MESA, Arizona — There was no television or other video available for the Cubs’ 8-1 loss to the Diamondbacks at Sloan Park Sunday afternoon and for that, you should be grateful.
The game was long — four innings took almost two hours! — and the Cubs had just three hits: A first-inning single by Willson Contreras, a second-inning infield hit by Daniel Descalso (yes, I swear this happened, I saw it personally) and an eighth-inning double by Kyle Schwarber.
Now, you might be asking what Kyle Schwarber was still doing in a split-squad spring training game in the bottom of the eighth inning. I asked that question of myself. Of course, I couldn’t give myself an answer, but that was it for the Cubs offense. There were a few walks sprinkled in among the hits, and they did manage to score a run in the second inning. That came on a bases-loaded walk to Schwarber.
Like I said, you should be happy you didn’t have to see that mess. Jose Quintana was pretty awful in his two innings of work. The results — three hits, a run, two strikeouts — weren’t awful, but he was running long counts on almost everyone and if he hadn’t retired Josh Rojas to end the second inning, he was going to be taken out, as minor leaguer Juan Gamez had been warming up.
Craig Kimbrel wasn’t all that great either. He served up a long double and Jake Lamb homered off him. He did strike out a pair before he had to be removed, having reached his designated pitch count for the day. His velocity was sitting around 94-96:
Lamb yanks 94 mph pitch from Kimbrel well over RF fence. had struck out Peralta on 96 mph pitch in previous AB.— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) March 8, 2020
Not bad for the first couple of outings of the spring. I think Kimbrel will be fine.
The best news from this day was a 1-2-3 inning from Dillon Maples in which he struck out the side and snapped off some outstanding sliders. If he could only do that on a consistent basis he’d be a real asset to the Cubs bullpen. I keep hoping.
Cubs pitchers did combine for 12 strikeouts in the Mesa game, for whatever that’s worth.
Attendance watch: The berm was very, very crowded Sunday and total attendance was 15,800. That makes the Sloan Park season total for nine dates 113,584, or 12,620 per date.
Now, about the Las Vegas game, an 11-9 loss to the Reds: I can’t really say much about this game as the only information I have is from this boxscore. Those of you who watched it, feel free to discuss what happened. I can show you a few highlights!
So those were fun. Not so fun were the pitching outings of Colin Rea, Trevor Megill, Justin Steele and Jake Stinnett, who combined for all 11 of the Reds runs. Rea couldn’t finish the first inning.
Like a lot of games in Vegas, this shouldn’t really be an indication of anything. Vegas is at 2,000 feet elevation and the ball travels pretty well in their new ballpark. The teams combined for 26 hits, and Cubs pitchers allowed 10 walks. The latter isn’t good, but then, there probably isn’t a single pitcher who wore the blue jersey of the Cubs today who’s going to be on the Opening Day roster.
Anthony Rizzo had two doubles in the Vegas game and Ian Miller, who has been very impressive this spring, also had two hits.
The Cubs have Monday off, one of two off days this spring. They will resume the Cactus League schedule Tuesday afternoon at Scottsdale Stadium against the Giants. Tyler Chatwood will go for the Cubs. The Giants do not yet have a starter listed for Tuesday. Game time Tuesday is 3:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage is again on the Marquee Network. There will be an audio webcast on MLB.com with the Giants announcers.