The Cubs turned it on today, winning each of their split-squad games, and doing so in convincing fashion. But what you really want to talk about is …
- Spring Training is just Spring Training, and two games are just two games. But, man, Javier Baez has been ridiculous the last two games. Not only has he homered four times over that span, at one point, he’d homered on three straight pitches. He was already a very well-regarded prospect, but this ain’t gonna hurt his claim to a top 20 spot in baseball.
- Jeff Samardzija had his first truly dominant outing of the Spring (which makes me wonder if it was also the first Spring outing in which he was actually trying to be dominant): 5 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 WP.
- Hisanori Takahashi also had a successful start, going four innings of one-run ball, giving up five hits and one walk, with a strikeout.
- Michael Bowden continues to look like a strong bet for the bullpen, going two scoreless innings and striking out two. He gave up two hits.
- Carlos Marmol threw a completely uneventful scoreless inning. Good, good.
- Bruce Chen played the part of the pitching machine in Mesa, giving up homers, in addition to Baez, to Alfonso Soriano, Alberto Gonzalez, and David DeJesus.
- Brent Lillibridge had another couple hits today, and his spot on the roster feels as solid as ever.
- Jorge Soler has fallen behind Javier Baez in the irrational Spring overreaction train, but he still displayed a lot of strength (lots of warning track power) today, and some good instincts in the outfield. He also had a single in his four at bats.
- Scott Hairston had his second homer of the Spring in the game against the Rangers.
- Zach Putnam threw another scoreless inning and struck out two, but he also gave up two hits. His candidacy for the bullpen is an interesting one, because he has the background of a legit, quality reliever. But he’ll have to beat out Michael Bowden or force the Cubs to carry only one lefty in order to make the pen (or a Carlos Marmol trade might do it). Long odds, even if he’s been effective.
- Speaking of long odds in the pen, Jaye Chapman also threw a scoreless frame, and struck out one. I just don’t know that there’s a spot for him right now.