Spring Training Game Eight – Cubs (ss) 2, Indians 7
WP – Carlos Carrasco (2-0) LP – Edwin Jackson (0-2) Save – None
Half of the Cubs’ spring roster struggled against Indians’ pitching for the second day in a row as the Cubs lost to the Tribe 7-2 on Friday afternoon at Cubs Park.
Kris Bryant (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) provided the only highlight for the Cubs on a day the Indians’ staff struck out 16 batters without issuing one walk. The Cubs struck out at least one time in every inning and in five different innings the offense struck out twice.
The Cubs offense was pretty much non-existent, just four hits on the afternoon, but the exhibition game was closer than the final score indicates. Cleveland broke the game open with a three-run ninth inning against Blake Parker.
After his outing Edwin Jackson said he was working on his fastball Friday and that was all he threw. Jackson allowed three runs on four hits (one home run) with no walks, two HBP and two strikeouts in three innings.
Carlos Villanueva was fine in his second outing of the spring. Villanueva allowed one run on two hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings. Wesley Wright and Arodys Vizcaino faced the minimum in their one inning of work. Blake Parker struggled with his command again, found himself in a lot of deep counts and was charged with three runs on three hits with two walks and one strikeout in a third of an inning.
It doesn’t matter if it is Spring Training or the regular season, 16 strikeouts and only four hits will lead to a loss every time regardless of the pitching performances.
Nyjer Morgan led off the game with a single to left (2-0 pitch). Mike Aviles followed and Edwin Jackson quickly fell behind in the count. Aviles launched a 2-0 pitch into the Cubs’ pen beyond the left field wall and gave the Indians a 2-0 lead. Jackson retired the next three batters he faced to end the inning.
After Jackson worked around a leadoff double by Ryan Rayburn in the second inning without allowing the Indians to tack on, Ryan Sweeney reached on an error by Jeff Francoeur in left (he dropped the ball) to start the Cubs’ second inning. Javier Baez hit a towering fly ball to deep left that Francoeur hauled in for the first out. George Kottaras struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch. Sweeney was running and swiped second. Kris Bryant then tied the game with his second longball of the spring. Bryant took a 2-0 pitch out to right. Carlos Carrasco struck out Aaron Cunningham to end the inning.
The Indians grabbed the lead right back in the third inning. Jackson struck out Morgan for the first out before he hit Aviles. Jackson struck out Lonnie Chisenhall for the second out. With Yan Gomes at the plate, Aviles stole second. Gomes then doubled off the wall in right center. Aviles scored, 3-2 Indians. For good measure, Jackson hit Jason Giambi and put two on with two down for Carlos Moncrief, who was hitting for the injured Ryan Rayburn (he crashed into the wall in right on Bryant’s home run). Moncrief flied out to Sweeeny (running catch, robbed of extra bases) to end the inning.
The game remained 3-2 Cleveland until the sixth inning.
Carlos Villanueva took the hill in the sixth for his third inning of work. Villanueva walked David Adams (hitting for Giambi) to start the inning. Moncrief singled to right and Francoeur grounded into a 6-4 force than put runners on the corners with one out. Villanueva struck out Elliot Johnson, however David Cooper singled to right. Adams scored, 4-2 Indians. Rick Renteria went to his pen for Yoanner Negrin, who was up for the day from minor league camp. Negrin retired Tyler Naquin on a flyout to left for the third out.
The Indians broke the game open in the ninth.
Blake Parker started the ninth with the Cubs down two runs by a score of 4-2. Parker struck out Jesus Aguilar swinging to start the inning. Tim Fedroff singled to left, Tyler Naquin singled to center and Parker walked Justin Sellers to load the bases with one out. Ryan Rohlinger singled to left. Fedroff scored, 5-2 Indians and the other runners moved up ninety feet. Parker then walked Tony Wolters, forced in Naquin and Renteria went to his pen. With Cleveland up 6-2, the bases loaded and one down, Renteria summoned Frank Batista from the pen. Batista spent the day with the Major League team on loan from minor league camp. David Adams hit Batista’s first pitch into center. Matt Szczur hauled it in. Sellers tagged and scored, 7-2 Indians. Batista struck out Matt Carson swinging to finally end the inning.
Edwin Jackson had a typical Edwin Jackson outing Friday on the surface. Jackson explained all of the hittable pitches when he said he was only throwing fastballs. Jackson could really use a good outing this spring to quiet his critics.
Carlos Villanueva remains in the mix for the fifth spot in the Cubs rotation and didn’t really hurt his stock Friday. Villanueva mixed his pitches and got his work in.
Wesley Wright put together his best outing of the spring with a 1-2-3 seventh inning. Wright retired Justin Sellers, Lonnie Chisenhall and Yan Gomes in order (groundout, liner back to the mound and swinging strikeout) in his inning of work.
Arodys Vizcaino lit up the radar gun again. Vizcaino hit 96 mph with his fastball and was mixing in a low-to-mid 80s breaking ball. Vizcaino struck out two of the three batters he faced.
Blake Parker is pitching his way to Iowa this spring. Parker faced six batters, all but one reached, and half of them scored. Parker put himself in a lot of deep counts and recorded only one out … the first batter he faced. Parker needs a couple of good outings and quick if he wants to be with the big league team in Pittsburgh on March 31.
The Cubs make their second trip in three days to Goodyear to take on the Reds on Saturday afternoon. Jason Hammel is scheduled to face Alfredo Simon.