The Cubs lost to the Athletics 5-2 in the second of their split-squad games Monday.
And really, I could end this recap right there and move on to a few notes about Tuesday’s game, but there are a few useful things for you to know.
- Alec Mills threw three no-hit innings and has looked very good this spring. The competition for the fifth-starter role is supposedly between Mills and Tyler Chatwood. Mills has thrown better. Chatwood’s probably going to get the nod, but Mills will be around, I think, to back him up and to possibly take over the role if needed.
- The Cubs had plenty of chances to score early. They left two on in the second, the bases loaded in the third, and two on again in the fourth. But no runs came across the plate for our favorite team.
- Meanwhile, just as Cubs pitchers at Sloan Park had done Monday afternoon, the night-game hurlers threw five no-hit innings. In the sixth, James Norwood allowed a leadoff triple followed by a sacrifice fly, breaking up the no-no and the shutout. (In case you are wondering, yes, there have been no-hitters in spring training, most recently in 2017. Here’s a list.) A hit-by-pitch followed, and a force play and a throwing error gave the A’s their second run. I suspect Norwood, who does have options remaining, will start the year at Triple-A Iowa.
- Justin Steele allowed three more runs in the eighth to put the game out of reach. He was replaced by minor leaguer Bryan Brickhouse, who is no relation to the Hall of Fame Cubs TV announcer.
- Cubs minor leaguers plated two runs in the ninth to break up the A’s shutout.
- If you watched this game, you saw a very, very good reason we should again be thankful we have the best local TV announcing team in baseball. Glen Kuiper, the A’s PBP man, is competent enough (and is the younger brother of Giants announcer and former player Duane Kuiper), but Dallas Braden, the former pitcher who’s his partner, is awful. Plus, the two made a point of saying they’d driven by Sloan Park on their way to work at Hohokam Stadium and then added, “No idea who the Cubs were playing.” Seriously? You’re going to tell that anecdote and not take five seconds to look it up? They seemed poorly prepared and their in-game interviews were dull. Thank heavens for Len and JD.
You’ll notice no Cubs video highlights in this recap. That’s because there really weren’t any. So why not have another look at Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant mic’d up during the afternoon game? [VIDEO]
The Cubs will head to Scottsdale Tuesday afternoon to face the Rockies at Salt River Fields. Jose Quintana will make his first spring start and his opponent will be Ashton Goudeau. Game time is 2:10 p.m. CT and TV coverage returns to the Marquee Network. No radio or webcast Tuesday for either team.