Spring Training Miscellany: Cubs Win on a Familiar Bote Blast, Strop Returns and Dominates, More

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Spring Training Miscellany: Cubs Win on a Familiar Bote Blast, Strop Returns and Dominates, More

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs won last night in an exhibition game over the Red Sox 3-2, in what was very likely the final tuneup for most of the Cubs’ regulars. And, naturally, it was another attendance record:

  • The winning run came on a familiar-looking late-inning David Bote blast:

  • Even with Ian Happ starting the season at AAA, the fight for starts at second base is going to be tough for Bote. Ben Zobrist is still a guy you want in the lineup regularly, and the Cubs brought in Daniel Descalso for a reason. Still, if Bote could successfully patch the hole that materialized at the top of the zone last year as pitchers learned him a bit more, he could be quite a breakout candidate for the Cubs this year. I wouldn’t hate seeing the Cubs faced with a conundrum when Addison Russell returns from suspension, trying to figure out how to accommodate everyone who is playing well.
  • The best news from the game, by far, was the healthy return of Pedro Strop, who not only felt no ill-effects from his hamstring strain (dude is Wolverine), but also looked ungodly nasty:

https://twitter.com/Cubs/status/1110370503208898560

  • Strop also had a fantastic comment after the game about the state of the team:

  • With the state of the bullpen what it is to open the season, and before the Cubs really know what they have in their unestablished guys, Strop could not be more critical. Keep doing you, Pedro.
  • Speaking of which, I’m definitely concerned that Steve Cishek – who missed a chunk of time with an illness – couldn’t finish his inning for the second time in a row. The Cubs are going to have to monitor him very closely early in the year to make sure things didn’t get out of whack for him.
  • The presumed lefty bullpen competitors finished this game off, with Randy Rosario cleaning up for Cishek and then pitching another scoreless inning (1 H, 2 K). Kyle Ryan closed the game out with a perfect 9th, including striking out JD Martinez.
  • Cole Hamels was perfectly solid in his final spring outing, including a monster home run, because why not?
  • I doubt it matters, because again, guys work on stuff, they don’t play regularly, and they don’t face guys they are prepping for in the same way they will during the regular season, but Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant, who were the hottest two guys in the first couple weeks of Spring Training, have been ice cold the past couple weeks. Again, I seriously doubt it matters, but I noticed it, so I’m noting it.
  • Daniel Descalso (shoulder) got an at bat in this one and struck out. He is expected to open the season active, but I suppose we’ll see.
  • Spring Training ends today, with another tilt against the Red Sox. You are unlikely to see TOO many regulars in this one.


Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.