Fans had the opportunity to enjoy some televised Cubs baseball on MLB.com Friday evening via the out-of-town broadcast – featuring the charming Aussie accent of Mariners color commentator Ryan Rowland-Smith. A mixed bag of regulars and soon-to-be farmhands took the field against the Mariners, a formula that produced one of the Cubs’ biggest offensive outputs of the spring.
The scoring started early, with four straight Cubs reaching base to start the game, including a scoring single from Javier Baez. Later in the inning, Anthony Rizzo scored on an Ian Happ double play ground out, giving the Cubs a 2-0 lead.
Right-hander Duncan Robinson, who spent most of last season at Double A Tennessee, made his first start of the spring for the Cubs. He had a shaky first, giving up a double to center fielder Mitch Haniger followed by a Jay Bruce two-run home run to tie the game. Duncan went on to retire five Mariners in a row, before being lifted prior to the start of the third inning (Box score).
Why the Cubs won
The Cubs brought 11 men to the plate during a monster fourth inning, scoring six runs to chase Mariners starter Marco Gonzalez from the Game. The inning featured a mixture of power and patience, with three doubles and four walks fueling the onslaught. By the time the inning ended, the Cubs were on top 9-2.
Anthony Rizzo smacked his first home run of the spring, sending a 1-1 Gonzalez offering over the wall to break a 2-2 tie in the third inning.
Stats that Matter
- Rizzo’s homer was part of an overall big night. He went 3-for-3 with three runs scored and two runs batted in. Nice to see him homer off of the left-handed Gonzalez, after hitting only four homers off of lefties last season.
- Jen-Ho Tseng was perfect in two innings of relief, striking out one. You can never have enough pitching options over the course of 162 games.
- Albert Almora continues to make his case for the lion’s share of time in centerfield. He went 2-for-4 including a run scoring double in the Cubs six run 4th.
It was pretty much all positive for the Cubs tonight. Nice to see the Cubs get a pitcher on the ropes and deliver the knockout blow. That seemed to be an element of the offense that lacked last season. Several pitchers who may be called upon to eat some bullpen innings got some work in as well, including Allen Webster and Randy Rosario.
The Cubs take on the Angels at Sloan Park and Giants at Scottsdale Stadium Saturday afternoon in split-squad action. Both games start at 2:05 CST. The radio broadcast of the Cubs/Angels game can be heard at MLB.com.