Good thing Spring Training results are totally meaningless, right?
Today the Cubs were shellacked by the Angels in Tempe, and it was all downhill after an efficient first inning by Chris Rusin that included a nice swinging strikeout of Mike Trout.
- James McDonald followed Rusin with a six-run, three-walk, two-homer inning of his own. He and Rusin are battling for the fifth starter spot if Jake Arrieta is out, which might sound like a scary thing if you went by today’s results. Keep in mind: we don’t know precisely what guys are trying to accomplish in Spring starts. Keeping runs off the board at all costs isn’t always the M.O. Obviously giving up homers and walking guys are almost never in the plans, but at least the guys looked healthy enough …
- After McDonald, the Cubs pitched a slew of non-roster and minor league guys. Jonathan Sanchez, whom Chris Bosio has praised as having electric stuff out of the pen, struggled with his command and didn’t complete an inning. Paulo Espino, a minor league signing late last year that drew a little praise from me, probably had the best day, striking out two in 1.1 innings of scoreless work.
- On the offensive side, there wasn’t a lot to cheer unless you’re really into prospects.
- Oh, wait, we’re TOTALLY into prospects! Javier Baez started at shortstop and scalded the ball, but didn’t have a hit to show for it. Kris Bryant worked a full count in his at bat, fouling some pitches off, and then bombed one to deep center. Albert Almora ripped a double down the left field line. Dan Vogelbach grounded into a double play, but he hit the ball very hard, looked as fit as those pictures have indicated, and got down the baseline pretty well.
- Darwin Barney had a couple hits – an infield single and a deep homer to left. He’s not ceding his job, Emilio!