The Cubs lost the Thursday game that kinda counted, falling 9-5 to the Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields. The winning five runs for the Diamondbacks came in the 8th inning, primarily off of non-roster invitee Anthony Carter, who is not a significant threat to make the team at this point. That is to say, it’s not as if the Cubs’ predicted bullpen blew this one.
- As for the starter, Edwin Jackson was not too bad. As has been the case with him during his time with the Cubs, he looked pretty good for stretches with the bases empty, but it always seems to stack up on him with runners on base. The three runs he gave up in the fourth inning were the only runs he gave up, but it was also his final inning of work. A Starlin Castro error behind him didn’t help, but ultimately Jackson has to be better at limited crooked innings than he has been if he wants to continue starting in the big leagues, big contract or not. Jackson struck out three, walked one, and allowed four hits.
- Felix Doubront got into the game … for just one inning. Are we seeing the Cubs transitioning him to the bullpen to see if they can fit him on to the roster that way? Doubront wasn’t crazy about heading to the bullpen in Boston, which is what ultimately precipitated his traded to the Cubs, who gave him a chance to start. Was that enough of a chance? Will Doubront take to the pen now? Will it matter? We’re coming up on the deadline for teams to release arbitration-level players for 30 days termination pay (in other words, the Cubs could let Doubront become a free agent, and owe him only a little over $300,000, rather than his full $1.93 million salary). I’m not saying the Cubs would consider doing that, because maybe there’s a market out there for Doubront that’s a little better than that, but he’s out of options, and the Cubs still have a very crowded roster. If a trade isn’t going to happen, and if the Cubs can’t fit Doubront, the other option would be subject Doubront to waivers, and outright him to AAA Iowa if he isn’t claimed. At that point, because of his service time, he’d have the option to refuse the assignment and elect free agency (but he’d forgo his contract with the Cubs).
- Lefty Drake Britton came into the game late and couldn’t stop the bleeding, allowing the deciding run on a hit, a walk, and a HBP. He is also out of options.
- Phil Coke pitched another scoreless inning, and, assuming he stays healthy, you can mark him down as having made the team. It’s inevitable.
- Welington Castillo’s great Spring continues, with a couple walks and another runner gunned down.
- Mike Olt has hit a bit of a rough patch, adding another couple strikeouts as part of his 0-3 game. He walked once.
- Javier Baez took a walk, but in his other four plate appearances he struck out. All four of them.