MESA, Arizona — You might be thinking that Justin Steele had a bad outing, and the results say he did, in the Cubs’ 5-2 loss to the Rockies in the only night game this spring at Sloan Park.
Here’s a tweet sequence that says you’re probably wrong about that:
The radio guys said that he's working on one of his pitches, so that's some of it, though perhaps not all of it.— Tim Ehrhardt (@PaysonAZTim) March 15, 2023
So, this sort of thing happens quite a bit in Spring Training. A pitcher, for example, might throw nothing but fastballs and, predictably, he might get pounded. In this case, as this tweet by Brett Taylor followed up with, it appeared he might have been working on locating his slider. Clearly, there are things to continue to work on, or maybe he just didn’t locate where he wanted to. Eleuris Montero (second inning) and Ryan McMahom (third) homered off Steele, and that alone would have been enough for a Colorado win.
And that’s why Spring Training wins and losses don’t mean a thing. Here are Steele’s four strikeouts on the evening [VIDEO].
Honestly, I’m 100 percent certain that Steele will be just fine on Opening Day. So will Dansby Swanson, who is hitting .053 (1-for-19) this spring. I’ll give Brett the last word here:
Dansby Swanson is out to prove that Spring Training stats are completely meaningless for veterans who are locked into their starting job.— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) March 15, 2023
I'm not even kidding - I've seen it a million times that a sure-fire starter puts up ATROCIOUS spring numbers and then is completely fine.
He’s absolutely right. Or, conversely, remember a couple of years ago when Joc Pederson pounded eight home runs with a 1.431 OPS in the Cactus League and everyone got all excited? How’d that work out?
Meanwhile, German Márquez was mowing down Cubs batters. In four innings he struck out seven and allowed just two hits. Pete Lambert, who relieved Márquez, struck out four in two innings of work and allowed just one safe hit. That one, though, was this well-struck home run by Nico Hoerner [VIDEO].
The Rockies scored a run off Tyler Duffey in the fifth and another off Jeremiah Estrada in the ninth to complete their five-run evening. Cubs pitchers also did a lot of striking out of batters, K’ing 13 Colorado hitters.
The Cubs put together one more run-scoring rally in the eighth. They loaded the bases on an infield hit, a dropped popup and a walk, and then Mike Tauchman drew a walk with the bases loaded to score Christopher Morel with the run.
Attendance watch: Another sellout of 15,958 brought the season total for nine Cactus League dates to 115,148, or 12,794 per date.
I’m going to give you the information currently posted for Wednesday’s scheduled game against the Reds, another night game, even though this weather forecast for the day makes it nearly 100 percent certain that this game is going to be rained out. If, somehow, they manage to play, it’ll be at 8:05 p.m. CT on Marquee Sports Network. Caleb Kilian is scheduled to get the start for the Cubs and Connor Overton will go for Cincinnati. If this game is postponed, the next Cubs game will be Thursday afternoon at Sloan Park against the Diamondbacks.