Now there’s a headline you did not expect to read on this site about the 2023 Chicago Cubs.
Let’s give the seven Cubs pitchers who no-hit the Padres 4-0 Friday night their due: Justin Steele, Javier Assad, Brad Boxberger, Adbert Alzolay, Jeremiah Estrada, Cam Sanders and Nick Burdi allowed San Diego no hits at Peoria Stadium. They walked five and struck out seven.
After Burdi had walked a pair in the bottom of the ninth, he induced this double-play ball to complete the no-no [VIDEO].
Per the great site nonohitters.com, we know that this is the first Spring Training no-hitter in Cubs history. They had previously been involved in just one other such game: On March 17, 1952, the Cubs were no-hit by Jim Hearn and Monty Kennedy of the New York Giants at Wrigley Field — the Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, that is.
Irving Vaughan of the Tribune recapped it this way in the next day’s paper:
The Cubs performed today as if they might be might be in dire need of more spring training. Either that, or the sight of gentlemen attired in New York Giants baseball uniforms scared them stiff, just as it did last year, Either way, the Chicagoans took it on the chin, 10 to 0, but were unable to produce even one base hit in their nine round exhibition with the National League champions before 2,139 in Wrigley Field.
As was the case Friday night, those 1952 Cubs hitters drew five walks in the Giants’ no-no, which ran 2:25, per the Tribune boxscore.
Friday’s Cubs no-hitter over San Diego was the first one in a spring game since March 24, 2017, when eight Angels pitchers no-hit the Mariners at Tempe Diablo Stadium, also winning 4-0. Per nonohitters.com, Friday night’s Cubs gem is the 43rd documented no-hitter in Spring Training history, and they note on the site:
... we’re always on the lookout for more. Detailed accounts of spring training games are scarce, so if you find others not on this list, please send along stories and/or box scores and I’ll get them added.
More people attended Friday night’s game at Peoria Stadium, a total of 7,300, and they were treated to some fine pitching from pretty much every Cubs hurler. Specifically, Estrada deserves praise. He was throwing what appeared to be upper 90s along with some nasty breaking stuff. If he doesn’t make the Opening Day roster, he’ll be along at some point this year. Sanders — who we learned on the broadcast is the son of former Cub Scott Sanders — also looked sharp and will get some time in the majors this year, perhaps. Nice outings from all the other Cubs hurlers in this one, too, particularly Justin Steele, who looked sharp in his first spring start and was interviewed on the game broadcast after he was done with his night’s work [VIDEO].
As for the Cubs scoring, Edwin Rios homered in the fourth to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead [VIDEO].
That ball was crushed — unfortunately, in spring games we don’t have distances available, but that ball definitely flew well over 400 feet.
Yan Gomes hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning for the Cubs’ second run, and two more scored in the ninth, in part thanks to an error by former Cub Alfonso Rivas.
Non-pitching news: David Bote continued his hot hitting, going 2-for-3. Overall this spring — yes, in a very small sample size — he’s batting .636/.692/1.182 (7-for-11) with a double, a triple, a home run and no strikeouts. Of course, spring training numbers come with many caveats, but Bote is looking like the guy who impressed everyone in spring 2019, when he hit .442/.545/.721 (19-for-43) with three doubles, three home runs and 10 walks. Bote could wind up being quite useful to this year’s Cubs.
The game took a snappy two hours, 14 minutes, and might have been quicker if not for the walks and a mound visit from pitching coach Tommy Hottovy to Burdi during the ninth inning. Thank you, pitch timer, for doing your job well. There was one clock violation during this game, on Estrada, but he wound up striking out the hitter anyway.
Often in a no-hitter, a good defensive play helps keep it intact. Here’s one from this game — a slick diving catch by Yonathan Perlaza in the sixth inning [VIDEO].
Here are some additional highlights [VIDEO].
It’ll be hard to top that the rest of the spring. But it does tell me that the Cubs do have some good pitchers on the staff — and the Padres had several of their regulars in the lineup for this game. It bodes well for this season, I think.
The Cubs return to Sloan Park Saturday afternoon to face the Angels. Jameson Taillon will make his second spring start for the Cubs, and Reid Detmers — who threw a no-hitter of his own last May — gets the call for the Angels. Game time Saturday is 2:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.