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Cubs 2, Padres 2: This and that

A few miscellaneous notes about a miscellaneous game.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs tied the Padres 2-2 at Peoria Stadium Saturday afternoon, their third tie game of the 2022 spring season.

The result, as usual, means little or nothing.

So here are a few notes about things that might be meaningful for the Chicago Cubs going forward, as well as a couple of highlights.

Michael Hermosillo began the scoring in this game with the “Little League home run,” a double into the gap that got by the Padres outfielders:

Hermosillo doubled again later in the game. He’s making a really good case for the Opening Day roster. Here’s what manager David Ross said about Hermosillo before the game:

The Cubs got an actual over-the-wall home run from Yan Gomes in the fourth:

Pitching-wise, the Cubs got two good innings from Drew Smyly in his first spring outing. He’ll be in the fifth starter mix — that is, if the Cubs even need a fifth starter until April 16, given their off day after the opening series against the Brewers. Guys like Smyly and Justin Steele could be used in long relief early on before one of them would be needed for that April 16 start against the Rockies. Don’t know if the Cubs will go this way with the pitching staff, but they could.

Rowan Wick got touched up for an unearned run and Michael Rucker served up a long home run to Luke Voit.

After that, Scott Effross threw an inning that showed the value of major league defense. It was only minor leaguers behind him. Effross retired the first two hitters in the sixth on a fly ball and ground out. The third hitter, Voit, singled on a ball that could have been played by a major league shortstop. Then Effross had to face two more hitters. He issued a walk and threw a wild pitch before getting out of the inning by striking out Nomar Mazara. This sort of thing wouldn’t happen in a regular season game, and the Cubs have upgraded their infield defense. I like Effross and he’s got a real good chance to make the Opening Day roster.

Cayne Ueckert allowed a leadoff single in the seventh, then struck out the side, touching 97 miles per hour. He’s a really intriguing arm and has a chance to pitch in the major leagues this year. The Cubs could use guys who can throw that hard; it’s something that’s been missing from the Cubs bullpen in recent years. Here’s Ueckert in action:

The Cubs return to Sloan Park Sunday to face the Royals. Kyle Hendricks is scheduled to start, and should become the first Cubs starter to throw in the fourth inning this spring. Jonathan Heasley is the probable starter for the Royals. Game time is 3:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network. Sunday’s game will also be on 670 The Score.