There was no crazy game repeat between the Giants and Cubs today, after Thursday’s wackiness. Just a run-of-the-mill 5-2 loss for the Cubs (Box Score), who stand 8-16 in Cactus League play. My guess? They win more than one out of every three games in the regular season.
- John Lackey’s line – 5 IP, 5 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 6 K – looks worse than his actual performance today (well, actually, to me that doesn’t look like a bad line at all, in terms of the things he can control, but we’ll get there when the season rolls around). Yes, there was some hard contact given up, but it definitely didn’t look like Lackey was doing too much more than getting his work in and getting himself stretched out, which is what a veteran of his chops is supposed to be doing right now. As long as he feels good, it was a success, especially this close to the season starting. (Also, before you do it: yes, I say this kind of thing all the time in Spring Training. And I do that because it’s true. Lackey, for one example, has a career ERA near five in Spring Training.)
- Clayton Richard relieved Lackey with two runners on base and nobody out, but he couldn’t get out of the inning without allow those two to score. He gave up two hits of his own in the process. Given his hit-filled outing yesterday, the Cubs went right back to the well for a reason – either to give Richard a chance to shake it off, or to give themselves a chance to see him again in quick succession. That kinda makes you wonder if they’re looking for something specific mechanically or physically before the season starts, but that’s just me taking a wild guess, since we haven’t seen many back-to-back outings in Spring Training (you rarely do).
- Perhaps relatedly, Manny Parra struck out the side in the ninth, and he’s had a very good Spring. Given how “set” the bullpen has seemed for a while, it’s been easy to forget Parra, but here’s the thing: although it’s a crowded group and he’s in on a minor league deal, he’s been really good in the big leagues for a while against lefties, in particular. It wouldn’t shock me to see some last-minute shuffling in the pen. I’m not saying I expect it, but I do think there’s a reason he’s still in camp while most of the other non-roster invitee pitchers have been sent out.
- How about this: when Hector Rondon took over in the 8th, Kyle Schwarber moved behind the plate. The reason I liked seeing that is that he’s going to have to catch the late-inning, high-velocity, nasty-stuff guys if he’s going to start regularly (i.e., once or twice a week) behind the plate. You don’t want to have to sub him out every time you go to the bullpen, because then you’re left with the choice of putting him in left field for the tightest innings, or losing his bat.
- All of Munenori Kawasaki (started at second, moved to short), Tommy La Stella (came in at second late), and Matt Szczur (came in to center field late) got into this one, and, if the Cubs carry eight relievers, only one of that trio is going to make the club, unless there’s an injury elsewhere.
- Speaking of which, Javy Baez hasn’t been into a game in a while as he deals with a thumb issue, and:
Maddon talked about the door opening for Kawasaki if Baez is still injured (thumb). Hitting .400 with OBP of .500 this spring
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) March 26, 2016
- Very much hope that’s not the case, though with the backdating you can do into Spring Training, starting Baez on the disabled list wouldn’t actually cost him that many games, assuming he was back to normal quickly.
- Addison Russell hit his third homer of the Spring, so that’s neat.