MESA, Arizona — The symbol of how meaningless these first two Cubs Spring Training games of 2022 are: There are zero photos in our photo editor for either of them. The photo of Kyle Hendricks above is from last September.
But! Baseball is back on the field, even if it was with mostly minor leaguers, only some of whom will become decent major league players for the Chicago Cubs.
The Cubs lost 4-3 to the White Sox in Mesa on a brilliantly beautiful Arizona afternoon. Or, perhaps I should more correctly say that some guys wearing Cubs uniforms lost to some guys wearing White Sox uniforms. The only player in the starting lineup Thursday at Sloan Park (besides Hendricks) who will be at Wrigley on Opening Day was catcher Yan Gomes, who caught the first two innings and then departed.
As for Hendricks, he looked like he had his changeup working pretty well against actual Sox major leaguers, albeit Sox bench players. Sox minor leaguers touched him up for a run in the second. One run was scored off each of the first four Cubs pitchers. Cory Abbott also allowed a run, a solo homer by Micker Adolfo. I would really like to see Abbott succeed, but with all the signings of various relievers the Cubs have made over the last couple of days, Abbott probably winds up in the Iowa rotation. Jordan Wicks, last year’s No. 1 Cubs draft pick, threw two innings and was impressive despite also allowing a home run. The last Sox run was off Scott Effross, who deserved a better fate. A catchable fly ball was dropped by Jacob Wetzel in right field that should have ended the inning.
The Cubs scored a pair in the third. John Hicks, who could wind up as a “break glass in case of emergency” catcher at Iowa, blooped a ball down the left field line that went for a double [VIDEO].
After this play, the inning was just... over. This is what Gameday said:
Well, that’s not right. Chase Strumpf was in the game, but four batters later and... I’m not sure what happened here. Perhaps you know, if so, let us know in the comments.
Hicks also homered in the sixth for the Cubs’ other run [VIDEO].
The Cubs nearly tied the game in the last of the seventh, the final inning of this abbreviated game. With one out, Wetzel walked and went to second on a wild pitch. Ed Howard, the Cubs’ 2020 No. 1 pick, fouled off a couple of good pitches, then struck out. Owen Caissie, who came to the Cubs as part of the Yu Darvish trade. then bounced a ball that appeared headed to right field. But Sox first baseman Luis Mieses made a nice play and flipped to pitcher Caleb Freeman to end the game.
The time of game was 1:51. This is something I do like about seven-inning games, not gonna lie. 7,714, a bit less than half capacity at Sloan Park, attended this game that was not part of the spring season ticket package, so that’s all individual game sales. The Cubs only opened about half the concession stands and a lot of the carts that sell beer and ice cream were also closed for this hastily-arranged opener.
I don’t know anything about the Cubs’ 5-2 loss to the Sox in Glendale other than what I can see in that boxscore link. The Sox had a handful of major leaguers in this game and one of them, Andrew Vaughn, homered in the first inning. The team the Cubs sent out there was mostly Double-A players, with a couple of Single-A guys as well, so the result is perhaps not surprising. If you’re interested in watching that game, it’ll be rebroadcast on MLB Network at 8 p.m. CT.
The Cubs will play their first night game of the spring Friday evening in Scottsdale against the Giants. Marcus Stroman is scheduled to make his Cubs debut and Logan Webb will go for the Giants. Again, it’ll likely be two innings from those guys. Game time Friday is 9:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be available on Marquee Sports Network.
I would expect by Saturday we’ll see some of the Cubs expected regulars playing when the Cubs host the Padres at Sloan Park.