It’s still fairly early in spring training. And according to Len and JD on the TV broadcast, most Cubs players aren’t going to play games this spring as you would regular-season games — in other words, play full games, pinch hit at appropriate times, “play to win.”
Nevertheless, Tuesday’s 16-3 Cubs win over the Giants is exactly what we’d like to see from this offense during the season — and they didn’t even have Kris Bryant in this game, as he was on an excused absence back in Las Vegas at a doctor’s appointment with his wife Jessica, who’s expecting the couple’s first son next month.
The Cubs pounded out seven hits in a five-run second inning, the first six hitters in the frame all reaching base safely. Let’s have a look at some of those hits!
With runners on first and second, David Bote began the scoring with this RBI single [VIDEO].
After Nico Hoerner singled to load the bases, Ian Happ followed with this hit, making it 2-0 [VIDEO].
Anthony Rizzo’s sac fly made it 3-0, and then Javier Baez stopped the streak of singles with this two-run double [VIDEO].
All of that was off Johnny Cueto, incidentally, and Cueto now has a 12.79 ERA this spring. Yikes.
Three more Cubs runs scored in the third. The big blow was this two-run double by Happ [VIDEO].
Incidentally, bench coach Andy Green, who can be seen interviewed in part of that clip, was funny and well-spoken. He’ll be a real asset to this team.
While all this scoring was going on, Tyler Chatwood was blowing through the Giants lineup with more lights-out pitching and you did not expect to see the words “lights-out pitching” associated with Chatwood this spring, or ever. He threw 3⅔ innings, allowed three hits and no runs and struck out four. Chatwood has now thrown 9⅔ innings this spring and walked only two, with 11 strikeouts. Spring training, small sample, etc. but Chatwood looks like he’s finally figured things out. Here is some of Chatwood’s fine work. [VIDEO]
The Cubs added a pair of solo homers after all the early scoring on singles and doubles. First, Willson Contreras in the fourth [VIDEO],
Full disclosure: Clearly, the photo of Javy at the top of this recap was not taken today. It was overcast all afternoon, though they did manage to dodge a possible rain forecast. There weren’t any photos from this game available, so I chose that one from last week.
Javy and Willson both had three hits in this blowout.
About the only thing that happened in this game that wasn’t good was the outing of Duane Underwood Jr., who allowed all three Giants runs in a three-run fifth. All three hits he allowed went for extra bases, two doubles and a triple. This isn’t going to help Underwood’s case for making the bullpen. He is out of options, so the Cubs will have to make a decision regarding him soon. On the other hand, Rex Brothers threw an efficient 1-2-3 inning, and might wind up as a dark horse candidate to make the Opening Day bullpen. He’s not on the 40-man roster, so a spot would need to be cleared for him. (Maybe Underwood’s?)
Rowan Wick threw a scoreless inning, which is good because he’d been lousy in his last outing. Dan Winkler and Dakota Mekkes also posted scoreless frames for the Cubs in this game.
The Cubs completed the scoring with a five-run ninth, all of it off a Giants minor leaguer named Mac Marshall, who came in after the first two Cubs were easy outs in that inning. The big blow was a three-run homer by Donnie Dewees, and I’d show that to you except there’s no video clip available.
Lastly, I have a question. Is Hunter Pence wearing pants or shorts?
Wednesday, the Cubs return to Sloan Park for a night game against the Padres, once again, weather permitting. Game time tomorrow is 8:05 p.m. CT. Yu Darvish will start for the Cubs (and he’s on target to start Opening Day, though no announcement has been made yet). Cal Quantrill will go for the Padres. TV coverage is via Marquee Network. No radio or webcast for Wednesday’s game.