The Texas Rangers came to Sloan Park in the first game of split-squad action for the Cubs Friday. Chicago got a great outing from their top starter and a surprising contribution out of a player from minor-league camp to pull out a win.
Marcus Stroman made his final start before opening the regular season Thursday against the Brewers. The diminutive hurler appeared to be ready to go throwing into the sixth inning and only allowing an unearned run in the 2nd.
Eric Hosmer gave the Cubs a lead with a groundball base hit in the bottom of the 1st inning. Luis Vázquez, an infield prospect known much more for his defense than his bat, doubled in a run to put the home team back ahead in the 2nd.
Trey Mancini picked up his own two-bagger and came in to score on a Yan Gomes sacrifice fly in the 3rd inning. Vásquez then crushed a long two-run home run to the back of the berm in left and Chicago built a 5-1 advantage after four.
Have yourself a day, Luis! pic.twitter.com/5Xp9PRYeGr
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) March 24, 2023
Javier Assad made his first appearance since his star turn for Mexico in the WBC and things did not go quite smoothly as he allowed two runs to score. That said, he put in three innings of work to close out the victory. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
Stroman was sharp and the Cubs got an unexpected power surge from the light-hitting Vázquez.
Stats That Matter
- Stroman generated a lot of ground ball contact and used his good defense to pitch effectively: 5.2 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 5 H, 5 K, and 1 BB.
- Miles Mastrobuoni walked and singled as he continued to make a push for a roster spot.
- Assad still was displaying nasty stuff despite giving up some traffic on the bases: 3 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 4 K, and 1 BB.
- Hosmer had a pair of base hits on Friday.
There are only a handful of games left before the regular season begins and we don’t have much more to learn about this team. Getting this version of Stroman would be a big boost for 2023.
The Cubs and Adrian Sampson take on the Cleveland Guardians in Goodyear Friday night in a game that likely has already started by the time you read this. As always, Marquee provides the broadcast.