The Cubs faced the Mariners Tuesday at Sloan Park. Seattle’s major league team is in Tokyo to start their season, so Yu Darvish took the mound against a mostly minor-league lineup, while Joe Maddon put out a lineup that resembled a regular season game.
Darvish once again looked strong on the mound, striking out six and giving up one earned run. But with two outs in the 5th inning and a 2-2 count, Darvish left the game with a blister on his right ring finger. Carl Edwards Jr. got the last strike to retire the side and stayed to pitch the 6th, but was ejected after hitting Austin Nola with a pitch (Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras were both hit by pitches earlier in the game).
After the Edwards ejection, Cubs pitchers held the Mariners at four runs. The Cubs offense had a big 3rd inning, sending nine to the plate and scoring three runs. In the 8th inning, Cole Roederer hit a home run and Nico Hoerner added to his monstrous stats with a triple. (Box score)
Why the Cubs won
The Cubs chipped away at Mariners pitching while Darvish held them to two runs. Mike Montgomery, Matt Carasiti, and Brad Brach had scoreless relief appearances. Playing a minor league team doesn’t hurt either.
The Cubs played National League baseball in their half of the 3rd inning. Anthony Rizzo answered the shift by laying down a perfect bunt for an infield single. After the bases were loaded by a Bryant hit-by-pitch, Kyle Schwarber hit a sac fly. The final run of the inning was driven in by Darvish on a sharp single.
Stats that Matter
- Javier Baez is still a free swinger, with only one walk this spring and a .294 OBP going in to the game, but he’s yet to hit a home run.
- Jason Heyward hit his first and second extra base hits of the spring.
- Tyler Chatwood gave up a home run (but no walks!) in 1.1 innings.
With injuries to relievers Pedro Strop and Brandon Morrow, it would have been reassuring to see Darvish looking healthy. The good news is, blisters heal faster than inflamed shoulders.
Tonight, watch on MLB.tv or listen on 670 The Score as the Cubs face the Royals at 8:05pm CT. On Wednesday, Cole Hamels takes the mound at Sloan Park against the Dodgers at 9:05pm CT. Watch on NBC Sports Chicago+ or listen on MLB.com.