The Reds now have two wins on the Spring, both courtesy of the Cubs. And, like I said last time: good! Enjoy them!
- The bulk of the trouble for the Cubs came in the 3rd inning, which started with a single by old friend Arismendy Alcantara (he’s a Red now, did you know?). That was followed by two more singles to load the bases, and then three(!) hit batters drove in three runs. A bases-loaded walk and an RBI groundout later, and it was a five-run inning for the Reds. Most of the damage was done against rotation-depth hopeful Aaron Brooks. (Who, by the way, was the Cubs’ return for Chris Coghlan in the original A’s trade, and then the Cubs traded Alcantara to the A’s to get Coghlan back. Full circle!)
- Mike Montgomery started for the Cubs, and although he struck out three to notch his three outs in the first inning, the resulting work prevented him from pitching a second inning. There’s still a lot of time, but obviously he’ll have to get quite a bit more stretched out by April to be a reliable fifth starter. Not that there’s any cause for concern on that front yet.
- Casey Kelly pitched reasonably well in his two innings of work as he continues to stretch out. As we’ve discussed, the Cubs project to have a glut of potential starting pitchers at AAA Iowa as it is, but, given the scouting pedigree and the praise from Chris Bosio, you’ve got to figure the Cubs are hoping Kelly wins one of those spots.
- Other than Eloy Jimenez’s homer to break up the no-hitter in the 8th inning, the other big blow for the Cubs was a Yasiel Balaguert three-run shot. Balaguert, 24, is a bat-only first base prospect who ended 2016 on a tear at High-A, hitting .320/.354/.530 in the second half. There’s always been potential there, but he hasn’t put it together over a full season. Given his limited defensive options, 2017 might be a make-or-break year for him to really show that the bat is going to carry him (wherever that might be).
- The Cubs had the right response to Jimenez’s homer breaking up the no-no:
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) March 3, 2017
Then Eloy happened.https://t.co/iCojFRGk3x
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) March 3, 2017
- Joe Maddon’s Respect Bald event is tomorrow, and the landscape is ready:
"Haircut Hill," site of Maddon's "Respect Bald" event Saturday pic.twitter.com/G58tKp0XHq
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) March 3, 2017
- How about a big, healthy year from this young man:
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 3, 2017
- Be advised:
— Litchi (@LitchiLoves) March 3, 2017