The Cubs’ bats couldn’t keep it going after yesterday’s outburst, but such is Spring Training, when the lineup changes completely from game to game. (Actually, bats going flat after a day of offense (and vice versa) is just baseball.) The Rangers took this one 5-0 (Box Score).
- Kyle Hendricks cruised through the first four scoreless innings, though he did give up several hard hit balls in his fifth inning of work. His day – 5 IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 5 K – looks like a very Kyle Hendricks day, though you’ll hope to see him going six or maybe even seven innings when the regular season rolls around. The fifth starter job is his.
- Further confirming that fact, just as Travis Wood, Trevor Cahill, and Clayton Richard have done, Adam Warren pitched in a short relief outing today. In his one inning of work, he gave up some hard hits (as he has this Spring), but he’s been so good the last couple years out of the bullpen for the Yankees that there shouldn’t really be any concern at this point.
- Manny Parra, I suspect, remains under serious consideration for the bullpen, even as we know space is very limited. He pitched a scoreless inning with a strikeout and a hit.
- And guess who pitched another scoreless inning with another couple strikeouts? Spencer Patton. No, Spring Training results are not anything, but it’s hard to ignore a guy who’s basically been perfect and dominant all spring. The 28-year-old righty still has minor league options, so that might be all that stands between him and the bullpen on April 4. But he’ll factor in at some point this year. I fully expect it.
- Offensively, the Cubs managed just five singles in the game, two of them by Kyle Schwarber (one was a gift, which was followed by a gift stolen base). Matt Szczur did not get a hit, but he did play in a Cactus League game for the second straight day (oblique).
- The play many are talking about featured Jorge Soler getting doubled off of first base on a fly out to center field. That’s unacceptable under any circumstances, and I don’t want to confuse anyone as to my position on that fact. That said, while some may characterize the lapse as one of caring or hustle, it didn’t look like that to me. Instead, it looked like a guy who looked back and mistakenly believed the ball was coming into the cut-off man, rather than directly to first base. So, he took his time (he’s also a guy with past leg issues, mind you), and he got nailed. Not acceptable, but not lazy or indifferent. Just a mental mistake.
- Of note from the back fields, Tommy La Stella (calf) played in the field today, which is a good sign for his near-term availability.