Spring Training Miscellany: Cubs Top A's, Pitching With No Walks, Bryant's Schedule

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Spring Training Miscellany: Cubs Top A’s, Pitching With No Walks, Bryant’s Schedule

Chicago Cubs

This morning, the Chicago Cubs announced the order of their starting rotation – Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Yu Darvish, Jose Quintana, Tyler Chatwood – and it sparked a friendly debate/open conversation between Brett, Luis and myself after I sent out this tweet:

In short, I wondered whether this particular Cubs rotation is the coolest/best/most intimidating/awesome of all-time. We already discovered that their projections point to them being among the best Cubs rotations in a while, but I’m more wondering about this idea outside of the numbers (i.e. from a purely fan-boasting perspective).

So regardless of what actually happens this season, is this rotation, as of Spring Training, the Cubs most impressive group at this point in the season? It’s gotta be pretty close. Brett pointed to the 2004 rotation featuring Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Greg Maddux, Matt Clement, and Carlos Zambrano … and, yeah, that one might rival 2018. But even granted that concession, I think – at an absolute minimum – this is the second best rotation for the Cubs that I can remember. And in my opinion, it rivals that 2004 group.


  • Speaking of this rotation, hours after getting picked for Game #2, Kyle Hendricks went out and tossed two innings against the Athletics, featuring three strikeouts, no walks, and just one hit. However, after a fielding error by Albert Almora in center field (man, that feels weird to type), which would’ve ended the inning, Khris Davis launched a two-run homer to center. The runs were unearned, but the homer happened. These are just the facts, people.
  • Justin Wilson followed Hendricks with a scoreless, one strikeout frame of his own (with no walks!), before others from the projected regular season bullpen got some action: Justin Grimm (1.0 IP, 1H, 1ER, 1K), Mike Montgomery (1.0 IP, 2H, 0ER, 1K), and Carl Edwards Jr. (1.0 IP, 0H, 0ER, 2Ks). Altogether, the Cubs pitching staff rattled off 12 strikeouts and no(!) walks against the A’s today. Given the way their command fell off at the end of the 2017 season, that’s always going to be a little encouraging, even in Spring Training.
  • On the offensive side of the ball, Efren Navarro smacked a double and Ryan Court hit a homer. Almora (0-3), Javy Baez (0-2, BB), Anthony Rizzo (1-2), Addison Russell (1-2), and Jason Heyward (0-2, BB) all had pretty quiet days at the plate. Chris Gimenez, however, went 2-2 with 4 RBI and seems well on his way to securing the backup catcher gig. Frankly, it’s his to lose (the Cubs may not want Victor Caratini sitting on the bench as often as he would in the Majors right now anyway).
  • Final Score: Cubs 7, Athletics 5. That’s a W:

  • Kris Bryant was out again today, and it sounds like he might take another day or two:

  • High fives and happy faces all around:

  • Yo, Ian Happ hit a hole-in-one … or is just bragging to impress Kelly:

  • Love this look:

  • Later, when asked if he ever imagined being slotted between Jon Lester and Yu Darvish, Hendricks said he could never have expected it. And on the hope, one day, to be the Opening Day starter, Hendricks had a sly response …

  • Today was glove day, apparently, which is not something I was acutely aware of:

  • Javy Baez might be a bad man …


  • … but he’s a good kid:

Brett Taylor contributed to this post.

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami