The thing that should give you the biggest indication that not much positive happened in the Cubs’ 13-1 loss to the Rangers Thursday afternoon is the fact that the photo of Ian Happ above is from team photo day. There wasn’t anything available from this game and the Cubs really didn’t do much.
The Cubs loaded the bases on two singles and a walk in the first inning, but Rangers starter Tyler Phillips got Nico Hoerner to fly out to end the inning.
Then Colin Rea did the same thing in the bottom of the inning, except it was two walks and a single loading the bases for the Rangers. Rea just didn’t look like he had command. Then he put a pitch in the zone to Rougned Odor and Odor smashed a grand slam.
Everyone pretty much could have gone home at that point. The Cubs managed a run in the fourth. Ian Miller doubled and went to third on a ground out. Then Ian Happ completed the all-Ian scoring play with a sacrifice fly. It is a statement on this game that even though the Cubs televised the game, and this is the only run they scored, there’s no video highlight I can show you.
I will say that Ian Miller has had a good spring so far, for whatever that’s worth. Miller was 2-for-3 in this game and is 6-for-12 with two doubles overall this spring. Small sample size, and it’s spring, the usual caveats. He’s not going to make the Opening Day roster and he just turned 28, which makes Miller more likely the next Johnny Field (remember Field last spring?) than any sort of real prospect.
The Rangers put together a two-run inning off Wyatt Short in the sixth and Craig Brooks allowed two more in the eighth. Brooks is 27 and has spent some time in Cubs camp the last couple of years, again with no real chance to make this club on the big-league level. He’s kind of the modern-day pitching version of Ty Wright, who spent six straight spring trainings with the Cubs without ever playing in the big leagues. Wright coached a couple of years in the Cubs system and in 2020 he will be the hitting coach for the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League.
Hey, I said there wasn’t much to this game, so there’s a diversion for you. Cubs minor leaguer Matt Swarmer relieved Brooks and served up a three-run homer and more to make the rout even worse, a seven-run eighth overall. Zach Hedges had to clean up the mess.
After having not seen the crawl at the bottom of the Marquee Network’s broadcast, it finally appeared for me in this afternoon’s game:
I know some of you have seen that as distracting. I can see why. To be less distracting, the network should probably make it a contrasting color to the scorebox — what I would do is reverse the colors, make it a black (or dark blue) background with white text.
Friday will feature a night game at Peoria against the Padres. Tyler Chatwood will start for the Cubs and former Brewer Zach Davies goes for San Diego. Game time is 7:40 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be on the Marquee Network. There’s also a radio broadcast locally in Chicago on 670 The Score.