Spring Training Miscellany: Fly the Crosstown T, Tepera and Wieck and Steele Debut, Miller Solid Again

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Spring Training Miscellany: Fly the Crosstown T, Tepera and Wieck and Steele Debut, Miller Solid Again

Chicago Cubs

Patrick Wisdom came through in the 9th off of new closer Liam Hendriks to tie this one at four, so I’m gonna act like this game was suddenly a big crosstown deal! No win for you, Dylan Cease and the White Sox! Now you don’t win the trade!

Alec Mills was a little wilder than usual today, though he also didn’t benefit from quick outs thanks to having a let’s-try-things-out defense behind him (Eric Sogard at shortstop, Matt Duffy at first base, Ildemaro Vargas at third base, David Bote at second base). I tend to think he’s being viewed by the Cubs as the opening week fifth starter, based less on anything he does this spring, and more on the Cubs wanting to see if he can improve on last year’s performance (by, for example, improving the results against lefties). I am also pretty curious to see what he can do in that regard, so I’m good with him being “given” a rotation spot to open the season.

Ryan Tepera made his debut, and he was getting hit a bit, but he’s not necessarily a guy trying to win a job at this point – I’m pretty sure he’s in the “if he’s healthy, he’s in” group, so you can consider his debut today a matter of just getting in the work. He was out there just throwing strikes for the most part.

Lefties Brad Wieck and Justin Steele made their spring debuts today, too, each looking just fine. Both could wind up contributors out of the bullpen this year (though it remains TBD whether the Cubs will give Steele another year to keep starting).

Shelby Miller once again looked mighty usable out there. Not necessarily dominant, but you just could see plenty of usable pitches and command as a guy to give you innings. Heck, maybe he was dominant (three Ks and just one hit in his two innings of work, with tons of soft contact). He’s in on a minor league deal, and there might not be a rotation job for him from day one, but the Cubs may need to figure out a way to get him plenty of big league innings. Maybe that means he opens in the bullpen as the long guy, or maybe it means they pay the $100,000 roster bonus to keep him around at the alt site for the first month until a rotation spot opens up. I just keep thinking about how his last fully healthy year was him dominating with the Braves. It’s just that he hasn’t had a fully healthy year since 2015.

Michael’s not wrong:

I have no idea what Adam Eaton was thinking here, but the best part is that, since he was out by SO much, it led to a hilariously bad attempt at avoiding a tag:

https://twitter.com/CubsZone/status/1371566629008576512

You don’t see David Bote doing this kind of two-strike slap very often (it’s easy to command everyone to do it, but it doesn’t work for everyone, and some guys are just better off overall staying with their ‘A’ swing):

Clearly, that heckler lacks … intelligence:



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.