This afternoon’s game was all wrong right from the word go. Tsuyoshi Wada, who was something of a surprise starter (to me, anyway) after being held back with a hamstring issue and then a groin issue, lasted just a few batters before he was pulled in the middle of an at bat. It sounds like it was the groin again, and he’s off for an MRI. Even if the injury is not serious, we’re reaching the point where it would be tough for him to be ready for the start of the season even if he won the fifth starter job. We’ll see what the MRI says, but I would tentatively expect that he’ll begin the season still building up in Arizona, or will be in the Cubs’ bullpen.
As for the rest of the game, Cubs pitchers labored early and the Indians built a sizable lead. The Cubs chipped away at the end, but still went down 7-4.
- Matt Szczur! Dude is having a serious power surge this Spring, notching his second homer already, which is one shy of the three he had all of last year between the bigs and minors. He’s also had a double and a triple, and his numbers are bananas. Winning a job outright in Spring Training is going to be tough, given his remaining minor league option, but he sure is showing a lot. With his defensive ability all around the outfield, he may have a very nice future soon as a reserve outfielder. Maybe even this year.
- Offensively, that was about it for the starters in this game. The Cubs didn’t score again until later in the game, including on another Gleyber Torres double. I just can’t get over the fact that he’s playing in these games. He’s going to explode this season.
- Justin Grimm gave up some hits and runs today, but what I found most interesting was that he went 1.2 innings. Just getting in work? Seeing if he can be a multi-inning reliever (which is a dangerous weapon to have if you can find a guy who can stay “up” even after sitting down between innings)? We’ll see, but it was interesting. He struck out three.
- Neil Ramirez labored in his inning of work, appearing not to get many close calls that he was looking for. Every at bat was a long one, and he walked a guy, plus gave up a couple hits. The gun had him at only 92 mph, which could be a fluke or a “getting ready” kind of thing. I’m not too worried, though he was a touch faster at this time last year, and then obviously he was working 95/96 during the regular season when he was at his most effective.
- Phil Coke threw another scoreless, uneventful inning. Lefty Francisley Bueno (minor league deal) walked one and gave up a hit in his scoreless inning.
- Perhaps the most effective pitcher on the day was minor league lefty Hunter Cervenka, who went two innings, allowing just one hit, no walks, and striking out three. With options left, Cervenka is highly unlikely to make the team, but if he cuts down on the walks, he’s got a big league future – the stuff was always good enough to be at least a LOOGY.