MESA, Arizona — Cubs hitters were very, very patient in Thursday’s 11-1 win over the Diamondbacks on a coolish, but sunny day at Sloan Park.
They turned a close game into a rout by drawing eight overall walks, six of them in a pair of four-run innings in the seventh and eighth that put the game away.
The Cubs’ first run scored after two walks in the second inning with one out. After Edwin Rios struck out, Tucker Barnhart singled in a run [VIDEO].
The Cubs scored two more in the fifth on a single by Miles Mastrobuoni [VIDEO] after a sacrifice bunt by Barnhart advanced a pair of runners.
That was just the second sac bunt of the spring for the Cubs and honestly I don’t remember the other one. In all, the 30 MLB teams have combined for 22 sacrifice bunts this spring. It’s a strategy that’s going out of favor, and I think for good reason. Giving up that out is usually too much when trying to score runs.
Hayden Wesneski had another fine outing, allowing four hits and an unearned run, walking two and striking out five. The run scored when Eric Hosmer couldn’t handle a pickoff throw that was right in his mitt; the error was charged to Wesneski. I am hopeful that Hosmer will play better defense than that, but...
Keegan Thompson also looked good in this game, retiring all six hitters he faced, two by strikeout. Also, his velocity ticked up:
Keegan Thompson checks off his first multi-inning outing of spring. Trending upward velo-wise, fastball sitting 92 in his first inning.— Maddie Lee (@maddie_m_lee) March 23, 2023
That’s good news.
The pair of four-run innings in the seventh and eighth were mostly courtesy of Cubs minor leaguers, as well as a couple of bases-loaded walks drawn by Dansby Swanson and Ian Happ. Trey Mancini also had an RBI single.
That’s about all I’ve got for this one. In case you missed this:
Cubs announce they have traded minor league infielder Esteban Quiroz to Philadelphia for a cash consideration.— Maddie Lee (@maddie_m_lee) March 23, 2023
Quiroz was not on the 40-man roster and unlikely to make the team, so the proverbial “cash consideration” is probably better at this point.
Friday, the Cubs will have their final split squad of the spring, but the games will be at different times.
At 3:05 p.m. CT at Sloan Park, Marcus Stroman, in his first start since returning from the World Baseball Classic, will face the Rangers, who will start Andrew Heaney. TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.
At 8:05 p.m. CT at Goodyear, Adrian Sampson will start for the Cubs against the Guardians, who will go with Zach Plesac. Marquee will also carry this game via the Cleveland announcer feed.