It’s a truism that the results of spring training games don’t matter, but there’s a legitimate reason for that truism. They don’t because the games aren’t managed or played like regular-season games. They’re used for getting players prepared for the season. The preparation matters; the game results don’t.
This was never more true than for the Cubs’ 15-7 loss to the Angels Monday afternoon.
Why is that?
Because of the 15 runs allowed to the Angels, 12 of them were given up by pitchers who have exactly zero chance of making the Cubs’ Opening Day roster: Keegan Thompson, Juan Gamez and Robert Stock. Of those three, only Stock might have a chance of pitching in the big leagues this year.
Ian Happ led off the game with a home run, so let’s look at that! [VIDEO]
It was all downhill from there. A wild pitch by Thompson and an RBI single by Anthony Rendon gave the Angels a 2-1 lead after one, and then Joe Maddon’s squad put up a 10-spot against Thompson, Gamez and Stock in the second inning. That half-inning took 31 minutes to complete. Here’s the sequence of batters in that inning producing the 10 runs: walk, single, sacrifice bunt, fielder’s choice (batter reached), double, walk, double, walk, hit batter, single, single, single, walk, RBI groundout.
The only at-bat that wasn’t involved somehow in the Angels scoring was the final out of the inning, a groundout by Rendon.
And none of that matters!
Here’s an RBI triple by Willson Contreras [VIDEO] that got by our old buddy Dexter Fowler in right field.
Patrick Wisdom doesn’t get a lot of coverage here, largely because he’s not going to make the Opening Day roster. But Wisdom hit a solo homer leading off the eighth, and that’s worth a look [VIDEO].
Miguel Amaya finished up the Cubs’ three-homer afternoon with a solo shot leading off the ninth.
The only other thing that was really important in this game was yet another scoreless inning from Rex Brothers. He struck out two, including top Angels prospect Jared Walsh. Brothers appears to be very close to making the Opening Day roster and giving David Ross another lefthanded option out of the bullpen.
Ryan Tepera also threw a scoreless inning in relief, so that’s good. Jason Adam, Jake Jewell and James Norwood were touched up for one run each in their single innings of work. The run off Norwood was unearned due to an error on Ildemaro Vargas.
And now you know as much about this game as you need to.
Lastly, this date should have been Kyle Hendricks’ turn in the rotation. There’s no official word anywhere that I can find at this time, but I assume Kyle got his work in at the Sloan Park complex. Also:
BTW, some of you have asked. David Ross hasn't named #Cubs Opening Day starter yet (Kyle Hendricks). But when he does name an Opening Day starter (Kyle Hendricks), I'll be sure to let you fine folks know about the Opening Day starter (Kyle Hendricks).— Russell Dorsey (@Russ_Dorsey1) March 21, 2021
The Cubs return to Sloan Park Tuesday afternoon to face the White Sox. Jake Arrieta will start for the Cubs and Dallas Keuchel gets the call for the Sox. Game time is 3:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network. There will also be a radio broadcast on 670 The Score.