The Chicago Cubs are cranking up some split squad action this weekend, with one group staying in Arizona while the other traveled to Las Vegas to smack the Cincinnati Reds around. I thought I’d use this post to throw some of the in-game highlights (thanks to WGN!) together for you, dear reader, and also to introduce our new generation of Dreamcast. You should listen and tell us how we did, and also e-mail Anno at worldseriesdreaming at gmail dot com to give us questions and comments for the next episode, slated to drop before Sunday’s Opening Day game against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Here we go!
- We recognize that Kris Bryant is probably the “weak link” in the Cubs’ historically great infield defense, but he’s no slouch…
- Anthony Rizzo wanted to bat leadoff, and Rizzo gets what he wants given how much he’s given this team. He didn’t disappoint, and neither did Albert Almora a few batters later…
Almora would also add a run-scoring double and another solo homer, because he’s good at baseball.
- Eddie Butler pitched fairly well, generating a bunch of ground balls, although he did give up a bunch of hits, including a solo homer. He almost got through the fifth inning, but Brian Duensing had to finish the frame.
- Carl Edwards Jr. had a two-batter appearance, giving up a single but then getting Billy Hamilton (the one who’s still alive, not the dead Hall of Famer) to bounce into a double play. That usually doesn’t happen, but happened twice to Hamilton today against the Cubs.
- Duensing later had a scoreless inning with the help of John Andreoli, who had a rare 9-3 putout. Andreoli is considered a possible backup to Matt Szczur, should the Cubs elect to trade the latter. He seems very capable as a corner defender, as he set himself up pretty well on this would-be sacrifice fly, enough to make the runner leave the base early:
- Tommy La Stella, another leading bench candidate, got a solid run-scoring hit and later reached on an error. He had an uneventful day at his position at second base.
- Later in the game, Bijan Rademacher, yet another depth outfielder, hit a no-doubt grand slam to go along with a couple decent plays in left field in relief of Schwarber. The Cubs had a shot to get blackjack, but busted on the final card.
The other split squad didn’t fare so well against the San Diego Padres, playing to the home crowd at Sloan Park. There were a couple of bright spots thrown in, although video highlights are slim.
- The home half got shelled early on as Alec Mills and some guy I didn’t even know existed gave up 9 runs, 4 of them unearned due to an unfortunate error by Munenori Kawasaki at shortstop.
- Koji Uehara and traveling minstrel David Rollins got in a scoreless inning each.
- Jason Heyward didn’t get an official at-bat, having walked all three times he came to the plate before his day was done.
The Cubs play a Monday night game against the Cleveland Indians. Just one week until Opening Day, so get excited!