Spring Training Game Eighteen – Cubs 5, Diamondbacks 9
WP – A.J. Schugel (2-0) LP – Anthony Carter (0-1, BS 1) Save – None
Starlin Castro doubled, tripled and drove in two runs. Dexter Fowler reached based four times and doubled in a run. Six of the Cubs seven hits went for extra bases and Edwin Jackson had a good outing Thursday night in Scottsdale. But the minor league relievers could not hold the lead and gave up five runs in the eighth inning as the Cubs handed the exhibition game to the Diamondbacks.
There was very little flow to Thursday night’s Cactus League game. But the Cubs received good performances from several of the players that should be in Joe Maddon’s first lineup of the season and built an early lead.
Welington Castillo (0-for-2 with two walks and a run score) had another good game offensively and defensively. Castillo walked to start the third and scored on an Edwin Jackson (1-for-2 with a double and a RBI) double to left. Dexter Fowler (1-for-2 with a double, two walks, a RBI, a run scored and a HBP) doubled in Jackson for the Cubs second run.
Dexter Fowler put together an 11-pitch at bat that ended with a walk to start the fifth. Chris Coghlan (1-for-4 with a double and a run scored) followed with a double into the left field corner. With runners on second and third, Starlin Castro (2-for-4 with a double, a triple, two RBI and a run scored) made up for his mistakes in the bottom of the fourth with a ground rule double to right. Fowler and Coghlan scored, 4-3 Cubs. A wild pitch with Anthony Rizzo (0-for-3) at the plate advanced Castro to third. Rizzo struck out swinging.
Jorge Soler (1-for-3 with a triple and a RBI) picked up Rizzo with a deep drive to left center that ended up as a triple. But Mike Olt (0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts) and Javier Baez (0-for-4 with a walk and four strikeouts) struck out to end the inning.
The Cubs did not manage another run despite a leadoff triple by Starlin Castro in the seventh.
The offense scored five runs on seven hits with eight walks and 14 strikeouts. Maddon’s men were 3-for-16 with RISP and left 11 runners on base.
The Cubs received two scares Thursday night. Jorge Soler continues to impress in the field and at the plate. But he crashed into the wall in the fourth inning trying to catch a deep drive off the bat of David Peralta. Soler was face down on the warning track for a short time and there was enough concern the trainers left the dugout momentarily. Soler stayed in the game and tripled the next inning.
Dexter Fowler was plunked in the foot in the eighth inning. Fowler’s night was likely over but he was in pain as he limped to first before Jae-Hoon Ha ran for him. An update on Fowler was not provided after the game.
The Cubs defense was rather sloppy again Thursday night, especially Starlin Castro. The Cubs’ shortstop was charged with only one error, but his play kept the team from turning at least two double plays.
Edwin Jackson put together a good outing Thursday night and actually pitched better than his final line indicates. Jackson worked quickly and threw strikes against a majority of the Diamondbacks everyday lineup. Jackson faced the minimum in the first after he struck out Paul Goldschmidt swinging and Welington Castillo threw out Ender Inciarte at second to end the inning. Jackson issued his only free pass of the night in the second and retired the side in order in the third.
Edwin Jackson could not pitch around two mistakes by Starlin Castro in the fourth. Castro really struggled in the field Thursday night and his two miscues gave the Diamondbacks too many opportunities. Castro bobbled a would be double play ball and just booted a grounder off the bat of Chris Owings.
Jackson appeared confident Thursday night and it showed in his performance. Jackson ended up being charged with three runs, one earned, on four hits with a walk and three strikeouts. Jackson threw 58 pitches, 38 for strikes.
Phil Coke gave up a hit in his inning of work. Coke threw the ball well and hit his spots. Coke struck out one of the four batters he faced.
Felix Doubront pitched only one inning and could be out of the mix for the fifth spot in the rotation. Doubront was scheduled for four innings and went just one. Doubront gave up a run on two hits with a strikeout. The run that was charged to Doubront scored before the Cubs could complete a 3-6 inning ending double play.
Francisley Bueno pitched a scoreless frame, but Anthony Carter and Drake Britton imploded in the eighth.
The Cubs took a 5-4 lead into the bottom of the eighth, but the Cubs minor leaguers could not help a struggling Anthony Carter. Carter was charged with four runs on four hits without recording an out. Joe Maddon had to bring in Drake Britton, who didn’t fare much better than Carter. Britton allowed two inherited runners to score and a third he was charged with on one hit, a HBP and a walk. Britton walked former Cubs’ catcher Blake Lalli and forced in a run. Maddon had to use Yoanner Negrin to get the last two outs in the eighth. And Maddon didn’t look to happy about the way his team played late in the game.
The Cubs received good performances from Fowler, Soler, Coghlan and Castillo and an uneven night from Castro while Javier Baez just looked lost in four of his five at bats.
The Cubs travel back to Glendale on Friday afternoon for the first meeting of the year with the White Sox. Even in Spring Training these games are usually more charged than the others on the Cubs schedule. Travis Wood is scheduled to face Hector Noesi.