on Tuesday, February 25, 2020
So, by the time “the Woods,” Duane Underwood Jr. and James Norwood, got finished with their innings of work, the Cubs trailed 10-0. Neither one of these men has distinguished himself so far in spring games. Norwood has options remaining. Underwood doesn’t. I suspect neither will be in the Opening Day bullpen.
The Cubs put one run across in the fourth on a sac fly by Jason Kipnis — another ball that might have been out of the park on a less-windy day. FWIW, Kipnis looks solid in the field and at the bat and I am almost certain he will be the Opening Day second baseman. Anyway, Hernan Perez followed with a single and Garcia walked to load the bases, and then Ian Happ cleared them [VIDEO].
That made it 10-4, and the rest of the game was pretty much what you might see at Myrtle Beach or Tennessee in a game later this summer. The Rox plated single runs in the sixth and eighth and the Cubs did the same in the eighth and ninth and that was that.
Here’s the difference between how it felt in the sun vs. the shade at Sloan Park:
The shady and sunny areas full of fans moved with the sun as the afternoon got longer. It was in the upper 60s, nice in the sun, but it was chilly with some people in sweatshirts and long pants in the shade.
The most significant things from this game, I suppose, were Happ’s double and Lester’s not-great outing. The former is good, the latter doesn’t mean much, in my view.
The Cubs will play at home again at Sloan Park Wednesday afternoon. Kyle Hendricks will start for the Cubs and Brady Singer will go for the Royals. Game time is again 2:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will once again be on the Marquee Network.