Spring Training Game Ten: Cubs (1-8) vs. Reds (ss) (5-4-1)
- Game Time – 2:05pm CST
- Coverage – TV: None – Radio: Cubs.com
- Location – Sloan Park, Mesa
John Lackey (0-0, -.–, -.–) vs. Robert Stephenson (0-0, -.–, -.–)
The Cubs return to Sloan Park this afternoon looking to snap their seven-game Spring Training skid. The Cubs have four games on the schedule over the next three days due to the day-night split squad day on Saturday. The Cubs practice against the Reds, White Sox, Dodgers and Athletics this weekend.
Joe Maddon hands the ball to John Lackey for what is considered his Cubs’ debut today. Lackey had a very good season with the Cardinals and signed with the Cubs on a two-year, $32 million contract in the off-season.
Lackey brings a different level of intensity to the Cubs rotation and should fit rather well behind Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester and in front of Jason Hammel in Maddon’s starting staff if all goes as planned this spring.
The Cubs face the Reds for the second time in the Cactus League. The Cubs dropped last Saturday’s game to the Redlegs at Sloan Park by a 4-2 final. The other half of Bryan Price’s roster is hosting the A’s in Goodyear.
Today all starts with John Lackey …
John Lackey is coming off a career year of sorts with the Cardinals. Lackey was forced into the No. 1 spot in Mike Matheny’s rotation and responded with a 13-10 record in 33 starts with a 2.77 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 3.57 FIP. Lackey enjoyed his first full season in the National League.
Lackey tied a career high with 33 starts and completed the second most innings of his career (218) during the regular season. Lackey set career marks in ERA (2.77) and finished with at least 175 strikeouts for the fourth time in his career, first since 2007.
The Cubs are banking on Lackey filling the third spot in the rotation behind Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester while adding to the winning attitude in the clubhouse.
The Reds top pitching prospect has a very good chance of making his big league debut at some point during the upcoming season. The Reds selected Robert Stephenson in the first round, 27th overall pick, in the 2011 draft and he just turned 23 years old.
Stephenson made it to Triple-A Louisville last season and finished the year a combined 8-11 in 25 starts between Double-A Pensacola and Triple-A Louisville with a 3.83 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. Stephenson gave up 61 runs, 57 earned, on 104 hits with 70 walks and 140 strikeouts in 134 innings.
Robert Stephenson has very good stuff from the right side. Once he gets the command issues figured out, he will be a thorn in the Cubs’ side for many summers.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …