Angels Pummel Cubs Pitching, Bryant Bashes Late– Angels 15, Cubs 3

Spring Training Game Two – Cubs 3, Angels 15

WP – Jered Weaver (1-0) LP – Chris Rusin (0-1) Save – None

Two pitchers vying for a spot in the Cubs’ rotation struggled mightily in their first outing of the spring while the Cubs’ offense managed only one run on three hits over the first six innings. And the Cubs dropped the second game of the spring 15-3 to the Angels in Tempe on Friday afternoon.

Chris Rusin, James McDonald and Jonathan Sanchez allowed 13 of the Angels’ 15 runs in the first four innings. And Rick Renteria had to make two pitching changes just to get out of the fourth inning. Paolo Espino, up for the day from minor league camp, recorded the final out in the fourth before tossing a scoreless fifth inning.

Cubs pitching gave up 15 runs on 15 hits with eight walks and seven strikeouts on Friday afternoon to a majority of the Angels’ Opening Day lineup.

Darwin Barney (2-for-2 with a home run) was the Cubs’ offense for the first six innings. Barney launched a solo homer to the back of the berm in left field in the fourth inning. Jered Weaver had his way with the Cubs’ offense during his three shutout innings of work.

Kris Bryant (1-for-1 with a home run and two RBI) and Albert Almora (1-for-2 with a double and a run scored) provided a glimpse of what could be down the road for the Cubs. Almora doubled to left in the seventh and scored on Bryant’s first home run of the spring. Bryant put together an excellent at bat that ended with a mammoth home run just to the right of straight away center on a 3-2 pitch. The ball easily cleared the short wall to the left of the batter’s eye and traveled well over 420 feet.

Javier Baez (0-for-3) made his first start of the spring and hit the ball rather hard in his three plate appearances but came away with nothing to show for his efforts. In the fifth inning, Baez (SS), Arismendy Alcantara (2B), Kris Bryant (3B), Jorge Soler (RF), Albert Almora (CF) and Brett Jackson (LF) were on the field at the same time and Josh Vitters (1B) joined them an inning later. Dan Vogelbach was up with the big league team for the day from minor league camp and went 0-for-1 in his only plate appearance.

The ‘kids’ provided a glimpse of the future on Friday afternoon as the Cubs dropped to 0-2 in the Cactus League.

Scoring Plays

Mike Scioscia ran out his Opening Day lineup with the exception of Josh Hamilton for the Angels’ spring opener and his lineup torched Chris Rusin, James McDonald and Jonathan Sanchez.

After an efficient first inning, Chris Rusin retired David Freese on a grounder to third for the first out in the second. Howie Kendrick followed with a single to left (3-1 pitch) that rolled right under Donnie Murphy’s glove. A play that should have been made. Rusin walked Raul Ibanez (3-2 pitch). Chris Iannetta doubled to center, Kendrick and Ibanez scored, 2-0 Angels. Aybar singled to right center on a 3-0 pitch. Iannetta scored, 3-0 Angels. J.B. Shuck grounded out to second. Aybar was forced at second and Shuck took over at first base. Kole Calhoun followed with a single to right. Shuck advanced to third with two outs. Mike Trout made it 4-0 with a single to center that plated Shuck. Chris Bosio made a trip to the mound before Pujols stepped in. Rusin was given the call on a 3-2 pitch to Pujols to end the inning.

Darwin Barney made it 4-1 Angels with his first home run of the spring with one out in the fourth.

Chris Iannetta led off the fourth with a home run to left center on a 2-0 pitch. James McDonald then walked Aybar on four pitches. Mike Scioscia called for a hit and run on a 2-0 pitch to Shuck. The ball went into center through the spot vacated by Baez, who went to cover second. McDonald walked Calhoun to load the bases. Bosio and the Cubs’ trainer went out to check on McDonald after the walk but he said he was fine and stayed in the game.

McDonald fell behind Mike Trout … and he made McDonald pay. Trout launched a 2-0 pitch out of the park in left … 9-1 Angels. McDonald walked Pujols on four pitches after Trout’s slam. Renteria decided that was enough and went to the pen for Jonathan Sanchez.

Sanchez uncorked a wild pitch on a 1-0 offering to Freese. Pujols went to second then advanced to third when Freese grounded out to second. Kendrick rolled a 2-1 pitch toward first. Chris Valaika fielded the ball but paused before throwing toward the plate. Pujols stopped. George Kottaras did not react quickly and everyone was safe. Ibanez hit a routine grounder to short. Baez fielded and tossed to Barney for the force on Kendrick. Ibanez reached and Pujols scored, 10-1 Angels. Sanchez walked Aybar and Iannetta to load the bases. J.B. Shuck tripled down the right field line. Three runs scored and the Angels went up by a score of 13-1. Renteria made the slow walk, again, and brought in Paulo Espino. Calhoun grounded out to second to finally end the inning.

The game remained 13-1 until the seventh inning.

Albert Almora doubled to left on a 2-2 pitch with one out. Kris Bryant stepped in with two outs after Jorge Soler was caught looking for out number two. Bryant put together a long at bat. Bryant worked the count full then fouled off two 3-2 offerings. Bryant launched his first homer of the spring just to the left of center, 13-3 Angels.

The scoring on the afternoon was capped in the eighth after Frank Batista gave up a two-run homer to Jett Brandy.

Ian Stewart, Chad Tracy and Carlos Pena made appearances against the former team on Friday.

Pitching

Chris Rusin simply does not have the stuff to pitch from behind to big league hitters, and that is exactly what he did Friday afternoon in his second inning of work. Rusin retired the top of the Angels’ Opening Day lineup in order to start his outing. Rusin struck out Mike Trout and needed only 12 pitches, eight for strikes, to record three outs. Rusin’s second inning was not very good and it could have an impact on James McDonald’s outing. Rusin threw 38 pitches in the second inning, 21 for strikes, and was on the mound for a very long time. Rusin pitched from behind in the count and gave up four runs on five hits. McDonald started warming up at the beginning of the inning, stopped halfway through, then resumed when Mike Trout stepped to the plate. Rusin got the call on the third strike to Albert Pujols to end the inning, but if Rusin had not retired Pujols, Renteria was going to make a pitching change.

Like Rusin, James McDonald was effective in his first inning of work. McDonald carried his command issues from the pen to the mound but he still got the job done. McDonald retired the Angels in order in the third on 11 pitches, seven for strikes.

The fourth inning was an extremely long inning. McDonald battled himself, pitched from behind and even received a visit from Chris Bosio and a trainer before being lifted without recording an out. McDonald was charged with six runs on three hits with three walks in the fourth inning. And he threw 21 pitches, three for strikes.

Jonathan Sanchez struggled with his command as well and recorded only two outs before Renteria made the slow walk and pulled him from the game. Sanchez was charged with three runs on one hit, a wild pitch and two walks on 29 pitches, 15 for strikes, in two-thirds of an inning.

Paulo Espino, Tommy Hottovy and Carlos Pimentel kept the Angels off the board before Frank Batista, up for the day from minor league camp, gave up two more runs in the eighth inning on three hits and a walk.

Saturday is a split squad day for the Cubs, weather permitting. The Cubs are scheduled to host the Giants in the afternoon and then make the short trip to Scottsdale to take on the Diamondbacks on Saturday night. Travis Wood is slated to make his spring debut against Matt Cain and Giants while Edwin Jackson faces Archie Bradley and the Diamondbacks under the lights. Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant will be in the starting lineup in Scottsdale, if there is a game.

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Quote of the Day

"Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you." - Arnold Palmer
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  • GaryLeeT

    I was none too pleased that the Cubs could not get at least one baserunner on in the ninth, so I could see another Bryant AB.

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  • paulcatanese

    Nice report Neil, could not get the game. Some interesting play by the kids. I’m sure everyone would like to see them play more.
    Other than them, the only thing left would have been to spend the day in the sun, maybe a barbeque on the side. How’s the food at the park, heard glowing reviews by Dan Rowan on the TV.

  • Ripsnorter1

    James McDonald just made the rotation with his sparkling performance today.

    When you want to lose 120 games, you need a guy like him starting every fifth day for you.
    The Cubs need to trade Samardzija NOW if they expect to toss the entire season in April.

    • Eugene Debs

      I don’t know, Rusin and Sanchez looked promising as well.

      • mutantbeast

        Sanchez cant throw strikes to a little leaguer.

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  • mutantbeast

    At least the kids didnt disappoint. Rusin stinks, hes not even a big league pitcher.