Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

In coachspeak: “Look, winning Spring Training games isn’t everything. But eventually, you’d like to start winning some. And moreover, you’d like to stop getting shit-stomped.” Matt Garza didn’t have it today, though most of the damage was done while he was relying solely on his fastball. Marlon Byrd continues to rake, though, so at least there’s that. On to the battles:

  • Darwin Barney got in a half-game at short, and went 1-2 with an RBI. He’s steady, if not impressive, and for that reason – and because he offers upside that Augie Ojeda does not – he’s my preferred option to win the last infield bench spot. I suspect Ojeda is in the lead, though.
  • Reed Johnson also got in a half-game, and also went 1-2 with a double and an RBI. The Johnson-Fernando Perez battle continues to run about even, as neither is really standing out, but each bring something uniquely valuable to the table (Johnson = veteran leadership and established success; Perez = unparalleled speed and a tremendous attitude).

  • Max Ramirez – who does not have a realistic shot at unseating Koyie Hill as Geo Soto’s backup – raised his Spring average to .375. Just saying.
  • Justin Berg, about whom we’ve heard little this Spring, gave up a couple of earned runs in an inning of work. His Spring ERA stands at a Silva-esque 60.75.
  • Esmailin Caridad still just doesn’t have it back. He gave up another three runs in his inning.
  • Jeff Stevens had a scoreless frame, but he’s a longshot at this point to make the bullpen after a couple of shots the last two regular seasons to make a name for himself.

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