MESA, Arizona — The Cubs lost to the Guardians 12-4 on a sunny, but not too warm (60 degrees) spring afternoon at Sloan Park and honestly, I’m kind of at a loss to tell you what was most meaningful from this game.
Here, let me show you the one useful Cubs offensive highlight, a two-run double by Ian Happ in the third inning [VIDEO].
That gave the Cubs a 3-2 lead, but it only lasted an inning, because Rowan Wick couldn’t throw strikes in his spring debut. Wick allowed one hit and three walks and seemed to be laboring for much of the fifth inning. He was finall removed for minor leaguer Peyton Remy, and Remy served up a three-run homer to former Phillie Roman Quinn, Quinn’s second homer of the game. Because of an error on Miles Mastrobuoni, only two of the runs off Wick were earned.
After five it was 8-2 Cleveland and the major leaguers, such as they were, mostly departed.
The other Quinn homer was off Jameson Taillon in the second inning. Taillon had an easy 1-2-3 first, but with two out and a runner on second, he served up the Quinn long ball. Here’s what Taillon had to say about his spring debut [VIDEO].
Sounds like a decent outing for his first one as a Cub, despite the results, and he’ll get used to the clock soon enough.
Two Cubs relievers who will be on the Opening Day roster, Michael Fulmer and Brad Boxberger, both threw scoreless innings, each allowing one baserunner. Also looking good in this game, albeit against Guardians minor leaguers, was former Twin Tyler Duffey, who had some decent years in Minnesota. He struck out all three batters he faced in the eighth inning. There’s too much of a roster crunch for Duffey to have any chance of making the Opening Day roster, but he could be a “break glass in case of emergency” guy at Iowa.
As far as the pitch timer is concerned, there weren’t any violations called in this game, and the game time of 2:46 was pretty good considering there were 21 hits, 11 walks, 16 runs and three mid-inning pitching changes — the latter eating up a total of six minutes’ worth of time, and only done because Cubs pitchers reached a pitch count. Without those, we’re looking at a 2:40 game, and a game with similar stats last year probably takes 3:10 or so. The pitch timer is doing what it’s supposed to do, and I’m thrilled with it so far.
At Scottsdale, in a game I know of only from the boxscore and some videos, Caleb Kilian, Anthony Kay, Ryan Jensen, Jeremiah Estrada, Ryan Borucki and Cam Sanders held the Diamondbacks scoreless for eight innings, allowing just four hits and two walks, combining for 10 strikeouts. Unfortunately, the Cubs couldn’t put any offense together either, with the entire offense being a pair of singles, one by David Bote, the other by Andy Weber, along with two walks, one drawn by Bote, the other by Dansby Swanson.
That’s all good pitching-wise. Unfortunately, in the ninth inning with Jordan Holloway pitching, Arizona put two singles on the board, one of them by former Cub P.J. Higgins, and unfortunately, at that point Holloway threw this pitch and left with an injury [VIDEO].
Minor leaguer Samuel Reyes, who pitched mostly for Double-A Tennessee last year, then served up a three-run walkoff homer to Emmanuel Rivera and the Cubs lost to Arizona 3-0. With the lack of offense in that game, it was completed in a snappy 2:04.
Attendance watch at Mesa: A small gathering of 8,160 attended the Cubs/Guardians game at Sloan Park. That makes the total attendance at Sloan this year 24,312, or 12,156 per date.
The Cubs will head to the west side of Phoenix Tuesday to face the Brewers at American Family Fields of Phoenix. Drew Smyly will start for the Cubs and former Cub Robert Stock will get the call for Milwaukee. Game time is 2:10 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network, with Marquee picking up the Brewers TV feed for this game.