Spring training facilities are all so different, at least when compared to the Cubs facility at Sloan Park. Some are new, some are old but most are a lot smaller than Sloan. And almost every away Cubs game I’ve been to this spring has resulted in a record crowd for that team. That’s pretty cool and just goes to show how committed Cubs fans are. Here are a few highlights from the game today, which the Cubs won by the score of 9 to 6 against the Reds. And here’s more detail in the shape of a box.
- Jason Hammel is following the script when it comes to Cubs starting pitchers and they’re all starting to look regular season ready. He went five innings giving up three hits, one walk and two runs (one unearned due to another Soler error in left field) while striking out three batters. Jason looked in control for most of the day with the exception of one walk, a stolen base, then a double in the fourth inning, followed by the Soler error. Otherwise, very good day for him.
- Kyle Schwarber looked sharp behind the plate. He called a good game and worked nicely with Hammel. Oh, and Kyle threw out two runners, in the 2nd and 3rd innings, that were caught taking aggressive leads on first base. I’m not sure this changes the catcher equation for Maddon but it at least keeps things interesting for him.
- The Cubs regulars looked good again today and we’ll likely continue to see more and more of them as the spring winds down. The fourth inning started with a Fowler double down the line. Heyward reached on an error and then Fowler came in to score on a wild pitch to Ben Zobrist. Here’s the video of that sequence:
Fowler Scores on wild pitch:
- Zobrist and Rizzo then both walked, which led to the bases being loaded with Cubs. And then Kris Bryant came up and people started to pay attention. There was almost a silence that came over the crowd, like on Sunday in church. And Kris hit…..a line drive single to drive in one run (no home run this time, folks, sorry). Rizzo must have missed the hold sign from third base coach, Gary Jones, which ended in him getting tagged out at third base. It’s all in the video below.
- The most impressive hit of the day was a deep home run by Anthony Rizzo that went way over the center field wall to score two runs in the top of the 6th inning. Rizzo will win the MVP this year, book it.
- Tim Federowicz just keeps hitting. He pounded a two-run home run in the top of the eighth inning today. He’s hitting .318/.348/.601 in Cactus League play. That’s solid. The Cubs minor league guys have made some noise this spring. They will be an important component this season and it will be fun to watch them when they get called up.
Tomorrow is a double header of sorts. The first game is a Cactus League match-up against the Rangers at Surprise Stadium and starts at 3:05 CDT with Kyle Hendricks on the mound throwing against Derek Holland. The second game starts thirty minutes after the end of the first game. It’s the 2nd annual Futures game which will feature prospects from the Cubs and Rangers. That one is gonna be cool to watch just to see who plays. I’ll be there all day for both games and will post a thread on my twitter account.