Baez and Ibarra Lead Cubs to First Win of the Spring – Cubs 4, Brewers 2

Spring Training Game Four – Cubs 4, Brewers 2

WP – Marcus Hatley (1-0) LP – Mike Fiers (0-1) Save – Alberto Cabrera (1)

wflag-pub2014Javier Baez homered, Eric Jokisch tossed three innings of no-hit, shutout baseball and Walter Ibarra broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh with a two-run single as the Cubs topped the Brewers in Maryvale on Monday afternoon. And Rick Renteria picked up his first exhibition win as the Cubs’ manager.

The Cubs seemingly had runners on base against the Brewers staff all afternoon. But the difference in the exhibition game was the pitching. The Cubs held the Brewers to two runs on five hits despite walking seven batters. Eric Jokisch set the tone Monday with three scoreless, no-hit innings. Jokisch walked two batters and struck out one in the longest outing by a Cubs’ starter over the first four games.

Blake Parker and Wesley Wright struggled Monday and allowed the Brewers two runs. Marcus Hatley, Tommy Hottovy, Arodys Vizcaino and Alberto Cabrera kept the Brewers off the board over the final four innings.

Javier Baez (2-for-3 with a home run) launched his first homer of the spring in the second inning that gave the Cubs a brief one-run lead. Baez played a very good game at shortstop as well. Luis Valbuena (1-for-3 with a double and a RBI) drove in Ryan Roberts (1-for-3 with a run scored) with a two-out double in the fifth. Walter Ibarra (1-for-1 with two RBI) replaced Baez at shortstop in the sixth and drove in the go ahead runs with a two-out single in the seventh.

Ryan Kalish (1-for-1 with a walk and a run scored), John Baker (2-for-3) and Darnell McDonald (1-for-3 with a run scored) also contributed to the 11 hits the Cubs recorded Monday afternoon. The Cubs were 1-for-6 with RISP and left eight men on base.

Scoring Plays

The Cubs jumped out to an early lead on Monday when Javier Baez his first home run of the spring. Baez launched a Marco Estrada pitch over the wall in center for the first run of the game.

Milwaukee tied the game at one in the fourth after Ryan Braun led off the inning with a double against Blake Parker. Parker gave up a two-out bloop single to Juan Francisco that plated Braun with the tying run. Junior Lake missed the cutoff man and catcher and Francisco advanced to second on the throw. Parker’s command problems continued and he walked Sean Halton and Martin Maldonado to load the bases. Parker got out of the jam by striking out Elian Herrera swinging to end the inning.

The Cubs took the lead right back in the top of the fifth against Brandon Kintzler. Ryan Roberts reached on a two-out single to center. Luis Valbuena stepped in and hit a double to center over Carlos Gomez’s head. Roberts scored, 2-1 Cubs. Junior Lake walked. With runners on first and second with two down, Javier Baez hit a one-hop smash right at Scooter Gennett (second base) to end the inning.

The Brewers tied the game at two in the bottom of the fifth. Ryan Braun reached on a two-out single to center off of Wesley Wright. Kentrail Davis ran for Braun and scored on a double to center by Carlos Gomez. Mark Reynolds grounded out to Baez near the second base bag to end the inning.

The game remained tied at two until the seventh inning.

Mike Fiers replaced Wei-Chung Wang for the Brewers in the seventh. And Darnell McDonald greeted him with a single to center. Ryan Kalish singled to right and the Cubs had runners on first and second with no outs. Fiers caught Logan Watkins looking for the first out and Christian Villanueva looked at strike three for the second out of the inning. Brett Jackson made his first plate appearance of the game and walked to load the bases. Walter Ibarra, hitting in Baez’s spot in the lineup, ripped a single into center. McDonald and Kalish scored, 4-2 Cubs. Aaron Cunningham popped out to short to end the inning.

Pitchers

Eric Jokisch was very good on Monday. Jokisch became the first Cubs’ starter to last three innings this spring. Jokisch did not light up the radar gun, and will not, but he had very good command and location Monday. Jokisch threw 55 pitches over three no-hit, shutout innings (no runs, no hits, two walks, one strikeout in three innings).

Blake Parker struggled with his command and could not locate a breaking pitch. Parker allowed one run on two hits with two walks and a strikeout in one inning of work. Parker has a tendency to run deep counts when he pitches and with the new arms in camp, he needs to throw strikes if he wants to be part of the Cubs’ bullpen on Opening Day.

Wesley Wright struggled again Monday in his second outing of the spring. Wright gave a run on two hits after recording the first two outs of the inning.

Marcus Hatley and Tommy Hottovy kept the Brewers off the board in the sixth and seventh innings. Hatley and Hottovy both walked a batter and Hatley gave up a hit.

Arodys Vizcaino hit the first batter he faced Monday and that was the only solid contact in the inning. Vizcaino plunked Taylor Green on the left elbow with a pitch that appeared to be a strike. Vizcaino retired the next three batters with a little help from Christian Villanueva at third base on a ball hit behind the bag.

Alberto Cabrera picked up the spring save as he continued struggling with his command. Cabrera walked a batter in his inning of work.

Cubs ‘B’ Game vs. the Giants

The Cubs and Giants played a ‘B’ game at Cubs Park on Monday morning to make up for some of the innings lost by Saturday’s rainouts. The two teams played to a 5-5 tie.

Jason Hammel tossed two innings of scoreless baseball, but reportedly had to work out of jams in both innings. Hammel allowed four hits, three did not leave the infield and the fourth was a soft liner to left. Hammel’s final line was no runs on four hits with one walk, one HBP and three strikeouts. Hammel faced 12 batters.

Justin Grimm gave up a hit and no runs with two strikeouts in his inning of work. Jose Veras also pitched Monday and faced the minimum in his one inning of work. Pedro Strop followed Veras, reports have not surfaced on how Strop pitched.

Kris Bryant recorded two hits and one was a double to left to start the fourth. Matt Szczur also collected two hits and drove in a run with a triple. Albert Almora picked up two hits as well. And Jorge Soler was hit in the forearm but stayed in the game. Mike Olt started at first base and worked a walk against Jeremy Affeldt.

The Cubs host an Oakland Athletics split squad on Tuesday afternoon. Kyle Hendricks is scheduled to make his first start of the spring against lefty Tommy Milone.

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Quote of the Day

"What scares me is what scares you. We're all afraid of the same things." - John Carpenter

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  • Tom U

    The breaking news is that Bill Buckner is retiring as the hitting coach for the Boise Hawks.

    In two seasons with Boise, the Hawks have had the highest batting average in the Northwest League and produced back-to-back batting champions, Stephen Bruno and Kevin Encarnacion.

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  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    I gotta give it up to Critic. It appears to me that Almora may be ahead of where some have suspected he is in development. I think he has a real shot to be in Chicago in 2015. I still think Bryant and Baez will both beat him here, probably Alcantra too, but Almora looks like a real player. And with the head he supposedly has on his shoulders, barring injury he strikes me as the type of player that is going to be the exception to normal minor league trajectory.

    • GaryLeeT

      I want to give you crap about your occasional unfounded optimism, but the smiling you avatar staring back at me, makes nearly is impossible to do. Nearly.

  • Eugene Debs

    A win!

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