Spring Training Game Nine – Cubs 9, Angels 10
WP – Greg Mahle (1-0) LP – Joseph Ortiz (0-1) Save – Alex Sanabia (1)
Kris Bryant hit a pair of long home runs and Jorge Soler also went deep but Felix Doubront was rocked in the fifth inning and the Cubs lost another exhibition game in the late innings.
Actor/comedian Will Ferrell played for both teams Thursday in Tempe. Ferrell lined up in center field for the Angels in the third inning before he was traded to the Cubs in the fourth inning. Ferrell coached third and provided comic relief as Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler and Addison Russell put on a show at the plate. The Cubs scored four runs in the fourth inning and built an 8-3 lead. Joe Maddon even let Ferrell bat in the fourth with Russell on second base and he struck out swinging to end the inning. After playing first base for one batter in the bottom of the fourth, Mike Olt re-entered the game in place of Ferrell at first base.
The Cubs five-run lead didn’t last long. After tossing a scoreless fourth inning in relief of Jason Hammel, Felix Doubront gave up five runs in the fifth as the Angels pounded the baseball. Doubront stayed in for the sixth after Kris Bryant’s second tape-measure homer of the day gave the Cubs the lead again. But Doubront allowed the Angels to score in the sixth. Doubront allowed six runs on nine hits with no walks and two strikeouts in three innings.
The Angels scored the winning run in the eighth off lefty Joseph Ortiz and handed the Cubs their seventh loss in the Cactus League.
Kris Bryant (3-for-4 with two home runs, a double, three runs scored and three RBI), Jorge Soler (2-for-3 with a double, a home run and two RBI) and Addison Russell (3-for-3 with a double, a RBI and a stolen base) put on a show and helped the Cubs build an early lead.
The Cubs scored a pair of runs in the first inning after back-to-back singles by Chris Denorfia (1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored) and Javier Baez (1-for-3 with a run scored) started the game. Jorge Soler broke his bat on what appeared to be a single to left. But Soler hustled out of the box and slid around the tag at second base and Baez beat the throw to the plate for the Cubs second run of the game.
After the Angels took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the second, the young Cubs grabbed the lead in the top of the third.
Mike Olt (0-for-1 with two walks and two runs scored) worked a walk against Matt Lindstrom to start the inning. And he was along for the ride when Kris Bryant crushed the first of his two home runs on the afternoon. Bryant’s first blast appeared to clear the berm in left center and leave the park. And the Cubs tacked on four more runs in the fourth.
Jorge Soler launched a solo shot of his own with one out in the fourth. After Mike Olt walked again, Kris Bryant hit a ground rule double to center. The ball landed on the track and one-hopped over the wall. Junior Lake (0-for-1 with a walk and a sac fly RBI) lifted a ball to right that allowed Olt to tag from third and score. Bryant went to third on the play and strolled in on a double to right by Welington Castillo (2-for-3 with a double, a RBI and a run scored).
After receiving instruction from third base coach Will Ferrell, Addison Russell capped the inning with a double to center over Mike Trout’s head. Castillo scored and gave the Cubs an 8-3 lead at the time. Ferrell batted instead of Matt Szczur and struck out swinging to end the inning.
With the game tied at eight, Kris Bryant launched his second home run of the game in the sixth inning, a solo shot to left center that gave the Cubs a short-lived 9-8 lead.
Jason Hammel had a rough outing Thursday against the Angels everyday lineup. Hammel was not sharp and could not find a rhythm. Hammel appeared to battle himself throughout the three innings he was on the mound.
Hammel was charged with three runs on five hits with two walks and two strikeouts in three innings. Hammel gave up one run in the first inning and two more in the second inning before surrendering just a single in his third inning of work. Hammel threw 68 pitches on Thursday in three innings.
The Cubs scored nine runs on 13 hits with four walks and only five strikeouts on Thursday afternoon. The problem was the pitching staff allowed 10 runs on 15 hits while walking four batters and striking out six.
The Cubs have four games on the schedule in the next two days. Half of the roster made the trip to Las Vegas following Thursday’s game and will play the A’s at Cashman Field on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Jake Arrieta is scheduled to face Drew Pomeranz Friday night. Joe Maddon and the other half of the spring roster will stay in the valley and host the Indians on Friday afternoon. Lefty Tsuyoshi Wada squares off against fellow lefty T.J. House at Sloan Park.