Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

I just got back from my sojourn to Salt River Fields to see the Reds take on the Rockies, and never have I been more excited about the prospect of a new Spring facility for the Cubs in 2014. Hohokam (and Fitch) is a nice place to take in a game, but Salt River Fields is state of the art, and beautiful.

The Cubs played at Goodyear Park today, and beat the Indians 6-2 on the strength of excellent pitching and adequate offense. The notable bits…

  • Rodrigo Lopez was, perhaps, the only weak link in that “excellent pitching” thing today. He wasn’t bad, mind you – he gave up just a couple earned runs in 4.1 innings, and all of the damage came early, but he gave up four hits and three walks. If the Cubs are bound and determined to keep all of their possible starters (as opposed to trading them), my vote goes to Randy Wells in the bullpen, rather than Lopez. As for Lopez, shrug. AAA depth?

  • James Russell gave up a hit in his scoreless 1.2 innings of work, and Frankie De La Cruz gave up a walk in his scoreless inning. That was it from the bullpen. No one gave up nothin’. Alberto Cabrera and Blake Parker also threw scoreless innings of work. De La Cruz probably has an outside chance of making the roster, given the late date on which the Cubs claimed him off of waivers.
  • Alfonso Soriano had *another* homer, his sixth. What else is new?
  • Joe Mather had *another* big offensive game (2-2 with 2 doubles). What else is new? I’ll tell you what else. He also made this awesome catch in center field (h/t to BN’er Cliffy for the clip).
  • Alfredo Amezaga had a hit in a couple at bats while playing shortstop. He’s up to .379/.438/.448 on the Spring (32 PA), and I do think the Cubs would love to have someone on the bench capable of playing shortstop (Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney can play short, but they’re both starters). But Amezaga is extraordinarily unlikely to wrest a job from Blake DeWitt or Joe Mather at this point. Of course, DeWitt had an ugly game, and has seen his Spring line drop from the stratosphere to a more modest .270/.372/.405.

  • Steve Clevenger came into the game late … at first base. Thoughts? Perhaps Dale Sveum is further exploring the extra value that Clevenger brings to the bench over Welington Castillo? (But how frequently do you see the back-up catcher come into the game at another position?) Another possibility is simply that Sveum wanted all three of Geovany Soto, Clevenger, and Castillo to get at bats today, and, to do that, someone’s gotta play somewhere other than catcher.
  • Bryan LaHair was 2-3 with a double, and his Spring line now stands at .283/.292/.370. Far from good, but a far cry from where it was just a week ago.

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