Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

cactusThe Cubs were without a couple of their offensive regulars, but most of the starters today were guys whom we expect to be in the Opening Day lineup. That the offense struggled is probably something to get used to.

  • Jeff Samardzija gave up some hits and a couple walks, but, to my eye, he was dealing. He struck out eight Mariners in 5.1 innings. Bruce Levine mentioned on Twitter that the Blue Jays had scouts out in force to watch, so if they were looking for sharp stuff and command, they saw it.
  • Mike Olt, who had a solid single in three at bats, played at third base for the first time this Spring, and looked fine. He didn’t really get many chances, but showed some quick reflexes on a sinking liner while he was pulled in (knocked it down, didn’t otherwise make the play, though). Not a ton you can take from one game.

  • The bullpen was generally effective, with Arodys Vizcaino throwing a very quick scoreless inning and Blake Parker did the same. James Russell gave up Samardzija’s second run with a walk, a double, and a sac fly allowed. Justin Grimm gave up an earned run on one hit and one wild pitch in his inning of work.
  • Junior Lake had an ugly strikeout and a double, but the big play was a fantastic homer-robbing catch in left field – his first start there this Spring. I’m doing the mental math: if Lake is a well above average defensive left fielder (not at all a given), can he be an overall above average player, considering the probably light bat for left field? I’m thinking probably not.
  • Ryan Sweeney struck out twice more today, and he’s just not looking great at the plate (though one was a called third strike that was probably a touch out of the zone). His swing looks to my untrained eye to be much longer than last year, and kind of slow. He and his wife did have a baby in the offseason, so maybe he’s still catching up on his Z’s. I won’t be too worried until we get well into April, but, for now, he seems to be really scuffling.

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