The Cubs beat the Diamondbacks last night in an exhibition game at Chase Field, which is hopefully a sign that they’re really gearing up for the season. “Exhibition” is less fake than “Cactus” right?
- Edwin Jackson was in a groove last night, needing only 47 pitches to go four scoreless innings. He gave up just one hit, no walks, and struck out two. Do that next week, Edwin.
- The guys who followed Jackson were as interesting for their identities as their results, given that the Cubs have not officially decided on the bullpen, although there are only enough relievers left in camp to fill up the expected 12 spots on the pitching staff (translation: guys other than those in big league camp are still under consideration). Pedro Strop and Jose Veras got in their usual work, with Veras finally putting together a shut-down 9th (I tend to think that’s all he needed – big league ballpark, save situation, shut it down. Strop struggled, which we’ll see from time to time this year. He’s a dominant pitcher, but he’ll have his bouts of Marmolade.
- Lefty Zac Rosscup got in two innings of work, which was particularly interesting, as he’s typically viewed as a future LOOGY. He gave up one hit, one walk, and struck out two. Is he under consideration at this point? Would the Cubs carry three lefties? Or is James Russell still on the block?
- Hector Rondon got an inning, and, although he gave up two hits and a walk, he did not give up a run. I tend to think he’s got a job at this point, given the stuff and the second half performance last year. But he did have a Spring ERA in excess of 8. But that was inflated by an unsustainable HR rate.
- Armando Rivero got to face a couple batters, walking one and striking one out. Meaningful? I’m not so sure. I still think he probably needs a little time in the minors, but he could see the big league pen at some point this year, and he could eventually be quite good.
- On the offensive side, there’s not a ton interesting to share (within the preseason context, that is). Ryan Sweeney seems to be turning it on at the right time, as he had another couple hits. Junior Lake took a walk, but also struck out once. Nate Schierholtz had a couple hits, and Darwin Barney took a couple walks. Mike Olt singled and struck out twice. It was enough to win, given the pitching, but it was modest.
- In case you’re wondering, the Diamondbacks stuck with regulars until the last couple innings, and the pitchers used were all regulars.