The Cubs dropped another game today. Yes, another one. No, it still is not an issue. The Mariners took this one 10-8 after quite a bit of back-and-forth that started early and carried on throughout the game. Were it a regular season game, you’d call it exciting, but ultimately disappointing.
- Jon Lester made his Spring Training debut, and will likely be on the receiving end of grief from some corners because he gave up six runs in two innings, but, first of all, it’s just his first Spring Training start. Sure, it’s more comforting when a guy goes out and dominates like Jake Arrieta did, but that doesn’t mean you have to do that to prepare for the season. For another thing, the innings were smattered with fluky hits, errors, and random stuff that doesn’t really tell you anything about anything. The only part of the performance with which I concerned myself was Lester’s health. Does he feel fine? Then I’m fine.
- Pitching-wise, I thought Lester looked fine, visually. There’s really just not much you can take away from one initial two-inning outing in March.
- (Although it’s not a concern, because it’s a known issue at this point, I was discouraged to see Lester still struggle with getting the ball to a base upon fielding it. He threw one away, and also long, underhand tossed a ball to first base that really should be a simple throw. I’m past the point of criticizing it, though – it’s just how it’s going to be with Lester, and you take the tradeoff.)
- Ryan Williams followed Lester with two decent scoreless innings with a couple strikeouts. He did give up three hits and a walk in the process, though.
- The best relief inning probably came from Carl Edwards, Jr., who struck out two in a perfect frame. We know he’s got that ability, in terms of stuff. He can be an impact relief arm already at this point in his career, if he can command the fastball. That’s really where it all begins and ends with him.
- Javier Baez looked fooled by at least one fly ball that I saw in the game today in center field, but I still don’t want to take too much away from it. The Cubs clearly see the ability there for him to handle the position, and I think it seems pretty clear at this point that they want to know, by the end of March, whether he can be the “other” center field back-up on the roster heading into the season so they don’t necessary have to carry an extra outfielder, who might otherwise have a limited bat.
- Baez also took a rocket out to left and doubled in the game, so good stuff on that front.
- Jorge Soler crushed an opposite field bomb.
- Kyle Schwarber left the game early after tweaking his knee in left field, and hopefully we’ll know more about it tomorrow. He doesn’t sound too concerned, but, absent a dangling limb or exposed bone, it’s always hard to tell in these situations just how worried you should be immediately after the fact.
- Here’s your box score for the game.
- And if you missed it in the rush of the game, the Cubs released lefty Rex Brothers.