Spring Training Game Five – Cubs 4, Rangers (ss) 6
WP – Ross Ohlendorf (1-0) LP – Jake Arrieta (0-1) Save – Edwar Cabrera (1)
Jake Arrieta struggled with his command in his first spring start. Eric Jokisch was hit rather hard. The Cubs offense struck out 12 times in the first six innings. And the Cubs dropped their fourth game of the spring and remain winless in Cactus League play.
Jake Arrieta labored through Sunday’s start in front of 15,243 at Sloan Park, just short of the Spring Training record (15,331) the Cubs set on Friday. Arrieta had trouble with location and could not put hitters away. Arrieta walked three batters and struck out a pair in his two innings of work. The only run he allowed was off the bat of Mitch Moreland, a liner over the wall in left center on a 3-2 pitch in the first inning.
Jake Arrieta completed two innings Sunday. Arrieta threw 23 pitches in the first inning, 13 for strikes, and 22 pitches in the second, 12 for strikes.
Eric Jokisch replaced Arrieta in the third, and not Tsuyoshi Wada. Jokisch had a hard time in his two innings. Not only did he surrender a titanic blast to Joey Gallo in the third inning that sailed over the right field wall and probably traveled 500-plus feet, the Rangers squared up Jokisch rather well. Jokisch committed a balk and allowed four runs on six hits and two of those, including the ball Gallo obliterated, left the park.
Neil Ramirez was touched up for a run on a hit and a walk in one inning. Ramirez struck out three and got his work in.
Tsuyoshi Wada was used for only one inning Sunday and did not pitch until the sixth inning. Wada gave up a hit but no runs or walks and he did not strikeout a batter. Wada struggled with his command (21 pitches, 10 strikes) and appeared to be having problems getting loose on the mound. Wada kept stretching and was focused on his legs. Wada has already missed time this spring with hamstring tightness.
After non-roster invite Jorge De Leon kept the Rangers off the board in the seventh and eighth innings. Zac Rosscup retired all three batters he faced in the ninth and was rather sharp in his inning of work.
The Cubs offense was non-existent Sunday. Ross Ohlendorf struck out five of the six batters he faced and set the tone for the exhibition game. Junior Lake (1-for-2 with a stolen base) not only broke up the Rangers’ spring no-hit bid with a single in the bottom of the third, he also ended a string of six consecutive strikeouts by Cubs’ batters.
Javier Baez (0-for-3 with three strikeouts) has slipped back into his old habits. After showing a different approach at the plate in Thursday’s opener, Baez swung from his heels Sunday and did not appear to be using any of the adjustments he made this winter.
Arismendy Alcantara (0-for-2 with a walk) and Mike Olt (0-for-2 with a walk) both reached base via a free pass.
The Cubs got on the board in the fourth inning and made it a 5-1 game at the time. Ryan Sweeney (1-for-3 with a double and a run scored) doubled and scored on a Chris Valaika (1-for-3 with a RBI) single.
The game remained 6-1 until the eighth inning when the Cubs started chipping into the Rangers lead.
Rafael Lopez walked to start the eighth and moved to third on a double to center by Addison Russell (1-for-3 with a double). Mike Baxter drove in Lopez with a sac fly to right and Carlos Penalver, running for Russell, scored on an Albert Almora (1-for-1 with a RBI) single to left.
For the second day in a row, the Cubs loaded the bases in the ninth inning and forced a pitching change but left the tying and winning runs on base.
Kyle Schwarber reached third on an error by the Rangers centerfielder. To Schwarber’s credit he ran out of the box hard on what appeared to be a deep, but routine fly to center. Schwarber scored on a Danny Lockhart single. After Rafael Lopez walked to load the bases with one out, Carlos Penalver rolled into a 6-4-3 game ending double play.
The Cubs will try to put one in the spring win column on Monday afternoon. Edwin Jackson is scheduled to square off against Andrew Cashner and the new-look San Diego Padres.