That was something like a windy day at Wrigley Field, except many of the homers weren’t wind-aided, and they were pretty much all from the other team. The Diamondbacks homered six times today. (They had five doubles, too, and 20 hits in total. Oof.)
- Jeff Samardzija went just three innings today with his 50 pitches, giving up one earned run on four hits and no walks. Samardzija struck out two, and he’ll head into the season as the Cubs’ number one. His performance out of the gate is, as you well know, very, very important. For many reasons.
- Chris Rusin followed Samardzija, and he was not particularly sharp. Four of those six homers came off of Rusin, who was tagged for nine earned runs in 2.2 innings of work (10 H, 0 BB, 0 K). Rusin’s ability to work in the zone is generally a good thing, but today was a reminder that, when the conditions aren’t right, things can go very, very badly. I don’t know that today’s performance decided the fifth starter spot, because I’ve always given the edge to Carlos Villanueva. Today couldn’t have helped, though.
- Bullpen hopefuls Alberto Cabrera and Justin Grimm each gave up a homer, too. Cabrera (2 ER, 2 H, 1 K) has a rough couple outings after looking so good for most of Spring Training, and Grimm (1 ER, 2 H, 1 K) has had a rough Spring all around. Their jobs will likely be decided based on what the coaches and front office have seen, and also Cabrera’s no-options-left situation. Hector Rondon has probably pretty much locked up a bullpen job at this point.
- MIKE OLT! celebrated kinda-sorta-probably making the roster today with a fine performance at third, dropping a double in his four at bats, and driving in two.
- Javier Baez took a walk today! Video soon.
- Chris Coghlan – whom you’ve probably noticed I mention very little around here, despite him still being in big league camp – is trying to win that final bench job, and he went 2-4 today with a double and a homer. In the end, I suppose I could fathom the Cubs keep Coghlan up and sending Ryan Kalish to Iowa to get in some more come-back time before coming up, but I don’t see it as all that likely. I think that final spot is probably down to Ryan Roberts and Ryan Kalish.
- Roberts, by the way, was o-3 while playing second, but he did have at least one nice defensive play.
- Junior Lake was 0-4 today with a strikeout. Can’t hit a homer every day, I guess.