I have a confession to make.
I walked in the door at my house in Chicago just a few minutes before the first pitch of what turned out to be the Cubs’ 15-9 win over the White Sox Monday afternoon at Sloan Park.
So as you can imagine, there was a lot to do and watching this game quickly became secondary. What did happen was every now and then I’d look up when Pat Hughes would say, “That one’s got a chance, gone!” and say, “Now WHAT inning is this again?”
The big news of the afternoon was the fact that rookie Ethan Roberts was named to the Opening Day roster. This is a cool moment:
Roberts has good stuff. He was the Cubs’ fourth-round pick out of Tennessee Tech in 2018 and dominated at Double-A last year. He’s 24 and who knows? Maybe the Cubs system has produced a good reliever. Roberts has thrown 5⅓ innings in spring games with a 0.00 ERA and just six baserunners among 21 batters faced, with seven strikeouts.
Oh yes, the game. Well, Drew Smyly got cuffed around for seven hits and four runs in a little less than three innings.
But the Cubs put a six-spot on the board in the third. Big blow: Two-run homer by Willson Contreras [VIDEO].
Also, Seiya Suzuki, who was 2-for-3 and scored twice, hit an RBI single in that inning [VIDEO].
Watch that clip carefully. Great bat control on the part of Suzuki, who now has a .938 OPS in spring games.
Former Cubs prospect Eloy Jimenez homered in the fifth off David Robertson, and then the Cubs laid seven runs on a pair of Sox relievers. Big blow here: Three-run homer by Nick Madrigal [VIDEO].
I am telling you, Cubs fans are gonna love this guy. It won’t take long.
Since we’re showing home runs here, earlier in that seven-run inning there was a long fly by Ian Happ [VIDEO].
If you were keeping track it was 13-5 Cubs after that fifth inning, which I swear must have lasted about 45 minutes.
After that it was mostly minor leaguers, except for Rowan Wick, who served up back-to-back homers to Xavier Fernandez and Danny Mendick. Wick hasn’t thrown well this spring, and yes, ST games and all, but that has to be somewhat concerning even on a day when the two teams combined for 35 hits, 12 of them for extra bases. Everything starts fresh on Thursday!
Attendance watch: 8,742 paid to see this game, not bad for a rescheduled contest on a Monday afternoon. That makes the final spring total for 10 games at Sloan Park this year 99,219, or an average of 9,922 per game. Given the hastily-rearranged schedule which prevented many fans from making travel plans to Cactus League games, that’s not a bad showing. Many Arizona-based teams were drawing half that this year.
The Cubs will wrap the Cactus League season Tuesday afternoon against the Rangers at Surprise, and I would be surprised if we see many major leaguers play in that game. Alec Mills will start for the Cubs and Taylor Hearn gets the call for Texas. Game time is an hour earlier than today, 2:05 p.m. CT, and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network (they’ll be airing the Rangers feed from Bally Sports Southwest).