The Cubs wrapped up their exhibition schedule Friday afternoon in Houston with “fifth starter” Kyle Hendricks getting a final tune-up start.
Most Cubs starters had two plate appearances and were pulled to prepare for Sunday’s opener. Hendricks was clearly over his bad trip to Taco Bell. The Professor breezed through 5 relatively stress-free innings (0 R, 2 H, 3 K, and 1 BB) in his last spring start.
While the regulars seemed more interested in their side business than the action on the field, the reserves finally broke the ice in the 5th inning. A Matt Szczur bases-loaded walk and a wild pitch put the Northsiders up 2-0. Chesny Young continued his good spring, singling home two more to make it 4-0.
The Astros scored two runs in the 6th inning to cut the lead in half, but singles from Szczur and Tommy La Stella keyed a two-run Chicago rally in the 7th inning. The second run scored on a Ian Happ ground out, his 21st RBI this spring.
Houston scored a run in the 7th to make it a 6-3 game and that’s how it ended.
Stats That Matter
- Jon Jay went 2-for-3 and made a great diving catch in the 3rd inning. Albert Almora has rightly gotten a lot of attention this spring, but Jay is a solid player.
- Tommy La Stella was 1-for-2 with a walk and two runs scored. After a slow start, TLS really came on late to earn a roster spot.
- Matt Szczur was 1-for-2 with a walk and two RBI. Szczur also has had a very nice spring. Honestly, both he and La Stella deserved to make the roster. Glad they did.
The regular season is finally here. No more practice games or getting pulled after 3 AB’s. The Cubs’ title defense begins Sunday night.
The Cubs open up the regular season in St. Louis. Jon Lester gets the opening day nod against Carlos Martinez at 7:35 CDT on ESPN. Don’t know about you, but I’m ready for the games to count.