Remembering, of course, that Spring Training stats don’t generally mean anything, Hayden Wesneski went out and made a statement Saturday afternoon against the Dodgers.
Wesneski faced 12 Dodgers and retired all of them, four by strikeout, and the Cubs smashed three home runs on their way to a 5-2 win over L.A.
Wesneski was also helped out by his defense. Check out this play by Dansby Swanson [VIDEO].
It’s a small sample size, and yes, it’s Spring Training. But Wesneski has now thrown 8⅔ innings in three starts, allowed five hits and a walk, one unearned run and struck out 11. Given that and his really good work in six appearances (four starts) last September, I’d think Wesneski has nailed down the fifth starter spot, at least until Kyle Hendricks comes back.
Here’s Wesneski commenting on his outing:
Wesneski gives a self-assessment on his spring after four perfect innings today vs. Dodgers: pic.twitter.com/aKyjFrphxZ— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) March 11, 2023
The game went scoreless into the top of the fifth, and then the Cubs started smashing long balls. Yan Gomes, Mike Tauchman and Christopher Morel all went deep. Here are all three dingers [VIDEO].
The homer by Morel was particularly impressive. It cleared the bullpen in left field and also a patio area behind the pen, an estimated 460 feet. After a slow start this spring, Morel has now homered in back-to-back games. This doesn’t necessarily mean Morel doesn’t need some Triple-A time, but he’s certainly looked good the last two days.
The Dodgers made it 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth on a solo homer by Josh Outman off Anthony Kay. After that, Michael Rucker threw 1⅔ scoreless innings. Brendon Little finished up the seventh and allowed the Dodgers a single run in the eighth before being removed for Cam Sanders, who wrapped up that inning with a ground out.
In the top of the ninth, the Cubs got another solo homer, this one from Jake Slaughter. Sanders wrapped things up by striking out the side in the bottom of the inning. The win improved the Cubs’ Cactus League record to 10-5.
A reminder that Daylight Saving time starts overnight tonight, so following most Cubs games the rest of the spring will be an hour later than they have been up to now. Sunday’s game at Sloan Park against the Brewers will thus begin at 3:05 p.m. CT. Adrian Sampson, who’s also possibly in line for that fifth rotation spot but might wind up in the pen as a long reliever, will get the start for the Cubs. Janson Junk will go for Milwaukee. TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network, and there will also be a radio broadcast on 670 The Score.