Cubs Held in Check by Brewers’ Pitching – Cubs 3, Brewers 4

Spring Training Game Ten – Cubs (ss) 3, Brewers 4

WP – Marco Estrada (1-0) LP – Edwin Jackson (0-1) Save – Alfredo Figaro (1)

The Cubs dropped the second game of the split squad day to the Brewers in Mesa on Sunday afternoon.

Edwin Jackson had a rough second outing of the spring, and really labored in the first inning. Jackson struggled with his command, and while he completed two innings of work, his effort should be considered rocky at best. Jackson allowed two runs on two hits with three walks and a hit batsman with only one strikeout.

The Brewers essentially put the spring game away against Drew Carpenter. Carpenter allowed two runs on four hits without a walk and four strikeouts in three innings. The Cubs’ pen of Hisanori Takahashi and Kyuji Fujikawa pitched two scoreless frames. Tony Zych and Zac Rosscup, up for the day from minor league camp, combined on a scoreless eighth and Trey McNutt retired all three batters he faced in the ninth.

The Cubs offense could not get on track against Marco Estrada. Estrada allowed only one hit and a pair of walks over four shutout innings.

Javier Baez (1-for-3 with a home run, a walk and three RBI) drove in all three of the Cubs’ runs on Sunday afternoon in Mesa. Baez cracked his first home run of the spring, a two-run shot in the fifth, then walked with the bases loaded in the sixth. Brett Jackson (0-for-1 with two walks, a HBP and a run scored) reached base in three of his four plate appearances.

The Cubs offense managed only two hits, walked seven times and three batters were hit by pitches (0-for-5 with RISP, eight left on base).

Dan Vogelbach (0-for-1 with a walk), Tim Saunders (0-for-1, HBP), John Andreoli (HBP) and Zeke DeVoss (pinch ran for Vogelbach in the ninth) were with the big league team for the day from minor league camp.

Edwin Jackson labored through the first inning of Sunday’s game in Mesa. Jackson walked two batters, hit another, and barely made it through the inning. Jackson retired Aoki on a grounder to short (3-2 pitch) before giving up a single to Jean Segura (1-1 pitch). Segura swiped second on a 3-1 pitch to Weeks. Jackson missed on a 3-2 pitch and walked Weeks. Carlos Gomez stepped in with two on and one down. Jackson jumped ahead 1-2 before hitting Gomez to load the bases. Jackson then issued a four-pitch walk to Logan Schafer, and forced in the first run of the game.

Taylor Green ripped a 2-2 pitch into left. Gomez scored on the single, 2-0 Brewers. Jackson struck out Donnie Murphy, and retired Blake Lalli on a grounder to Javier Baez at short for the third out.

Luis Valbuena walked on four pitches to start the Cubs’ first inning. Valbuena stole second on a 0-2 pitch to Barney. Anthony Rizzo flied out to the track in center, and Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging to end the inning.

Edwin Jackson continued struggling in the second inning. Jackson walked Kentrail Davis to start the inning. Aoki fouled out to Castillo. Jean Segura tapped back to the mound, but Jackson airmailed his throw to second base. With runners on first and second and one down, Rickie Weeks grounded into a 5-4-3 inning ending double play (2-1 pitch).

Nate Schierholtz led off the second with a double off the wall in right … but Marco Estrada picked him off, then made quick work of Castillo and Hairston.

Andrew Carpenter served up a long homer to Carlos Gomez to start the third … the ball reportedly left the park. Schafer grounded out to first base. Taylor Green doubled to left center, and scored on a two-out double to left off the bat of Blake Lalli. Carpenter retired Davis on a grounder to second for the third out.

Brett Jackson put together an excellent at bat to start the third. Estrada jumped out to a 0-2 advantage but Jackson was patient and ended up walking. Baez (struck out looking) and Valbuena (flied out to deep right center) could not advance Jackson. Barney reached on an error by Murphy at third. With two on and two down, Rizzo flied out to right center to end the inning.

Andrew Carpenter sat down the Brewers in order in the fourth.

Alfonso Soriano and Nate Schierholtz made loud outs to start the fourth, but Estrada sat down the Cubs in order in his final inning of work.

The Cubs finally got on the board in the fifth. Brett Jackson worked a one-out walk then trotted around the bases when Javier Baez went yard for the first time this spring. Baez launched a 1-1 pitch onto the berm in left center.

Hisanori Takahashi made quick work of the Brewers in the sixth. Takahashi set down the side in order as Dan Vogelbach (1B), Tim Saunders (2B) and Junior Lake (3B) took over in the field.

The Cubs’ offense showed a lot of patience in the sixth, and were able to chip away against Kelvim Escobar. Nate Schierholtz worked a one-out walk, then stole second on a 1-1 pitch to Scott Hairston with two down. Hairston ended up working a walk. Escobar then plunked Brett Jackson to load the bases with two down. After the first pitch to Baez, Escobar was lifted with an arm injury and was replaced by Michael Olmsted.

Javier Baez was very patient and put together a good at bat. Baez walked and forced in Schierholtz with the Cubs’ third run of the game. Dan Vogelbach stepped to the plate and struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) to end the inning.

Kyuji Fujikawa made his way in for the seventh … and retired the Brewers in order in his third outing of the spring.

Tony Zych and Zac Rosscup kept the Brewers off the board in the eighth … and Trey McNutt pitched a scoreless ninth.

The Cubs were not able to tie the game up in the ninth despite two hard hit balls off the bats of Brett Jackson and Javier Baez. Dan Vogelbach worked a two out walk, Zeke DeVoss ran for him but Tim Saunders was caught looking to end the game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Gameday for Play-by-Play

The Cubs host the Indians on Monday afternoon … Alberto Cabrera is scheduled to face Carlos Carrasco.

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  • brent carmona

    Neil and others, curious to know if teams use scouting reports during spring training to prepare before games? Or do the players just focus strictly on getting their work in without looking at reports?

    Just trying to get a better idea if the teams know the other teams strengths/flaws in spring…and gives me a better idea on say a guy like bjax/baez, do they know how to approach them or are they just pitching to them like any other batter?

    • Neil

      For the most part, especially early, teams do not use advance scouting in the spring. This time is basically about players getting their work in and staying healthy. You will see teams shift on some players, like the Brewers did today with Soriano, but that usually happens against teams in the same division.

      Teams will move more into regular season mode with about 10 games left. Pitching match-ups, platooning players. But not now.

      I would not read too much into the stats. With that said, I really like what Brett Jackson has done. The swing looks good, and he is not expanding his zone, especially on 3-2 pitches like he did last year.

      • brent carmona

        Thanks Neil, I try not to worry about spring stats much for obvious reasons. but great to hear your thoughts on bjax….glad him, soler, baez etc get to have a good look at higher levels of talent this spring, regardless of their statistics

      • DWalker

        out of curiosity, when is the first Jackson can be called up without sacrificing a year of control?

        • Tom U

          DWalker, I know you asked Neil, but this is a subject that seems to come up every year. The Super 2 date isn’t determined until until there is an agreement between MLB and the Player’s Union. It is usually somewhere between the last few days in May to the first couple of weeks in June.

          Because Jackson appeared in 44 with the Cubs last season, the earliest he might be called up without jeopardizing his status will be around All-Star break, with a more reasonable date sometime near the trading deadline.

          • Neil

            Thanks Tom.

        • Neil

          I really think Jackson is on the Rizzo-plan in more than one way. If Jackson can carry his new swing into the PCL and succeed, look for him in late-June, early July as soon as he passes the date that would give the Cubs an extra year of control.