I realized about halfway through watching/listening to today’s Cubs split-squad games that I can’t remember the Cubs playing a split squad like this where they haven’t been home for one of the games, or at least not in recent years. So for me, trying to switch back and forth between the two games to try to get the gist of both of them so I could recap them for you was a challenge!
Let’s start with the good news, a win, 8-5 over the Indians at Goodyear.
Key things from this game:
- Kyle Hendricks had another solid outing. He did serve up a home run ball to the very first batter he faced, Francisco Lindor, on a high fastball. But beyond that? Just two more baserunners, one on a single, one on a walk. More weak contact, four strikeouts, Kyle looks totally locked in for the 2020 season. That makes nine spring innings for Kyle, three hits and one run allowed, one walk and eight strikeouts.
- Key hit in the game was a two-run homer by Zack Short, which I wish I could show you but there’s no video for it. But good for Zack.
- Daniel Descalso continued to look awful both at bat and in the field. He went 0-for-3 with a strikeout and is now hitting .095 (2-for-21) with eight strikeouts. He’s been getting a lot of playing time, presumably showcasing him for scouts from other teams. I cannot imagine those scouts are giving any sort of good reports. His contract is a sunk cost. Think of it this way: Jason Kipnis will likely provide better production for $1 million. So consider it as Descalso’s salary sort of “pays” for Kipnis. I’m guessing Descalso gets released soon.
Meanwhile, the Cubs lost to the Reds 8-5 in Las Vegas, but some good things happened in that game, so let’s review!
- Alec Mills threw another nice game, 3⅔ innings allowing four hits and a run, with no walks and three strikeouts. “Millsy” has had a good spring and if he doesn’t win the fifth starter spot (and I suspect that’s going to Tyler Chatwood, at least to start the season), he will be in the bullpen as a long reliever/spot starter. Here are some Mills highlights [VIDEO].
- Nico Hoerner smashed this two-run triple in the third [VIDEO], giving the Cubs a 2-0 lead.
- Kipnis hit this RBI single [VIDEO] in the sixth.
- Bad news from the Vegas game: Rowan Wick looked awful, pounded for four hits and four runs mostly off Reds minor leaguers. Sure, spring results generally aren’t supposed to mean much, but a 22.09 ERA is pretty unsightly. Hopefully he’s not injured and this is just “working on things.”
Funny, but only because he wasn’t hurt: Ian Miller falling into the stands chasing a foul ball [VIDEO] in the first inning.
More amusement: Kris Bryant mic’d up [VIDEO].
KB was 1-for-3 in his hometown.
- More amusement: A kid plays in the swimming pool [VIDEO] at Las Vegas Ballpark.
The Cubs and Reds will meet in Las Vegas again Sunday. Colin Rea will start for the Cubs and Vladimir Gutierrez goes for the Reds. Game time is 3:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will again be on Marquee.
And, the rest of the Cubs split squad returns to Sloan Park Sunday to face the Diamondbacks. Jose Quintana will go for the Cubs in Mesa against Jon Duplantier for Arizona. Since Daylight Saving time begins tomorrow, this game will start at 3:05 p.m. CT, as will most of the rest of the spring games. There will be a radio broadcast on 620 ESPN Phoenix, also available online, with the D-backs broadcasters.