You know, this Cubs team just might be pretty good.
Yes, I know, spring training numbers don’t mean anything, and they don’t.
But the guys on this Cubs team who are supposed to hit have been hitting (with a couple of notable exceptions), and presuming they carry that over into the regular season, this is going to be a fun, contending team to watch.
Willson Contreras smashed his fourth homer of the spring and went 3-for-3 and the Cubs crushed the Diamondbacks 7-1, finishing 15-9-4 in the abbreviated Cactus League schedule.
The Cubs didn’t waste any time taking the lead in this game. Ian Happ led off the game with a walk and Contreras singled. Two outs later, Joc Pederson brought them both in [VIDEO].
Contreras made it 3-0 in the third, halfway up the left-field berm [VIDEO].
Incidentally, if you’re looking for me in that video, you won’t see me. I’m in Chicago — left Arizona on Saturday to drive back, so I could be here for Opening Day Thursday.
Contreras finished the day with three hits, as noted, and this spring hit .317/.440/.756 (13-for-41) with the four homers. He seems primed to have a big season.
Zach Davies allowed a run in the fourth but otherwise finished with a good outing. He posted a 1.08 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in five starts this spring. Davies, I think, will be a big surprise to those who diss him for not being Yu Darvish. He’s a quality MLB starting pitcher who was always tough on the Cubs when he was with the Brewers. Perhaps he can return the favor this year. Oddly, both Davies and Trevor Williams will miss facing their former teams in the first homestand. Davies will go Sunday against the Pirates as the No. 3 starter and Williams will face the Brewers Monday as the No. 4 starter.
The Cubs bullpen put together 5⅔ innings of shutout relief. Of note was Craig Kimbrel’s scoreless inning. He retired the first two hitters he faced, then gave up a walk and a double before striking out Eduardo Escobar to end the frame. Kimbrel was horrifically bad his first three appearances, but the last four: 0.00 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, four strikeouts. He seems better, looks better, looks ready to go. Let’s hope that’s the case.
Rex Brothers, who has made the Opening Day roster, faced three hitters. He struck out the first two, then gave up a double, then was replaced.
Pedro Strop threw the ninth and threw a scoreless inning, allowing one hit, with a pair of strikeouts. His velocity and his slider look good and he appears 100 percent healthy. He’ll go to the alternate site and I believe he will help this team at some point this season.
So that’s it for spring 2021, which I think actually went quite well for the Cubs. There were some roster decisions to be made, unlike other recent springs, and players defined themselves and won jobs. Of course, there will be roster moves throughout the season, but I like the team that’ll fly to Chicago Monday night and take the field Thursday.
And that’s when we will next see the Cubs, at Wrigley Field at 1:20 p.m. CT Thursday against the Pirates. Kyle Hendricks will make his second straight Opening Day start. Chad Kuhl will get the call for Pittsburgh. TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.
But stick around here. We will have tons of coverage of what to expect from the Cubs and the other 29 MLB teams during the 2021 season beginning tomorrow morning.
I’m ready. You?