The Cubs dropped last night’s game 4-3 in the 9th inning, walk-off style. I made it into the 8th inning before it was about 12:30 my time, and I decided that was that for a Spring Training contest. Imagine my horror to learn this morning that I missed a Giants walk-off …
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) March 23, 2018
- Jose Quintana gave up a lot of hard contact in this one, which, given his veteran status (and the place we are in Spring Training (and the fact that he was facing a fellow NL team)) doesn’t really mean much. The only actual damage he gave up came on a three-run Buster Posey homer, which featured a really nice piece of hitting. He still managed six innings and just three earned runs.
- Pedro Strop follow Quintana for his first inning of work in the Spring after being slowed by a calf injury and then an illness. From where I sat, Strop looked more or less normal. He got his velocity up to 96 mph, had good movement on his slider (though he threw them all up in the zone and got no swings on them), and seemed healthy. How much can you really tell from 10 pitches? He basically looked like Strop.
#Cubs Strop: "I feel good, I feel great. I'm ready to go." Team will likely wait until Fri to decide his next outing
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 23, 2018
- We’ll see how he feels today, and whether he can now stick with the plan to pitch two more times before the season begins, in which case he could open the season on the 25-man roster, and avoid the disabled list. A healthy Strop, it goes without saying, is something you very much want to see in the Cubs’ bullpen as much as possible.
- Anthony Bass and Randy Rosario are competitors for the final bullpen spot, and each gave up multiple hits in his appearance last night, with Rosario coming in for the 9th inning, but opening with three straight hits – with a wild pitch mixed in – and a walk-off loss. One appearance won’t make the bullpen decision, but it’s already a close margin, so any perceived weakness (especially from a guy who has options left) could move the needle.
- Offensively, there’s not a ton to remark upon from this one. Willson Contreras continues to scald the ball, and to look so comfortable in his at bats. So that’s groovy.
- Jason Heyward, by contrast, looks very different in his stance and with his hand placement, and looks very uncomfortable doing so. His swing, however, looks like the same hitch-and-stop-and-then-dive-down-at-the-ball mess that it has become. It has always been an ugly swing, so I still leave open the possibility for production on that basis, but as I watch how he tries to meet the ball with so much movement, it’s very hard for me to understand how he could consistently barrel the ball like that. I’m #NotAScout. What do I know. But it looked really bad last night.