Half of the Cubs headed over to Goodyear to battle the division rival Reds on Thursday. Rob Zastryzny, trying to earn a major league role in 2017, got his second start of the spring. Anthony Rizzo was a late scratch from the lineup with back tightness, although it doesn’t sound serious.
Rob Z started out very sharp the first two innings he pitched. Then in the 3rd, he took a comeback grounder off his calf. After surrendering two hits, he was lifted due to calf tightness. The Cubs announced it was precautionary, which is par for the course this time of year.
Eloy Jimenez played a Jose Peraza fly ball into a triple, allowing two runs to score. Pierce Johnson was not as sharp as his first outing allowing a run in his inning of work. Another Reds run in the 6th made it 4-0 Cincinnati.
Most of the Chicago regulars were in the lineup for the daytime end of the split squad, but only Willson Contreras and Addison Russell picked up hits.
Aside from the defensive miscue, Jimenez hit two deep flies that on a different day might have been homers. The second one was good enough for a sacrifice fly to put the Cubs on the board in the 7th. Ian Happ added a run-scoring single to make it 4-2 Reds.
The Reds added two more runs in the bottom of the 8th and won the game 6-2.
Stats That Matter
- Jason Heyward again went hitless in three at-bats from the leadoff spot. I don’t think it’s any cause for concern yet, but I’m sure he wants to see good results follow his hard work.
- Willson Contreras singled, walked, and threw out former Cub Arismendy Alcantara trying to steal.
- Kris Bryant walked and made a great diving stab on a line drive to third base.
Not much of interest in this game. Jimenez and Happ had good at bats, which is always nice to see.
Later tonight, the other half of the Cubs split squad heads to Scottsdale to play the Diamondbacks. Jake Buchanan gets the start for Chicago against Shelby Miller at 8:05 CST.