Cubs Offense Sputters Against Indians Pitching – Indians 3, Cubs 2

Spring Training Game Eighteen – Cubs (ss) 2, Indians (ss) 3

WP – Justin Masterson (2-0) LP – Travis Wood (0-2) Save – C.C. Lee (2)

For the third time this spring the Cubs offense could not figure out the Indians’ pitching staff, and the Cubs dropped their third Cactus League game to Cleveland on Sunday afternoon.

Travis Wood bounced back nicely from his last spring outing. Wood held the Indians to two runs on four hits with no walks and eight strikeouts in five innings of work. Both of the runs Wood was charged with scored in the first inning after Brett Jackson appeared to misplay a ball in right field. Wood was very efficient the remainder of his outing. Wood retired 10 in a row at one point and had to finish running his pitch count up in the bullpen after he left the game (20 pitches in pen to increase pitch count near 90 for the day).

Hector Rondon served up a solo home run to Carlos Santana in the sixth inning that accounted for the Indians’ third run.

James Russell gave up a hit in his second outing of the spring. And Arodys Vizcaino lit up the radar gun in his inning of work. Russell, Vizcaino and Jonathan Sanchez kept the Indians off the board over the last three innings of the game.

The Cubs offense could not string together hits against Justin Masterson and the Indians’ pitching staff on Sunday. The Indians’ Opening Day starter limited the Cubs to just two hits with no walks in his five innings of work. Masterson struck out eight batters and Indians’ pitching totaled 12 strikeouts on the afternoon with only three walks.

The Cubs had more than their share of opportunities. The split squad went 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position while leaving eight men on base.

Luis Valbuena (2-for-3 with two doubles and a RBI) doubled in Junior Lake (1-for-3 with a run scored) in the sixth. And the Cubs last run scored in the ninth when Brett Jackson (1-for-4 with a double) rolled into a 6-4-3 double play that allowed minor leaguer Dustin Geiger to score from third base.

The Cubs slipped to 8-10 in the Cactus League with Sunday’s loss to the Indians.

Scoring Plays

The Indians jumped out to an early lead in the first inning. Asdrubal Cabrera led off the game with a single to center. Travis Wood caught Elliot Johnson looking for the first out. Carlos Santana doubled to left. With runners on second and third with one out, Yan Gomes was called out on strikes. Jeff Francoeur followed and hit a liner out to right. Brett Jackson appeared to freeze at first before he drifted back. The ball sailed over his head. Francoeur slid in safe at second as Cabrera and Santana scored, 2-0 Indians. Mike Aviles grounded out to short for the third out.

The Indians made it 3-0 in the sixth when Carlos Santana took Hector Rondon to the opposite field and onto the berm in left. Rondon settled down and struck out Gomes and retired Francoeur on a flyout to left to end the inning.

Bryan Shaw replaced Justin Masterson in the sixth, and the Cubs finally got on the board. Shaw struck out Bonifacio swinging for the first out. Junior Lake stepped in a hit a smash back up the middle that Francisco Lindor was able to get a glove on. With Lake at first, Luis Valbuena doubled to left center. Lake scored, 3-1 Indians. Mike Olt fouled out to Yan Gomes and John Baker grounded out to short to end the inning.

The game remained 3-1 Indians until the ninth inning.

Dustin Geiger, up for the day from minor league camp, worked a leadoff walk against C.C. Lee. Christian Villanueva singled to center and Rubi Silva reached on an error by Francisco Lindor. With the bases loaded and no outs, Brett Jackson grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Geiger scored, 3-2 Indians. Villanueva advanced to third but was stranded when Albert Almora popped out to second to end the game.


Travis Wood pitched better than his final line indicates. Wood hit his spots and threw strikes. Wood did not let the misplayed ball by Brett Jackson disrupt his outing. Wood threw around 70 pitches over five innings and had to throw another 20 in the bullpen to get his pitch count up.

Despite giving up the solo homer to Carlos Santana, Hector Rondon pitched a lot better Sunday than he did in his last outing as well. Rondon hit his spots and like Wood, he threw strikes.

James Russell was also efficient and gave up one hit in his inning of work. Russell faced four batters and retired three of them.

Arodys Vizcaino lit up the radar gun. Vizcaino’s fastball topped out at 98 mph and was consistently in the mid-90s. Vizcaino walked a batter and gave up a pair of hits but was able to escape the jam on a good play from Christian Villanueva and Dustin Geiger.

Jonathan Sanchez faced the minimum in the ninth.

The Cubs have a third straight split squad day on Monday afternoon. Edwin Jackson and half of the Cubs’ roster will host the Angels at Cubs Park while James McDonald and the rest of the roster make the short trip to Phoenix to face Scott Kazmir and the Athletics.

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