Spring Training Game Twenty-Eight: Cubs (8-17-2) vs. Athletics (11-13-3)
- Game Time – 3:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet, MLB Network – Radio: Cubs.com
- Location – Sloan Park, Mesa
Jake Arrieta (0-0, 8.53, 1.58) vs. Sonny Gray (2-0, 5.68, 1.34)
The Cubs return to Sloan Park this afternoon for the penultimate game of the spring in the Valley. The Cubs have two games left before the team breaks camp Wednesday for a two-day stay in Sin City. The Cubs have two games against the Mets in Las Vegas and a practice game Sunday versus the Angels in Anaheim. Then it’s all for real, counting today just five exhibition games remain on the spring slate.
Jake Arrieta returns to the hill in what will be his final tune-up for Opening Day. Arrieta will face an American League lineup this afternoon. Bob Melvin received permission from Joe Maddon on Monday that he could use a designated hitter instead of batting Sonny Gray.
The blister that forced Arrieta to leave last Thursday’s game in the first inning has reportedly healed. The Cubs are expected to stretch out Arrieta this afternoon, letting him go deeper in the game than most starters pitch in their last outings of Spring Training.
Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies have the call on Comcast SportsNet. On the radio side, Mick Gillispie has the call on Cubs.com.
Today all starts with Jake Arrieta …
All eyes will be on Jake Arrieta this afternoon at Sloan Park. The Cubs medical staff cleared Arrieta and reportedly the blisters on his right thumb are healed. Joe Maddon and Chris Bosio need to see a positive outing from Arrieta today.
After throwing 34 pitches last Thursday and a 46-pitch side session Sunday morning, the Cubs would like to get Arrieta’s pitch count up to 80 to 85 today in what is scheduled to be his last spring outing before Opening Night in six days.
Contrary to national reports, Arrieta looked good before his outing last Thursday in which he gave up too much contact in a third of an inning. Arrieta appeared to be off from the first pitch he threw to Denard Span. Arrieta will look to quiet the concerns in the first inning.
Arrieta makes his fourth and final appearance in the Cactus League today. In 6 1/3 innings over three starts, Arrieta allowed six runs on six hits with four walks and nine strikeouts.
Sonny Gray makes his first appearance today on a Cactus League mound since March 19. Gray gave up six runs, five earned, on eight hits with a walk and no strikeouts over five innings to the Reds. Gray has surrendered at least one run on multiple hits in each of his first three Cactus League starts.
In 12 2/3 innings in the Cactus League, Gray has allowed nine runs, eight earned, on 15 hits with two walks and eight strikeouts.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …