cactusThe Cubs split their split squad games today, beating the Angels 3-2, and losing to the Indians 7-2.

  • Edwin Jackson was knocked around, and must’ve been a little wild, too, because he hit a couple batters, though he didn’t walk any. As is my general position with veteran starters in the Spring, I don’t really get too concerned – at least until I read about the manager or player hinting at actual problems. Scott Feldman’s Spring ERA last year was a huge story. How many of you even remember that? He couldn’t get anyone out, and then he immediately came out dealing when the season started.
  • A little more concerning in the game was Blake Parker, who got just one out, and gave up three earned runs on three hits and two walks. He hasn’t had a great Spring after coming into things on the inside track for a bullpen spot. Given the extreme competition for bullpen jobs, you’ve simply got to scrutinize his performance a little more closely than you might otherwise.
  • Arodys Vizcaino threw an inning of high-90s fastballs today, striking out two in a scoreless inning. I look forward to seeing a 15.0 K/9 in the minors halfway through the year, and then seeing what’s up in the second half at the big league level. Stop dreaming on him for 2015, Brett. Stop it. That’s a long, long way away.
  • James McDonald threw a couple scoreless innings, allowing just one hit. He didn’t walk anyone or strike anyone out. He remains my best guess for the fifth starter right now. (Carlos Villanueva also threw a couple so-so innings today. Given that Chris Rusin can be optioned, I think Villanueva is your back-up guess as the fifth starter.)
  • Tsuyoshi Wada struck out three in his two innings of work (two innings suggesting he’s still being viewed as a starter for now – he’s actually probably got a very outside shot of nabbing that fifth starter job, himself), allowing three hits and a walk. I believe I heard that Jorge Soler booted a ball in right that didn’t help things for Wada, but I missed the context.
  • Lefty Jonathan Sanchez finally threw a scoreless frame, walking one and striking one out.
  • Ryan Roberts continues to see extensive action, and he’s doing fairly well – he had another couple hits today, including a double. He’s versatile, and can knock lefties, but it’s going to be tough to find him a spot on the team if all of Donnie Murphy, Emilio Bonifacio, and Darwin Barney are still around come March 31. Maybe if the Cubs don’t carry a true fifth outfielder? I suppose with Bonifacio and Roberts in the fold, they wouldn’t have to.
  • Kris Bryant homered again (to right field) and struck out twice. That’s been his story this Spring: strikeouts and homers.
  • Mike Olt got four at bats today, and did not reach base. He struck out twice.
  • The thing to remember about both Bryant and Olt: strikeouts are likely to always be part of their game. Strikeouts, on their own, are not necessarily a problem. In Olt’s case, he’s got some swing and miss, but he also sees a ton of pitches. It’s just part of his game. On Bryant, he has some swing and miss, but he’s still just starting out in pro ball. Even the best prospects will have a bit of that when facing quality pitching. It’s really not something to be concerned about right now – at least not because of various Spring Training results.
  • Josh Vitters – for whom strikeouts are not usually a part of his game – struck out three times in three at bats today. Christian Villanueva had a single in three at bats.
  • Junior Lake got a hit in three at bats, and struck out only once. That’s kind of progress. He stole a base, too.
  • Jorge Soler had a triple! Hooray! Albert Almora had a single! Hooray! Javier Baez … did not have a hit. Quick, change the narrative!
  • ssckelley

    So for the record Bryant now has 8 plate appearances, 2 homers, 6 K’s, and 3 ribbies (I had to do it). I’ll still take it!

    • Oregon Cubs Fan

      Thats a .250/.250/1.000 line or an OPS of 1.250. I guess we could live with that.

  • Mike

    Speaking of strikeouts, did everyone have a golden sombrero in the Indians game? Whole lotta whiffin there.

    • ssckelley

      Kottaras and Cunningham each whiffed in both of their PA’s but no one got to 3. A total of 27 strikeouts between both games.

      • Mike

        Rob Deere got let go, right? :)

  • MightyBear

    Soler did misplay that fly ball. Probably not used to the Arizona sky. He probably catches the ball in Wrigley even though he had a horrible read on it. It hit his glove and bounced out. Wada worked out of it. Soler with two outs and a RISP showed a great approach by working the count to 3-1 and hitting a rocket on an outside fasball into right center and easily made third. Nobody talks about Soler but I think he could be the best of the big four. Which would be something.

  • Dakota44

    A home run every 4 at bats is mouth watering

  • Javier Bryant

    Muskat said Jackson just threw fastballs in today’s game, could be part of the reason he didn’t do so well. Also, I can see Parker starting in Iowa to begin the season since he can be optioned. Keeping Cabrera and Rodon in the MLB pen

    • willis

      I wouldn’t have thought that a week or so ago, but if he continues to struggle, even though it’s only spring training, someone like that with options will get sent down. It may just be worth it to give Cabrera some run to see if he can make it or not, and Rondon seems to be throwing well after finishing strong last year.

  • Jon

    Matt Carpenter & Cards taking extension 5 years 50-55 million. G** damn it that’s a good deal

    • Jon

      Actually 6 years

      • Sterling Archer

        A six-year deal would cover his age 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, and 34 seasons. Let’s hope the Cardinals will be just in time to enjoy his post-prime decline phase.

    • mjhurdle

      not sure I like that deal for the Cardinals very much.
      they are only buying out 2 FA years, and for it to be a good deal they have to bank on Carpenter continuing to hit better in the Majors than he ever did in the minors.
      If I was a Cardinal fan, I would be wondering why they are rushing to extend him now when he doesn’t become a FA until 2018. Why not wait one more year to see if he sustain his success?

  • cubfanincardinalland

    No negative to anyone else, I think Soler might wind up a 30 hr 100 RBI player for a lot of years. Great approach for someone with plus power.

  • woody

    He’s gonna be the DH tomorrow. Let’s hope that the triple was the start of something good.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Vitters is sealing his fate. Also, I would agree that Parker is headed to Iowa in deference to keeping both Cabrera and Rondon in the pen.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Any chance Blake Parker goes to the bullpen at Iowa to start the season? He’s not out of options. Alberto Cabrera isn’t out of options

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      Sorry Blake Parker still has options, but Cabrera does not. Allows the Cubs to keep both