The Cubs lost today’s game 2-0 to the Diamondbacks, imperiling their early-season stranglehold on the Cactus League. Take it easy with your drinking tonight.
- Jon Lester looked more or less fine in his second tuneup performance, with good movement on his breaking pitches. The velocity is still coming back, and he left a few pitches up in the zone. Were it a regular season game, you’d probably have some questions. As it stands, for a veteran pitcher approaching his mid-30s, I really don’t think you can tell much of anything at all from a Spring Training performance. He’s just not going to show you everything he’s got at this point in the Spring.
- The part of his outing that’ll get the most attention, of course, was his throwing error, but let me lay it out for those who couldn’t see: Lester snagged a hard comebacker to his right, and wasn’t going to be able to run and flip. So he had to throw, and when in that position, it has become his new habit to intentionally bounce the ball to first base (on the theory that a bad throw into the ground might allow the runner to reach, but at least it won’t go sailing into the stands). His bounced throw was actually fine (as far as intentionally bounced throws go (obviously you wish it was just, you know, a regular throw)). It got to first baseman Efren Navarro on one bounce, but Navarro appeared unready for it, couldn’t glove it, and it went for a throwing error on Lester. If that’s Anthony Rizzo at first base, I’m guessing he casually gloves the bouncer without issue for an out and nobody really says much.
- Also, just in case there are any skeptics, yes, it’s on purpose (he did it last year, too):
Jon Lester on throwing error to first base . "We are working on the Pippen To Jordan bounce pass" Lester and fielding instructor Brian Butterfield are working online hop throw to first to combat throwing issues.
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) March 4, 2018
- Offensively, the Cubs did nothing today worth mentioning in this space, so allow this bullet point to fade from your mind immediately.
- Javy Baez finds time, even in a Spring Training loss, to do something impressive:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) March 4, 2018
- Big game on Tuesday, relatively speaking:
Ben Zobrist (back) and Brandon Morrow (rest) will play in a game for the first time on Tuesday v Dodgers. Yu Darvish is set to make his Cubs debut that day as well. https://t.co/xW6V5kPPot
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) March 4, 2018
- A little bit of Zobrist working out today:
— yaw_ctrl (@yaw_ctrl) March 4, 2018
- Mark Zagunis is probably your other big “I don’t recognize him anymore” guy this spring, and hopefully he’s added some healthy muscle mass – he’s looking strong (and as Ryan points out on Twitter, Zagunis is looking like Aramis Ramirez):
I can't get over how thick Mark Zagunis is looking this year. I don't recognize him. pic.twitter.com/Uutj3N5qn1
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) March 4, 2018
- Just a reminder for the evening folks that Fanatics flipped a bunch of Cubs stuff to clearance today (or increased the discount), through tomorrow night.