So. I gather that the rest of the NCAA Tournament has been awfully entertaining this year, eh? I watched the spectacularly unthrilling OSU-Gonzaga game last night. Woopty doo.
- Each Spring Training, it tends to be the case that veteran starting pitchers throw their most “normal” outing (i.e., going deep-ish, using all their pitches, etc.) in the third- or second-to-last start of the spring. For the Cubs’ starting five, that may well have been this week, depending on how they feel about getting in one or two more starts before the season opens. And if it was this recent time through the rotation in the Cactus League, holy crap did they perform ridiculously well:
– Jon Lester: 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 3 K. (March 9; his outing after that was in a minor league game)
– Kyle Hendricks: 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 7 K.
– Yu Darvish: 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 4 K.
– Jose Quintana: 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 8 K.
– Tyler Chatwood: 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 2 BB, 9 K.
- Collectively, that’s 2 earned runs on 11 hits and 3 walks in 27.0 innings pitched, during which they struck out 31. YES PLEASE.
- Interesting comment from Joe Maddon on a difference he’s seeing in Kyle Schwarber’s swing this Spring (Cubs.com): “[H]e’s not swinging as hard. You’d have to get all the data to validate what I think I’m seeing. It’s more hands, less arms, and with that it’s easier – he’s doing it easier.” Interesting. I haven’t immediately noticed that when I’ve watched him this spring, but now that it’s on my radar, maybe it’ll be easier to see. Schwarber hadn’t previously been a guy whose swing was about the hands and wrists (think Ben Zobrist).
- In that same article, Maddon came with some effusive praise for bullpen competitor Justin Hancock, who came over in trade for Matt Szczur last year.
- Another bullpen competitor, lefty Randy Rosario, gave up his first runs of the Spring last night on a two-run homer. He also struck out two in his inning of work.
- Because I’m guessing the Cubs don’t carry four lefties out of the chute, I tend to think the three most likely contenders to make the pen at this point are Hancock, Eddie Butler, and Anthony Bass. With Pedro Strop still slowed by his calf injury, the Cubs may be able to keep two of those guys for the opener.
- Trevor Cahill finally found a home, signing with the Oakland A’s shortly after they discovered that Jharel Cotton has to have Tommy John surgery.
- I remember the two peak years of Jonny Venters well, which is probably why I’ve followed his story – three Tommy John surgeries, and a fourth surgery that was very close to it – relatively closely. Here’s a good write-up on how the once absurdly-dominant groundball lefty is trying to come back once more. He last pitched in the big leagues when he was a teammate of now Hall of Famer Chipper Jones.
- I guess it’s clearance time everywhere, because Fanatics Cubs gear is on Spring Clearance today with free shipping, the MLB Shop still has a bunch of stuff on sale, and Lids has a 30% off sale going on today.
- Well done, kiddo:
The Little Girl decided to give herself a tattoo. I’d say she nailed it. pic.twitter.com/izOqw3dwwP
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) March 17, 2018