The Cubs won the kind of game that would have been really exciting if it wasn’t fake (or “exhibition”, for those who prefer). After jumping out to a big lead early, the bullpen scuffled, and the Cubs went down late before rallying to win. Give me a few of those in July, Cubs. With the team above .500. Wow. I just thought about it. That’s going to be so cool when that’s actually a real thing that happens.
- The single most important thing that can happen in Spring Training happened in this game, and it’s not a good thing: an injury. Ryan Sweeney left the game early after apparently twisting his knee while chasing a ball in right field. Very preliminary reports suggest it’s not a serious knee injury, but we’ll wait for a more complete explanation/evaluation before exhaling. In a weird way, the outfield is probably the one spot where the Cubs could most easily absorb an injury – no, not because they have substantial starting-quality depth that is otherwise going unused. It’s because they have substantial fringy, platoony depth. Sweeney missing time would suck for a variety of Sweeney-related reasons (his value to the Cubs as an asset, his chance to show he can start, etc.), but in terms of the impact to the Cubs’ win-loss record, it might not be huge.
- Kyle Hendricks started for the second time in the Spring, and he was once again uncharacteristically wild. No, two walks in three innings isn’t atrocious, but for Hendricks, it’s extremely unusual. He gave up a couple earned runs in his three innings (3 hits), but he did strike out four.
- Most of the damage came against Armando Rivero and Frank Batista. Both are in the mold of minor league closers, but both need time in the minors for seasoning (obviously Rivero is the one with the much higher ceiling).
- Each of Jose Veras, Pedro Strop, and Hector Rondon got in an inning of work, and none allowed much of anything. Justin Grimm also threw a scoreless inning, but it came with two hits and a walk (one of the hits was a bunt single, though).
- Justin Ruggiano was the big bat today, with three hits, including his second homer of the Spring.
- Kris Bryant had a nice at bat mid-game, starting a count down 0-2 and eventually working a walk. He did make an error at third and allowed a bunt single in front of himself, too.
- Javy Baez went 1-3 with a rocket double (does he double any other way?) and a strikeout. He also made a nice play in the field, showing off that strong arm at short.
- Oh, Baez ended up scoring off that double on a single by Junior Lake. So that was neat.
- Brett Jackson had a two-run, pinch-hit single. That was also neat.