Absolutely nothing doing with the bats today, except for Chris Denorfia who went bonkers on Johnny Cueto pitch with two outs in the third. The story of the day was the pitching, Travis Wood dazzled in his outing as he closes in on the number five spot in the rotation. Wood worked five scoreless innings, giving up four hits while walking one, and striking out four. It’s been a rough go of it for Brian Schlitter so far this spring, but he turned in two spotless innings out of the pen in the win.
The Cubs make their 2015 WGN debut today as they battle Johnny Cueto and the Reds at 3:05 PM CST from Sloan Park. Travis Wood gets the ball for the Cubs as he looks to continue a strong-ish spring with eyes on the 5th spot in the rotation. Command has been much better for Wood as he has yet to walk a batter this spring, he has given up seven hits in five innings, but no free passes helps. The Cubs lineup is missing Bryant so that will make everyone sad, but there are some exciting players to watch today, like Addison Russell who is having the best spring of anyone not named Kris Bryant.
1. Fowler – CF
2. Denorfia – LF
3. Rizzo – 1B
4. Montero – DH
5. Baez – 2B
6. Baxter – RF
7. Ross – C
8. La Stella – 3B
9. Russell – SS
SP – Travis Wood
The Cubs remain without a victory so far this spring, but let’s be honest, today is all about the power showcase that was displayed. In the 4th inning Jorge Soler, Javier Baez, and Kris Bryant went back-to-back-to-back, how is that even possible?? Three straight dingers is odd enough, but THOSE three guys doing it when fans were clamoring for just that, crazy. Travis Wood found too much of the plate today as he surrendered seven hits in just three innings of work while giving up four runs, two earned. The rest of the Cubs offense started to kick it into high gear today as they pounded out twelve hits, hopefully that is a sign of things to come. Everyone who pitched today struggled, except for Pierce Johnson, he worked two scoreless innings.
Travis Wood will make his second start of the spring today as he takes the mound against the Indians. Wood was very good his first time out, and a second solid performance would go a long way towards cementing that 5th spot in the rotation. It’s a prospect heavy lineup for the Cubs today as Alcantara, Soler, Baez, Bryant, and Russell are all starting. First pitch today is at 3:05 PM CST, and the game will be on TV! Well, it’s on MLB.tv, you need a subscription to watch, but you can listen for free if you have an account via MLB.tv as well.
1. La Stella – DH
2. Lake – LF
3. Alcantara – CF
4. Soler – RF
5. Baez – 2B
6. Bryant – 3B
7. Castillo – C
8. Valaika – 1B
9. Russell – SS
SP – Travis Wood
The young Cubs provided the fireworks early against the Giants before the bullpen couldn’t find away to get outs, and blew a 5-0 lead en route to an 8-6 loss. It was a lineup that had Cubs fans buzzing, Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, and Kyle Schwarber, oh my. It was Schwarber who did the heavy lifting as he jacked a grand slam in his first at bat, giving the Cubs an early 4-0 lead. The Cubs pitching made that hold up early on as Jacob Turner, and Pierce Johnson were on top of their game, Johnson was particularly impressive.
At the plate:
- Kyle Schwarber was the star at the plate going 1-for-3 with said grand slam.
- Jorge Soler hit a number of balls hard, he finished the day 1-for-3 with a run scored.
- Billy McKinney came on late and went deep, he finished the day 1-for-1 with an RBI.
- Kris Bryant went 0-for-2 with a walk, and a run scored.
- Addison Russell was 1-for-3 with a run scored.
- Albert Almora didn’t start but finished the day 2-for-2, good to see.
On the mound:
- Jacob Turner got the start, and battled command early, he worked two scoreless innings, giving up one hit while walking two, and striking out one.
- Pierce Johnson was outstanding, he worked two scoreless innings, giving up no hits while walking one, and striking out one.
- Corey Black struggled, he worked one inning, giving up one run on one hit while walking two, and hitting Hunter Pence, breaking his forearm, ouch.
- Hunter Cervenka was worse, he was only able to register one out, he gave up five runs, four earned, on four hits while walking two.
A tie. The Cubs and A’s tied today. Mike Olt got the offense off and running early as he blasted a two-out, two-run bomb. Unfortunately that was all the Cubs could muster as they went scoreless the rest of the way while scratching out only five hits. The pitching was outstanding as Travis Wood, Neil Ramirez, and Drake Britton, among others, shut down the Athletics offense.
At the plate:
- MIKE OLT! Olt finished theday 1-for-2 with a home run, and two RBI.
- Chris Coghlan was 1-for-1 with a run scored.
- Newcomer Miguel Montero was 1-for-2 in the tie.
On the mound:
- Travis Wood got the start, and was flawless. Wood worked two scoreless innings giving up no hits, walking none while striking out two.
- Neil Ramirez was stupid good per usual. Ramirez worked one scoreless inning while striking out two.
- Drake Britton was pretty good in his first audition for a bullpen spot. Britton worked a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.
- Gonzalez Germen had the plate jump around a bit, but he was fairly effective. Germen worked two scoreless innings, giving up one hit while walking two, and striking out two.
On a rainy Arizona day, Joe Maddon made some comments about the rotation. Kyle Hendricks will be in the rotation to start the season, there had been some speculation that he wasn’t ticketed for a rotation spot earlier on but that was unfounded. The news gives Cubs fans an idea of what will be happening this spring, an all out battle for the number five spot between Edwin Jackson, Travis Wood, Felix Doubront, Tsuyoshi Wada, and others, namely Jacob Turner.
The other news out of camp today… Jon Lester is your opening day starter. To me this was a done deal as soon as the Cubs committed loads of money to the lefty, but some fans thought that Jake Arrieta earned the chance to be that guy. Spring games start THIS THURSDAY, the rotation has been announced; Wood vs A’s, Turner vs SF on Thursday, Lester on Friday, Hammel/Doubront on Saturday; Arrieta/Wada on Sunday; Jackson/Hendricks on Monday.
Solid pitching? Check. Just enough hitting? Check.
It seems simple, but the Cubs have played some solid baseball over the past 90 games (45-45 before tonight), and they aren’t showing any signs of slowing down with their latest win in Cincinnati tonight, their fourth straight. Travis Wood found his 2013 magic against his former employer, he worked six scoreless innings, giving up just two hits, while walking one, and striking out five. The Cubs pen shut, no, slammed the door once again, as Neil Ramirez, Pedro Strop, and Hector Rondon were lights out. Wood picked up his eighth win of the season, and Rondon registered his 22nd save of the year.
Offensively the Cubs got started in the first, and that was all they needed. Anthony Rizzo hit an absolute bomb off of Cy Young candidate Johnny Cueto in the first, it was his 30th home run of the season, that’s impressive. Starlin Castro returned from the bereavement list tonight, and picked up right where he left off, he went 2-for-4 in the win. Arismendy Alcantara joined the fun late, as he blasted a two-run shot to give the Cubs some insurance in the seventh.
Get ready for Jorge Soler, he debuts tomorrow!
Note: Anthony Rizzo left the game late with some back tightness, he should be fine.