Darvish makes his wild debut, Cubs fall to Diamondbacks

Copyright: USA TODAY

Full Box Score

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.

On deck:

Cole Hamels will make his 2019 debut against the Rangers, the team he spent the majority of 2018 with.

Cubs ruin perfect season by not allowing Bryant to play in both games (VIDEOS)

I don’t understand the thought process, but the Cubs decided to let Kris Bryant only play in one game today, so obviously they only won that one.  That’s right, the dream of an undefeated season came to an end today as the Cubs could only take care of the Padres while losing to the Dodgers.

Full Box Score

This one was an uphill battle from the jump as the Dodgers blitzed the Cubs for three quick runs in the bottom of the first off Christian Bergman.  It didn’t get much better from there as Cubs’ pitchers combined to give up fourteen hits, and eleven runs over eight innings of work.  To make things worse, the combo of Bergman, Kyle Ryan, Ian Clarkin, and Manuel Rondon walked six guys in six innings.

Not much better at the plate for the Cubs as they could only manage two runs on four hits in the loss.  The lone bright spot at the plate was second baseman Trent Giambrone who went 2-for-4 with a double and his first home run of the spring.

Full Box Score

A much better result at “home” against the Padres, as this Cubs team was led by the big lefty Jon Lester who made his spring debut.  Lester was sharp, he walked the first guy he faced, allowed him to steal 2nd and 3rd then got out of trouble per usual.  Lester worked two innings, allowing only one base-runner and striking out three.  Working out of trouble was all the rage in this one as Brandon Kintzler, Brian Duensing, and Randy Rosario all worked scoreless innings despite heavy traffic on the bases.

A couple of loud noises from the Cubs hitters today.  Willson Contreras, and Jared Young launched long home runs, a three run shot for Contreras and a two run dinger for Young.  Kris Bryant was picked off first in this one which is the only time that he has made an out this spring, he finished the day with no official AB’s and two walks.

The 3-1 Cubs are back at it again tomorrow afternoon against the D-Backs when Yu Darvish will make his much anticipated 2019 debut.

Series Preview – Rangers @ Cubs; April 16 – April 18, 2013

The Cubs welcome another tough opponent to Wrigley, quite the back-to-back series as the Cubs, who are coming off a series with Giants now entertain the Texas Rangers.  As bad as the weather was this past weekend it might be even worse this week.  Tomorrow’s game looks okay, but Wednesday and Thursday are supposed to be wet, very wet, 70% chance of rain each day.  Obviously with this being an inter-league series they will do everything they can to get these games in.  Darwin Barney is scheduled to make his return to the Cubs lineup tomorrow, and he has been missed greatly in the defensive lineup.  One could say the Cubs have had some bad luck in the early going this year, but they have made most of that luck, if they just convert their save opportunities this team could be no worse than .500, just have to keep fighting.

Last Series:

The Cubs lost three out of four to the Giants at home.

The Rangers split a four game series with the Mariners in Seattle.

Game Times and Broadcast Information:

  • Tuesday, April 16, 2013 – 7:05 PM CST on CSN Chicago
  • Wednesday, April 17, 2013 – 7:05 PM CST on WGN TV
  • Thursday, April 18, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on WGN TV. MLBN

Starting Pitchers Scheduled:

Cubs:

Game One – Travis Wood (1-0, 1.46)
– Career vs. Rangers (First appearance)

Game Two – Carlos Villanueva (0-0, 0.64)
– Career vs. Rangers (8 appearances, 2 GS) (1-1, 3.16)

Game Three – Jeff Samardzija (1-2, 2.75)
– Career vs. Rangers (First appearance)

Rangers:

Game One – Derek Holland (0-1, 2.40)
– Career vs. Cubs (1 GS)  (0-0, 3.00)

Game Two – Justin Grimm (0-1, 4.50)
– Career vs. Cubs (First appearance)

Game Three – Alexi Ogando (2-0, 1.08)
– Career vs. Cubs (First appearance)

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not:

Let’s start with “not” for the Cubs.  The bullpen, and defense, both have been a disaster lately, and for the most part of the year.  The pen has been bad at the worst time too, in the seventh inning or later the Cubs have a bullpen ERA of 5.67 Castro previewwhich is 29th in the Majors.  That number alone says a lot as the Cubs have had a chance to win pretty much every game they have played so far this year, maddening.  Carlos Villanueva has been a big part of getting the ball to the seventh inning this year as he has been outstanding, unfortunately he has nothing to show for it except a sparkling 0.64 ERA.  Starlin Castro has basically made up for his slow start in the last seven days as he is hitting .379 over that period of time.  The only guy hotter is David DeJesus who is hitting .381 over that same period of time.  Another big reason for the Cubs early season struggles has been their success or lack thereof with runners in scoring position, they are hitting a paltry .141, 29th in the Majors.

The Rangers look rather different this year, but still come into this series with an 8-5 record.  Gone are Josh Hamilton and Michael Young, but the Rangers have persevered early in the season.  A big reason is the play of two newcomers, Lance Berkman, and everyones favorite catcher, A.J. Pierzynski.  Berkman is hitting .389 in the early going, and Pierzynski is hitting .342 so far.  Ian Kinsler has found some power in the early going and has stayed healthy, he’s Rangershitting .292 with four home runs and nine RBI’s.  David Murphy is struggling mightily, he is hitting .160 on the season, that’s with fifty at bats too (8-for-50).   Yu Darvish is the high-profile name on the Rangers staff, but the guy that is pitching like a number one is Alexi Ogando, and the Cubs will see the latter in this series.  Ogando has been outstanding, he is 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA, and opponents are hitting only .194 against him this season.  The Rangers also boast the fourth best bullpen in all of baseball with a 2.06 ERA from their relief pitchers.  Moral of the story, get to their starters early.

Bold Prediction:

The Cubs win the two out of three if all games get played.  A few breaks have to start going the Cubs way soon….right….Go Cubs!

Thanks for reading,
– George