Cubs on the Wrong End of a Spring Shutout – Indians 1, Cubs 0

Spring Training Game Seven – Cubs 0, Indians 1

WP – Aaron Harang (1-0) LP – Justin Grimm (0-1) Save – Scott Barnes (1)

The Cubs outhit the Indians 9-4 on Thursday afternoon in Goodyear but the offense could not push across a single run and the Cubs dropped their fifth game of the spring.

Travis Wood was very good in his first Cactus League start. Wood tossed three innings of shutout ball and was so efficient with his pitches that he had to finish getting his pitch count up in the bullpen. Wood allowed one hit and no walks with three strikeouts.

The only blemish for Cubs pitching came in the fourth inning when Justin Grimm issued a bases loaded walk to Asdrubal Cabrera that forced in Nick Swisher with the only run of the game.

Hector Rondon, Chang-Yong Lim, Marcus Hatley and Tommy Hottovy each tossed one inning of shutout baseball. And Cubs pitching on the day allowed one run on four hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.

The Cubs’ offense pounded out nine hits to go along with five walks and seemingly had runners on base all afternoon. The Cubs went 2-for-11 with RISP and left 11 runners on base. The Cubs loaded the bases twice with less than two outs in the first six innings and could not string together enough hits to plate a run.

Anthony Rizzo (2-for-3) collected two more hits. Emilio Bonifacio (2-for-4 with a stolen base) reached base twice on infield singles and swiped a base. Darwin Barney (1-for-3), Donnie Murphy (1-for-3 with a double), Mike Olt (1-for-3) and Albert Almora (1-for-3) recorded a hit apiece. And not only did Barney see time at shortstop on Thursday, but so did Logan Watkins. Watkins took over for Barney at short in the sixth inning.

Slugging percentage wins games and of the 11 hits the Cubs managed Thursday, only one went for extra bases. With the loss in Goodyear, the Cubs slipped to 2-5 in Cactus League play.

Scoring Plays

Justin Grimm replaced Travis Wood for the fourth inning. Nick Swisher reached on an infield single to third to start the inning. Jason Kipnis followed with a single to left and the Indians had two on with no outs. Carlos Santana hit a chopper to Olt at first. Olt took the sure out at first as Swisher and Kipnis moved up ninety feet. Grimm then plunked Michael Brantley. With the bases loaded and one out, Asdrubal Cabrera worked a full count then took ball four. Swisher scored, 1-0 Indians. After a visit from Chris Bosio, Grimm caught Yan Gomes looking at a 0-2 pitch and David Murphy grounded out to short to end the inning.

And the game ended with the same score, 1-0 Indians.


Travis Wood put together the second best outing by a Cubs’ starter so far this spring. Albert Almora made a diving catch to take a hit away from Jason Kipnis in the first inning and Michael Brantley doubled with one out in the second, but that was all.

Justin Grimm gave up half of the Indians hit total for the afternoon and the only run of the game. Grimm settled down after his meeting with Chris Bosio and even threw his slider, which is a new pitch he reportedly learned from Yu Darvish.

Hector Rondon issued a four-pitch walk to Nick Swisher with two outs in the fifth. Rondon did his job and recorded the outs, but he went to a three-ball count to three of the four batters he faced.

Chang-Yong Lim faced the minimum in the sixth. Marcus Hatley gave up a leadoff single to Yan Gomes but that was all in the seventh and Tommy Hottovy pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning.

Friday is a slit squad day for the Cubs. Half of the roster will host Cleveland with Edwin Jackson taking on Carlos Carrasco while the other half will travel to Tempe to take on the Angels. James McDonald is scheduled to face Hector Santiago.

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  • paulcatanese

    So far, this spring has all the earmarks of last year. Same type of team, they score runs, they get little pitching, get pitching, they get very few hits.
    Won and lost records will also be about the same. Lose 2-3, win 1-2, then lose 2-4, win 1.
    Not a lot to look forward to, except the games will be closer.
    The rookies will be back to Iowa and the same veterans will be on the North Side. Why play the games?

    • SuzyS

      Paul, I really respect you, my friend…and God knows losing is tough….but coming from Chicago…you should know that 85 and balmy at Wrigley Field is the next step to heaven after an extremely cold, snow- filled winter.
      Heaven is when we win it.
      Heck, I’m ready to watch Peter LaCock and Lindy McDaniel again at this point:-)

      Baseball is the best game in the world…and while our record might suck this year while we’re building…There’s still going to be some thrills and chills from unexpected sources…and there’s always the minor leagues to follow.

      Paul…that’s why we play the games.

      • paulcatanese

        There were some thrills here Suzy, spent the last 24 hours making fried chicken. One marinated in Buttermilk and the other from Del Rhea’s
        RTE 66 outside of Chicago, visited that place back, way back.
        Well the one from route 66 turned out bad but the buttermilk turned out great, but turned my back as the wife was cleaning and she had thrown both out.
        But then that’s why I cook..

    • GaryLeeT

      I hear you. These spring games are going to be the only time we get to see a lot of the players who matter to the team’s future. For that reason, S.T. is my Cub’s season, because it just isn’t going to get any better than the promise of hope, verses the reality of regular seasons designed for losses, for quite some time to come.

      • paulcatanese

        I guess that’s what bums me, knowing what’s going to be there for the year, and what’s out there now.
        In all fairness I have made the same complaint for the last several years,
        just can’t seem to get the right team out there.

      • mutantbeast

        Correct-and I like what Ive seen so far, particulary from Baez and Almora. Frankly, Almora looks like the kid can rope a liner in his sleep.

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  • paulcatanese

    Another thing on Baez. When he was signed, I didn’t like him, his attitude, and he is slowly turning me around, I was wrong.
    As far as his talent, I don’t think I am. He has talent, real talent.
    I don’t think he can be brought up too soon, he will weather it and produce, he has the talent and the ego to get him over the hump.
    I believe he is just as good right now as a couple of others that were brought up early, Mel Ott and Al Kaline to just name two.
    And right now, better than that kid that plays center for the Nationals.
    He will be a guy that will pack them in to see him play. Bring him North, spend the extra bucks that it will cost in “control”, the kids a crowd pleaser. Oh, I feel the same about Bryant, super kid.

    • BillyFinT

      I and my friend, we were watching a Cubs S.T. game at a pub, and we were chatting about baseball in general without much attention paid to the game. But when Baez came up and swung, my friend, who’s a Redsox fan and never understood Minor league, instantly noticed:

      “That was real talent. Look at that swing. He started late but didn’t need a split of a second to adjust and make contact.”

    • Tony_H

      I want Baez up and right now to. I think he could have spent last year on the major league team, if this was only about whether he was better than Barney or Valbuena.

      But why is everyone forgetting what he still has to work on and should do it in the minors.

      147 K’s in 517 AB’s

      44 Errors and a 932 Fld%

      He may never solve either of those issues even to a league average level, but to not have him play at least a half a season at Iowa to work on these items makes no sense.

      Now, Kris Bryant, I think he will need far less AB’s and time in the minors and will not have to spend time in Iowa before being called up. He is much more polished player, same goes for Almora as I think he could also not need to spend time in Iowa either.

      • paulcatanese

        Tony. he is better than Barney or Valbuena, not even thinking that way.
        By the way the old story of the kid who had 0 confidence in himself and wanted to be shipped back to the minors, luck would have it he had a manager that dis-agreed with him and in essence told him flat out just get out and play, you are my center fielder.
        Of course it was Willie Mays and the Manager was Leo Durocher, then again guys like that don’t come around very often.
        But stuff like that does happen.
        And it could happen with Bryant and Almora.
        Edited for spelling and addition

        • Tony_H

          I stated just now and before that Baez is obviously better than Barney and Valbuena, not sure where you ever saw me thinking any different.

          Baez also has tons of confidence and so does Bryant and Almora. And of course they could call him up and he is a superstar from the beginning. But there is just no reason not to let him work on a few things in Iowa, versus doing it in Chicago the way Castro has had to do. I have no doubt he will be up by mid-season as I expect him to absolutely dominate AAA with Ruthian type numbers.

          • paulcatanese

            Haven’t seen you say differently on Barney or Valbeuena .
            Of course the extra seasoning may help Baez, then again?
            And what about the earthquake effect he could have from the start. Do you not think he and Bryant right now would have a trickle effect on the rest of the team.? Stranger things have happened in Baseball.
            They easily could become a playoff team now, instead of later.
            The one thing I would say about Castro, I would blame JH for the 200 hits and the great contribution Castro has made (exception last year) But come on, there are at least a dozen shortstops that did not have a super fielding average the first two years.

          • Tony_H

            So you think this team is just 2 players (Baez and Bryant) away from being a playoff contender? Maybe Theo hasn’t done as bad a job as so many people have tried to imply then.

            There is no way you can say that if Castro would have spent more time in the minors and been working on his defense more, it wouldn’t have benefited him. His bat was just as ready as Baez to produce at the major league level. But his glove and baseball IQ needed more work.

            And I really took this line as you thinking I had said that Baez wasn’t as good as Barney and Valbuena: “Tony. he is better than Barney or Valbuena, no even thinking that way.” Not sure of any other way to interpret that line.

          • cubtex

            How was it wrong for Castro to learn at the mlb level? Dude was not overmatched one bit.

          • Tony_H

            His overall game would have benefitted with more time in the minors. If he had been on a development plan like todays minor league players in the Cubs organization are today, he would have been able to clean up the weaker parts of his game before coming up to the majors.

          • cubtex

            Would it have benefitted Puig? Would it have benefitted Cespedes? How long do you want Soler to be in the minors to learn “the Cubs way” These players will all make mistakes and you have to understand where they came from and that it is best to learn at the mlb level. Castro has been a stud(until last year) and it would have been a shame to keep him in the minors instead of being 2nd or 3rd in all of the NL in hits.

          • Tony_H

            I am not going to get into a long drawn out debate on this.

            Puig and Cespedes are not real comparables as they played professional baseball in Cuba. But it is obvious both their games are raw, but their talent levels have allowed them to play.

            Soler will be on the 25 man roster in 2016 no matter what, so I would say his first appearance should be as a September call-up this year.

            I think most everyone knows that Castro could have used more time in the minors, but if you remember I wanted him to go north with the team instead of heading to Tennessee.

            Now if you want to tell us how you are 100% right and anyone who disagrees is ridiculous again, go ahead.

          • cubtex

            hahaha. a little touchy as always. Let me suggest decaf.

          • Tony_H

            I have been trying to keep things civil. But just this morning, not counting the rest of the week, you have called me or my thoughts dumb, ridiculous and a little touchy. And it is not just me you do this to. I am not right on everything and try to talk in what I think and what I think the FO will do, plus with the thought that everything is to what percent things can happen. I also try to bring information in my posts and articles I think others will enjoy to this site. You always talk in 100% you are right and everyone else is 100% wrong. It just doesn’t work like that.

          • cubtex

            it was a general statement saying that it is ridiculous to think Castro should have stayed in the minors with how productive he has been. Not geared at you but look at his stats I just posted. How did he not belong in the majors? If he had hit like he did last year…no problem. Did he make mental mistakes….of course but he was 20 and hitting like crazy.

          • cubtex

            Starlin Castro

            2010 125 games hit .300
            2011 158 games 207 hits and an ALL STAR
            2012 183 hits hit .283 and another ALL STAR appearance.

            Sorry dude. It would have been dumb to keep a talent like that in the minors any longer. Sure he made mistakes but you can live with them as he learns at the mlb level!

          • DWalker

            Might not a contender be, (in fact pretty sure it wouldn’t) but you do have to admit those two should have a lot of effect on Rizzo and Castro by adding two legitimate power threats to the lineup. Right now those two kids are left out to dry in this lineup. it also should take some pressure off the pitchers.we have seen over and over again what happens to pitchers when they don’t have run support. No, we are still a ways from being called a legitimate playoff contender, but there is the potential to have a really good payoff for the team once they are brought up. assuming of course, they do perform as hoped/expected. As far as Baez errors, a lot of the same arguments can be applied to him as applied to castro. He is such a good athlete he is putting himself in more tough plays that his experiance and ability right now can make happen that lesser players aren’t even going to try. He’ll improve and if he moves to second he will be good there.

          • Tony_H

            I agree they are on the right path and it is going to come together much sooner than the naysayers talk.

          • paulcatanese

            Sorry, I didn’t think for a second that you felt that way, I try to edit to get it correct but have problems with that.

          • Tony_H

            NP Paul, thanks for clearing that up.

          • cubtex

            Looking at what Castro has done so far in his short career it is ridiculous to say that he should have stayed in the minors.

          • paulcatanese

            One more thing Tony. You can’t make errors without the chances. And he cannot strike out if he doesn’t swing the bat, Of course one has to take those dreadful things along with it, home runs, doubles, etc, Plus, until proven otherwise, he does have range, and that creates errors.
            All in fun Tony, as you and I seem to be the only ones up at this weird hour:)

          • Tony_H

            NP Paul. But they get AB’s and chances in the field in Iowa as well. But with less of a microscope.

          • paulcatanese

            What did I post to Rider about Theo? Stubborn, stubborn and stubborn.
            Not being said as a bad thing, but Baez belongs up now.
            If shortstops like Omar, Louis, Jeter can make all those errors when they were brought up and still survive, so can Baez, who by the way is a better hitter than Omar or Luis was,
            For the heck of it, how many errors are or were they apart from the projected fielding % of Baez? 5-6 for the year?
            Don’t forget our All Star Ernie, he had quite a few plus range that isn’t even in the discussion.
            It’s all a moot point anyway, he as you say, will be up this year, just not when I want him to be, and what I want is unimportant in the scheme of things.