At this point in the spring I really don’t care about what the box score says despite the fact that I provide one to you daily. What I do care about is the eye test, and how guys feel after performing, and it appears that all is good on that front for Yu Darvish. Darvish made his 2019 debut which was highly anticipated coming off a lost 2018 that ended prematurely with an injury. Reports from the game were that Darvish was sitting at 94-95 MPH, and touched 96 per Cubs Insider/Len Kasper.
All in all Darvish worked 1.1 innings and struggled in finding the strike zone. 36 pitches, 17 for strikes doesn’t exactly scream excitement but again, he looks and feels good.
The Cubs scuffled again at the plate but they definitely made the most of their hits. They only had three hits but managed to push across four runs which obviously wasn’t enough because if you read the headline you already knew they lost. Albert Almora Jr. smacked a double out of the lead-off spot, and Javy Baez picked up his first hit of the Spring in the loss.
Cole Hamels will make his 2019 debut against the Rangers, the team he spent the majority of 2018 with.
Two spring games, and two victories for the Cubs as they wiped the floor with the Giants today. Now I’m sure the Cubs will lose at some point this year (maybe?), and spring doesn’t mean much of anything but it’s nice to see two wins on the board early.
The second inning told the story in this one as the Cubs exploded for eight runs, six of those runs off postseason world beater Madison Bumgarner. The Cubs implemented the death by a thousand cuts attack as only two of their thirteen hits were of the extra base variety. Albert Almora had a good day out of the lead-off spot going 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber also made their 2019 debut today and were effective at the plate. Schwarber looked particularly good going 1-for-1 with two walks, and an RBI double off Bumgarner.
Tyler Chatwood got the start today, and only managed to walk one batter. That number is a bit deceiving as Chatwood worked behind in the count repeatedly, hit a batter, and gave up a two run shot to Brandon Belt. At this point the results mean little for Chatwood, it’s more about finding the strike zone, and today would have to be summed up as… meh. Two intriguing arms that could factor into the Cubs 2019 bullpen tossed scoreless innings today. James Norwood worked his way out of some trouble after giving up two hits, and walking one in his inning of work. Meanwhile, Dillon Maples was spitting hot fire, he struck out two without allowing a base-runner in the victory.
Next up for the Cubs, split squad action in the desert. Christian Bergman will get the start against the Dodgers while Jon Lester gets his first crack at spring action against Manny Machado’s Padres.
The Smokies have a rather decent outfield, Albert Almora and Jacob Hannemann patrolling the same outfield has to make a pitcher feel pretty good. Both guys put on a display last night, the Smokies are a fun group to watch.