The Cubs held on to win 4-3 over the Royals today and have now won 5 out of their last 6.
Jason Hammel had his best start of the spring with 4 innings of two-hit, no-run baseball. He struck out 3 and lowered his ERA to an even 6.00. After the game he said his goal was to work on fastball command and said he felt he accomplished that goal.
The battle of the lefties continues to be an interesting one with Zac Rosscup and Phil Coke each providing a scoreless inning. Coke gave up 1 hit, but no walks and struck out 1, while Rosscup just walked 1 with no hits.
Chris Denorfia reached base 3 times today with 2 hits and walk to bring his spring average up to .250.
Anthony Rizzo went 2 for 2 with a 2-out RBI single off of Wade Davis. Rizzo has had a slow start to the spring, but nothing to worry about here.
Matt Szczur may just end up making this team after the spring he has had. He had a bunt single in the 5th, then stole 2nd for his 3rd stolen base and came around to score on Rizzo’s two-out single.
To make Szczur’s day even better, he made back-to-back great plays in left. One of the plays saw him drop the ball but run fearlessly into the fence (he received some medical attention, but stayed in the game) and the other was a leaping catch at the wall.
The Cubs have been aggressive on the bases so far and by aggressive, I mean a little sloppy. Denorfia was picked off of first after his 1st inning single (taking the team out of a possibly big inning because Rizzo followed with a single).
In the 6th inning, Javier Baez had just stolen 2nd base, but then tried a delayed steal of 3rd base and was out by at least 5-10 feet when he was already in scoring position.
The defense almost had a complete meltdown in the 9th inning to give the game away. Francisley Bueno came in for the final 3 outs and retired the first 2 hitters to start, but after he fielded what should have been the 3rd out on a comebacker from Terrance Gore, he proceeded to throw the ball too high at first and Gore reached.
The very next play Jonathan Herrera couldn’t cleanly field a grounder to him at short and both runners were safe. The next hitter had an RBI single, which prompted a pitching change for the final out (Perakslis, who struck out Lane Adams).
Tomorrow the Cubs will travel to face the Dodgers at 3:05 (CST). Jake Arrieta will get the start and the game will again be broadcast on Cubs.com.