Spring Training Game Two – Cubs 3, Angels 0
WP – Neil Ramirez (1-0) LP – Jose Alvarez (0-1) Save – Felix Pena (1)
In front of a Spring Training single-game record of 15,446 fans, Addison Russell launched a two-run homer in the fourth with Javier Baez along for the ride. John Andreoli added a sac fly in the sixth. And the Cubs’ pitching staff completed a rare spring shutout, allowing just six hits with one walk and five strikeouts.
The Cubs broke up the scoreless tie in the fourth inning. Javier Baez (1-for-2 with a run scored and a stolen base) reached on a one out single to left. Baez swiped second on the first pitch to Shane Victorino (0-for-2). After Victorino flied out to left, Russell stepped in with two down and a man on second.
Addison Russell (1-for-2 with a home run and two RBI) launched a Jose Alvarez pitch to deep left. The ball landed well up the berm and the Cubs took a 2-0 lead.
The Cubs tacked on a run without the benefit of a hit in the sixth. After back-to-back walks by Munenori Kawasaki (0-for-1 with a walk and a run scored) and Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-1 with a walk) started the inning, Taylor Davis batted for Victorino and reached on an error by Angels’ third baseman Kyle Kubitza. With the bases loaded and no outs, John Andreoli (0-for-1 with a sac fly RBI) lifted the first pitch he saw into center field. Quintin Berry caught the ball, Kawasaki tagged and scored, 3-0 Cubs.
Ben Zobrist (1-for-2) collected a hit in his Cubs’ spring debut. Jason Heyward (0-for-2) and Dexter Fowler (0-for-2) did not reach base. The Cubs scored three runs on five hits with five walks and struck out six times.
Pierce Johnson started the game and completed one inning. The Angels jumped on Johnson early in the at bats and smoked three balls, two went for singles and the other a 400-foot fly out to center by Mike Trout. Johnson settled down and caught C.J. Cron looking for the second out and retired Andrelton Simmons on a grounder to third. Johnson was charged with two hits and struck out one of the five batters he faced on Friday.
Stephen Fife replaced Johnson in the second and pitched the next two innings. Fife faced one over the minimum in his two innings of work and gave up a hit with a strikeout. Fife had a good outing.
Neil Ramirez just doesn’t look right. Reports from the park indicated his fastball was in the low-90s and he appeared to be fighting himself Friday. Ramirez did not allow any runs and faced the minimum thanks to an incredible defensive play by David Ross. Ramirez surrendered one hit without a walk or a strikeout.
Carl Edwards Jr. completed one inning Friday and faced four batters. Edwards Jr. walked one, struck out one and started a 1-4-3 inning ending double play off the bat of Yunel Escobar. Edwards Jr. throws so effortlessly, just needs to work on his command.
Andury Acevedo made his Cactus League debut and picked up where he left off in live batting practice. Acevedo faced three batters and retired all three with a high-90s fastball. Edgar Olmos worked around a throwing error by Munenori Kawasaki to start the inning by inducing a 6-4-3 inning ending double play.
Brandon Gomes pitched a scoreless eighth and Felix Pena picked up the spring save with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
The Cubs defense played a big part in Friday’s win.
David Ross turned in what might end up the defensive play of the spring in the fourth inning. Ross bailed out Neil Ramirez when he dove in foul ground to catch a bunt attempt by Cliff Pennington. C.J. Cron tried to advance on the play, but ‘Grandpa Rossy’ threw him out to end the inning.
Ben Zobrist and Javier Baez teamed up on an excellent play to take a hit away from Yunel Escobar in the third inning. Baez made a nice pick at first base to secure the out.
And John Andreoli took an extra basehit away from Ji-Man Choi in the ninth inning with a leaping catch near the wall in right field.
With Friday’s win, the Cubs improved to 1-1 in the Cactus League.
The Cubs host the Reds on Saturday afternoon (2:05pm CST) at Sloan Park. Trevor Cahill is scheduled to face lefty Brandon Finnegan.