Adrian Sampson had a nice little run for the Cubs in 2022, putting together a 3.11 ERA and 1.227 WHIP in 21 appearances (19 starts). It looked like he might be a decent fifth-starter option for the team this year.
That run might be just about over. Spring stats and all, but Sampson has had a really rough time in five spring appearances covering 17⅔ innings. It’s not the 8.66 ERA — lots of good pitchers have high ERAs in spring — it’s the home runs. Eleven of them. That’s a frighteningly large number even for Spring Training in the thin air of Arizona, and unfortunately long balls were an issue for him last year, with 10 of them allowed in 104⅓ innings.
It seems clear that Hayden Wesneski has won the fifth rotation spot, and Javier Assad seems to have passed up Sampson for a long relief role. So where does that leave last year’s feel-good story? Maybe DFA’d. As always, we await developments, but possibly think of Sampson as a pitching version of Frank Schwindel, a guy who had a nice little MLB run and some recognition for it, but the team might have to move on.
Three of the homers were allowed in a five-inning outing by Sampson, though he left with the game tied 3-3.
Luis Torrens followed that with another double to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead:
Luis Torrens good spring continues pic.twitter.com/TbH4apiltC— Aldo Soto (@AldoSoto21) March 25, 2023
The first two Cleveland homers off Sampson were back-to-back in the bottom of the first by Jose Ramirez and Josh Bell. That tied the game, but the Cubs took a 3-2 lead in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Tucker Barnhart.
The third homer off Sampson made it 3-3 after five, and Cleveland added a pair off Manuel Rodriguez in the sixth. Rodriguez has talent, but he is presently off the 40-man roster and it seems as if there are other non-roster relievers ahead of him. So he’ll stay at Iowa and hope to recover some of his former form.
The Cubs head to Tempe to take on the Angels Saturday afternoon. Roenis Elias, who threw well in winter ball and for Cuba in the World Baseball Classic, will start for the Cubs. He could possibly be part of the Iowa rotation. Sam Bachman gets the start for the Angels. Game time — please note — is 2:10 p.m. CT, a 12:10 Arizona time start because this is the Angels’ last Cactus League game. They’re leaving for Los Angeles after the game to play their annual “Freeway Series” against the Dodgers. TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network (which is picking up the Angels broadcast feed). There will also be a radio broadcast on 670 The Score.