The Rundown: Lester Solid in First Spring Win, Will Ferrell to Play for Cubs Today
Everybody can finally relax. The Cubs picked up their first win of Spring Training, as they defeated the Dodgers 4-3 yesterday.
With that out of the way, we can focus on more important matters. Like Jon Lester’s second strong outing in a row.
The Cubs’ newly acquired ace pitched three scoreless innings with two punch-outs and three hits given up. Mike Olt also continued his nice spring, going 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Before Wednesday’s game, Joe Maddon addressed the media, expressing a bit of disappointment with the Cubs’ lack of fundamentals thus far.
“We’re not good at fundamentals in the game,” Maddon told Jesse Rogers. “We have not done the little things right that permit you to win. The wins will happen if we get the fundamentals. The wins will never happen if you don’t get the fundamentals.”
In response, the Cubs played a tighter game on Wednesday — without committing an error. Rogers suggests that Cubs players may be trying too hard to impress their new manager.
This makes sense to me; Maddon is a high-profile manager, and new expectations are being placed on a lot of young players.
It seems natural to press a bit to show the new manager what you can do. Luckily, Maddon has such an easy-going personality that I doubt players will be pressing for long. (If they are at all.)
Lester and Montero
A lot of people have projected/guessed that Jon Lester and catcher David Ross will often be matched up together this year. The two were teammates in Boston and had good results as a combo there.
And even though there’s a lot of comfort between the two, I think we may see a Lester and Miguel Montero battery a fair amount. This is primarily because I don’t think the Cubs will want to be missing Montero’s bat from the lineup very often.
The two were teamed up in Wednesday’s game, feeling each other out.
“I want to learn from him,” Montero told Carrie Muskat. “It doesn’t matter how much video you watch — I watched a lot of video and a lot of film of him, and I talked to Ross a lot. [Lester] probably shook me off a few times but that’s good, I learned from that.”
The pair seemed to work well together, as Lester cruised through three innings. I’m still kind of trying to wrap my head around the fact that the Cubs have him as their ace now. It’s great.
You’re my boy, Blue
Today, actor/comedian Will Ferrell will be playing for the Cubs.
Strange, yes, but it’s for a good cause. Ferrell will playing in five different games today throughout Arizona, while settling in at all nine positions with 10 different teams.
The campaign is part of a special to be aired on HBO later this year, and he will be promoting organizations dedicated to battling cancer.
I’m not entirely sure how this will all work. Ferrell is scheduled to play catcher for the Cubs. So will he simply be warming up a pitcher between innings, or will he actually see live game action? If so, I can’t imagine it would be for long, especially at the catching position.
I guess we’ll have to tune in later today to find out.
* Recently acquired LHP Phil Coke made his debut with the Cubs yesterday, pitching one scoreless inning and striking out one. I think it’s very likely he’ll break camp with the big-league team. (Assuming he doesn’t have a disastrous spring. Off too a good start so far.)
* Albert Almora may have had a rough year at the plate last season, but one thing you can’t question is his defense. The first-round draft pick from 2012 made a great catch in the sixth inning yesterday:
* The Indians’ Trevor Bauer, who gave up the three consecutive home runs yesterday to Jorge Soler, Javier Baez and Kris Bryant, clearly has a good sense of humor:
Goodyear police stopped by the clubhouse. Seems I'm responsible for 3 broken windows outside the stadium yesterday pic.twitter.com/6KPMhkfs2j
— Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) March 11, 2015