Spring Training Game Eighteen – Cubs 0, Rockies 2
WP – Jorge De La Rosa (1-1) LP – Edwin Jackson (0-2) Save – Will Harris (2)
The Cubs wasted two bases loaded opportunities in the first three innings of Wednesday’s game before the bats went cold. The Cubs were shut out for the first time this spring after managing six hits, one after the third inning, and finishing the game 2-for-10 with RISP while leaving eight on base.
Edwin Jackson put together his best outing of the spring. Jackson surrendered one run on three hits with a walk and two strikeouts over five innings. Jackson retired seven in a row at one point and 12 of the last 14 batters he faced. Jackson threw strikes in his longest outing of the spring, and kept the ball down (six groundball outs).
The Cubs’ pen was very good as well, outside of communication issues between Kyuji Fujikawa and Dioner Navarro that led to the Rockies’ second run in the sixth inning. Fujikawa and Navarro could not get on the same page, and it led to the Cubs’ new setup man having his roughest outing of the spring. Fujikawa walked a pair of batters that loaded the bases but he was able to wiggle out of the jam with allowing only one run.
Cory Wade, Carlos Marmol and Jensen Lewis each tossed a scoreless inning.
Starlin Castro returned to the starting lineup on Wednesday and reached base in both of his plate appearances. Castro walked on four pitches in his first at bat, then singled to left on a 0-2 pitch in his last at bat in the third. Darwin Barney (2-for-3) also did his job and got on base. The middle of the Cubs lineup of Alfonso Soriano (0-for-3 with a strikeout and five left on base), Scott Hairston (1-for-3 with a strikeout and three left on base) and Dioner Navarro (0-for-3 with a strikeout and six left on base) could not come up with a run scoring hit. Josh Rutledge made a sensational defensive play in the first inning to keep a ball on the infield off the bat of Scott Hairston that would have plated a run. Jorge De La Rosa had his way with the Cubs’ offense once runners were on base. The Cubs could not figure out his changeup and struck out six times against De La Rosa over his four innings of work.
The Cubs did not manage a hit after Castro’s single in the third until the ninth inning.
Dioner Navarro had another good game behind the plate. While he struggled at the dish and had communication issues with Fujikawa, Navarro picked off a runner from first base and threw out another trying to steal second base.
Brent Lillibridge (0-for-1) made his first appearance in a Cactus League game in over two weeks.
The Cubs received strong performances from three pitchers that are projected to be on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster … and two very good outings from a pair of relievers battling for a job. So while the spring result was not positive, the several players did more than just get their work in.
Eric Young reached on an infield hit to Starlin Castro to start the ballgame. Josh Rutledge hit into a 4-6 force out. Rutledge took over at first and held when Jackson retired Carlos Gonzalez on a flyout to center (1-2 pitch) for the second out. Troy Tulowitzki drilled a double to left and plated Rutledge with the first run of the game. Michael Cuddyer popped out to Castro to end the inning.
Luis Valbuena hit leadoff for the Cubs on Wednesday, and grounded out to first (3-1 pitch). Darwin Barney followed and singled to center on De La Rosa’s first pitch. Starlin Castro stepped in and walked on four pitches. Soriano popped out to center. With runners on first and second with two down, Scott Hairston dribbled a 0-2 pitch back up the middle. Josh Rutledge made a diving stop on the shortstop side of second base … and kept a run from scoring. With the bases loaded and two down, Navarro struck out swinging to end the inning.
Edwin Jackson retired the Rockies in order in the second, three grounders to Starlin Castro. Jackson put together a quick 1-2-3 third inning, at that point, Jackson had retired seven straight.
The Cubs loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the third and came away empty. Luis Valbuena walked to start the third. Darwin Barney reached on a swinging bunt up the third base line (3-2 pitch). Starlin Castro singled to left on a 0-2 pitch to load the bases with no outs … but Alfonso Soriano and Scott Hairston struck out swinging and Navarro flied out to center to end the inning.
After three innings, the Cubs trailed 1-0 and were 2-for-7 with RISP and six left on base.
The Rockies scored their second run in the sixth off Kyuji Fujikawa. Torrealba walked to start the inning, then advanced on a single off the bat of Eric Young Jr. Rutledge struck out looking but Fujikawa walked Carlos Gonzalez and loaded the bases ahead of Troy Tulowitzki.
At that point Chris Bosio, the team’s interpreter and Navarro had a meeting on the mound with Fujikawa. Tulowitzki hit a sac fly to right that plated Torrealba with what turned out to be the final run of the game. Fujikawa struck out Michael Cuddyer swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs put runners on first and second with no outs in the ninth. Steve Clevenger reached on a single and Johermyn Chavez walked … but Darnell MacDonald was caught looking at a 3-2 pitch. Jorge Soler popped out to first and Brad Nelson grounded out to second to end the game.
The Cubs make the trip to Glendale on Thursday to take on the Dodgers. Chris Rusin is scheduled to face Chris Capuano.