It was a picture-perfect day in Mesa with hardly a cloud in the sky until the later innings and the Cubs’ bats were shining just as brightly as the Arizona sun. The home team benefited from excellent pitching as well, including an incredibly efficient three-inning performance from Zach Davies. He worked so quickly that he had to get in a few extra throws in the bullpen after being lifted.
Though the game did feature a pair of homers, one of which pushed four runs across in the box score and three in real life, the Cubs managed to manufacture tallies as well. That hasn’t always been the case for them over the last few seasons and spring games aren’t true barometers, but it was good to see nonetheless. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
Collecting 14 hits while holding the other team to two is usually a good formula for success and that was the case Monday afternoon.
Singles by Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant put men at the corners in the bottom of the 5th, but both men were lifted for pinch runners. Trent Giambrone took off for second on ball four to Joc Pederson and Alfonso Rivas broke for home to score when the catcher made a terrible mental mistake by throwing to second.
Then Javy Báez launched a three-run shot that the box score shows was a grand slam because the various substitutions had everything all jacked up. Even at the ballpark they were having trouble updating the lineup as changes took place.
Stats That Matter
- Davies was sharp, getting six of his nine outs on the ground and limiting hard contact: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 BB
- Javy’s first homer of the spring was hit well into the batter’s eye portion of the outfield berm in center.
- Nico Hoerner is crushing everything, going 2-for-3 with a single and ground-rule double that were both tagged right on the screws.
- Infield prospect Chase Strumpf displayed a lot of oomph with a dinger to left against former Cubs great Spencer Patton.
The Cubs look like a team that is starting to put things together. With the exception of a few areas in which players just need to dial in their timing a bit more, they seem to be both purposeful and aggressive. While that should go without saying, it hasn’t always been that way of late.
The Cubs welcome the A’s to Sloan Park Monday at 2:05pm CT as Trevor Williams takes the mound for the second time this spring. Marquee Sports Network has the broadcast.