The Cubs’ regulars played winning baseball for six innings at beautiful Sloan Park for the early portion of the split-squad day/night doubleheader. That gave way to the minor league contingent, which held it together in the last few frames en route to a 7-3 win against the Rangers.
José Quintana pitched six quality innings, giving up only one run on a Logan Forsythe solo bomb in the 4th inning. Quintana had six strikeouts, didn’t walk a batter, and gave up only four hits, mixing his fastball and changeup quite effectively all day.
Javy Báez did the heavy lifting on offense early on, scorching an RBI single to left to score Kyle Schwarber in the bottom of the 1st inning. Then he sat back and mashed a three-run blast to straight away center field after Trent Giambrone and Willson Contreras had walked in front of him in the bottom of the 3rd.
In the bottom of the 7th inning, pinch runner Wynton Bernard scored on a wild pitch after stealing both second and third bases before Ben Zobrist added a bomb to right field. Bernard concluded the Cubs’ scoring on the day after the big leaguers departed, ripping a single to right field to score D.J. Wilson.
After Quintana’s six strong innings, the Cubs bullpen held on to the lead, as most of the arms we saw paraded out will be under the bleachers at Wrigley come the regular season. Tyler Chatwood threw a scoreless 7th, Brandon Kintzler tossed a scoreless 2/3 of an inning, and Carl Edwards Jr. got one out in the 8th after giving up a solo shot to Josh Altmann (coincidentally, in almost the same exact place as Forsythe’s, just out of reach for Cubs’ left fielder).
Matt Carasiti, not likely to make the Opening Day roster, finished out the game looking like a tale of two pitchers in striking out Patrick Wisdom on a nasty split and then proceeding to give up the third and final solo home run of the day for the Rangers to Danny Santana. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
Quintana showcased sparkling command and mixed his pitches superbly. Baez provided more than enough offense, driving in four runs on the day with a single and a home run. Not to be overlooked, Cubs pitchers did not walk a Rangers hitter all day. That bodes extremely well for a bullpen that featured Chatwood and Edwards today.
Baez leaned back and hit a low first-pitch fastball from Connor Sadzeck over the center field wall for his first home run of the spring. Beautiful swing, beautiful result. More please, Javy.
Stats that Matter
- Quintana went 6 IP with no walks and gave up only 4 hits on the day. That’ll get it done.
- Baez was 2-for-2 with a single, home run, and walk. He had 4 RBI on the day and looked like the guy who terrorized N.L. pitchers for most of 2018.
- Chatwood threw a tidy 1-2-3 7th inning and looked really good, hitting 95 mph and throwing lots of strikes. He continues his run of excellent relief outings on the spring.
If the Cubs play like they did today at Sloan Park, they’ll win a lot of ball games at Wrigley Field (and other parks around the league).
Cubs fans don’t have to wait very long for more baseball, as the night portion of the day/night doubleheader will be played at 8:05pm CT at Goodyear Ballpark against the Indians. Duane Underwood Jr. will be on the hill for the Cubs as the JV squad tries to solve Corey Kluber for the Tribe. Tonight’s game will be televised with Cleveland’s announcers for those of you who have MLB.tv and can also be heard on 670 The Score.