The Cubs played their first road game of spring training against the Giants in Scottsdale Sunday. Tyler Chatwood started and allowed a two-run homer to Brandon Belt in the 1st inning, but did not walk a batter in the first of his two innings of work. Progress.
The Cubs jumped all over San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner in the 2nd inning, eventually scoring eight runs in the frame. Albert Almora Jr. and Victor Caratini, among others, had RBI singles while Kyle Schwarber and Anthony Rizzo had bases-loaded walks.
In a scary moment at the start of that inning, David Bote took a Bumgarner pitch to the helmet. Bote left the game and was examined by a Giants doctor, but the Cubs said he should be fine going forward. Even though the Giants scored a few runs in the middle innings to make the game a bit closer, the early offensive explosion was enough to give the Cubs a win. (Box score)
Why The Cubs Won
A baseball team that posts a snowman in a single inning tends to win that game. It’s not set in stone, but it is a good rule of thumb.
To say the 2nd inning was the key moment is repetitive, but doesn’t make it any less true. Especially against an ace pitcher like Madison Bumgarner.
Stats That Matter
- Schwarber doubled and made a great catch in left in addition to his bases-loaded walk.
- Addison Russell played in his first game since his suspension, which will continue in the regular season. He singled and hit a sacrifice fly in two plate appearances.
- Dillon Maples pitched a walk-free inning with two strikeouts as he vies for a bullpen spot.
- Caratini had two hits of his own in three at bats.
You can’t tell much from spring training, but getting a big offensive effort against a legit pitcher is nice. Especially after the offensive issues late in 2018.
The Cubs have split-squad action Monday afternoon, taking on the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch and the Padres in Mesa. Both games are at 2:05 CT and the Dodgers game is on MLB.tv.