Spring Training Game Four – Cubs 5, Rockies 7
WP – Brett Marshall (1-0) LP – Jason Hammel (0-1, BS 1) Save – Brooks Brown (1)
Kris Bryant hit a mammoth two-run shot in the second inning that put the Cubs on the board. Albert Almora turned a single in to a Cubs run. Matt Szczur homered leading off the ninth. The Cubs rallied late, but the exhibition game ended with the bases loaded as Joe Maddon’s team slipped to 0-3-1 in Cactus League play.
Kris Bryant (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) crushed a Brett Marshall offering over the wall just to the left of straight away center with Jorge Soler (1-for-3 with a run scored) on first base in the second. The Cubs did not manage another run until the eighth inning while Nolan Arenado and the Rockies kept adding on to their lead.
A visibly upset and frustrated Jason Hammel barely made it out of the first inning. Hammel gave up three runs in the first inning after Brandon Barnes and Roger Bernadina reached and Nolan Arenado smacked a three-run homer. Hammel was not able to get on track after a nine-pitch at bat by Brandon Barnes to start the game. But Hammel was not missing by much, if at all. Hammel appeared to throw strikes and did not get the calls. Hammel stayed in for a second uneventful inning.
Felix Doubront took over in the third and and hit his spots. Doubront allowed one run on four hits with no walks and a strikeout in two innings (30 pitches, 20 for strikes)
Blake Parker and Joseph Ortiz, or Mini Me as he’s called in the Cubs clubhouse, had a hard time throwing strikes. Parker gave up a run on one hit, no walks and a strikeout in his inning of work while Ortiz was charged with two unearned runs on two hits in an inning. Ortiz struck out two and just didn’t appear comfortable on the mound and his defense did not help.
Drake Britton pitched a scoreless seventh while picking up a strikeout. Britton kept the ball down and in and Taylor Teagarden erased his only mistake, a hit by pitch. Britton threw 11 pitches, six for strikes. Anthony Carter and Francisley Bueno picked up the last three outs in the eighth.
Albert Almora (1-for-2 with a double and a run scored) looks very confident at the plate early in the spring games. Almora turned a single into a double in the eighth inning that led to a run. Tommy La Stella followed and reached on an error. Taylor Teagarden rolled in to a 5-4 force out that advanced Almora to third. Mike Baxter plated Almora with a sac fly to right.
Matt Szczur (2-for-2 with a home run and a stolen base) added a pair of hits Saturday that included his first home run of the spring. It was not a cheap shot, the ball landed well onto the berm in left field.
Starlin Castro (1-for-3 with a double) and Dexter Fowler (1-for-3) collected hits while Anthony Rizzo (0-for-3) hit the ball hard with nothing to show for it. Rizzo flied out to left his first two times up and was called out on strikes on a rather high fastball in his third at bat.
The Cubs defense early in the game was outstanding and kept the Rockies from putting more runs on the board. Dexter Fowler and Starlin Castro showed off their range and Anthony Rizzo made a sensational diving stop up the first baseline.
Miguel Montero recorded all three outs in the second inning. Montero threw out Cristhian Adames on a sac bunt up the third baseline for the first out, threw out Barnes at first base after he swung at and missed a ball in the dirt for strike three and Roger Bernadina to end the inning after he hit a tapper in front of the plate.
But the defensive play of the game belonged to Jorge Soler. With Cristhian Adames at first base and one out in the fourth, Brandon Barnes singled through the right side off Felix Doubront. Soler charged the ball and threw a perfect strike to Kris Bryant at third and nailed Adames.
Jake Arrieta makes his spring debut on Sunday afternoon at Sloan Park when the Cubs face a Rangers split squad team. Former Pirate Ross Ohlendorf is scheduled to face the Cubs.