The Cubs went 1-12 with runners in scoring position, and routinely failed to get anything done against pitchers who looked like they were not particularly impressive. Still, the Cubs managed to come back from a 3-0 deficit (two of those runs coming on wild pitches) to tie the game in the 8th. Then, despite falling behind by a run in the bottom of the 8th, the Cubs took the lead in the top of the 9th on a dramatic two-run homer by Jesus Guzman … only to give up two runs in the bottom of the 9th and lose. And those two runs? They came on bases loaded walks.
Like I said. If this were a regular season game, the ink (and tears (and hair)) spilled would have been voluminous. But, since it’s a Cactus League game, it’s pretty easy for me to shrug, particularly because the players ultimately deciding the game on both sides are not likely to be factors come April.
- Trevor Cahill seemed to be pitching all right in this one, save for the wild pitches that scored runs. Some of that’s a him thing, and some of it’s a Willson Contreras getting better behind the plate thing (and not having worked with Cahill much before thing). Cahill gets really nasty downward movement on all of his pitches, which means they hit the dirt a lot, and it means they can be really tough to corral. One of the wild pitches was just a horribly spiked sinker, on which Contreras had no reasonable chance. The other was a nasty knuckle curve that almost elicited a swinging strike and maybe could have been blocked.
- Unfortunately, the low camera view in the game made it really hard to evaluate pitchers, and there was no radar gun on the broadcast, either. So I can’t tell you as much as I’d like about Cahill’s performance, or the three Adam Warren innings (2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K).
- Stephen Fife pitched another two innings without allowing an earned run, and he’s positioning himself reasonably well to get a spot in the Iowa Cubs rotation – the competition for which actually might be a little tight. Pierce Johnson and Ryan Williams are locks, assuming they’re at AAA. Then you’ve got Aaron Brooks, Eric Jokisch, and Dallas Beeler on the 40-man, Jonathan Pettibone and Drew Rucinski as reclamation types, Felix Pena and Rob Zastryzny as legit prospects who might be ready for AAA, and other pop-up guys.
- Willson Contreras had a great night, making some nice plays behind the plate, and going 3-3 with two doubles.
- Albert Almora was characteristically great in center field, but hitless at the plate.
- The Cubs’ regular offensive guys didn’t do much outside of a Ben Zobrist double, a Miguel Montero walk, and two Jorge Soler walks.