The Cubs had a nice efficient 5-3 win today over the Oakland Athletics at Hohokam Stadium. Good pitching, solid defensive, and timely hits were on display in front of 4,037 in attendance. Some of the Cubs talented minor league prospects were in the starting lineup, including Jorge Soler, Javier Baez, and Junior Lake. Each played a part today’s victory.
Jorge Soler delivered an absolute bullet of a throw from right field to third base to nail A’s Josh Reddick in the 1st inning as Reddick tried to go from 1st to 3rd. When Soler was about the release the ball I thought he had no chance of getting the runner; it was as good a baseball throw as you’ll ever see. Soler ripped a hit between short and third in the 2nd inning, but then struck out in both the 4th and 5th inning. He’s still a raw player and learning, I believe he struck out looking on both K’s. Soler may have also taken a slightly poor angle on Michael Choice’s hit in the 2nd, the ball got past him to the wall allowing Choice a triple. Most of these little issues are easily cleaned up, he really just needs more playing time. Which he’ll likely get in Class A-Advanced Daytona to start the season.
Javier Baez played well, he had a hit and a run scored, and made a nice basket catch on the run in short centerfield. Baez did double clutch on a potential double play ball in the 3rd inning, only getting the force at 2nd. Junior Lake’s bat was on display as he went 2-for-3 with an RBI. This including a double where he showed his speed, blazing to second base, just getting underneath the tag of a strong throw.
The Cubs pitching was strong all game including Scott Feldman who started in his first Cactus League action and went 2 innings allowing a run on 2 hits with 2 K’s. He was followed by Travis Wood who allowed 1 Run on a Derek Norris solo homerun. Carlos Marmol, Kyuji Fujikawa, Rule 5 guy Hector Rondon and NR Invitee Zach Putnam followed Wood with a scoreless inning each. Another Cubs Non-Roster Invitee Jensen Lewis made things exciting in the 9th as Oakland had three straight hits off him, which scored a run. Then with A’s runners on second and third base and no outs, Lewis was able to strike out the next two batters and get a ground out to end the game.
Dave Sappelt continues to look good this spring, he knocked a ball off of the left centerfield wall in the 3rd inning driving in Brent Lillibridge. Non-Roster Invitee Darnell McDonald also continues to play well, going 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI and run scored.
Many members of the Cubs and Athletics brass were on hand today as the A’s were taking a close live-game look at their potential future spring home. When the Cubs leave Hohokam prior to next spring for their new western headquarters at the current Riverview Park site, Fitch Park and Hohokam Stadium will be closed for renovations. Renovations will happen during 2014, after which Oakland will begin Cactus League play in Mesa for spring training 2015.
Today’s game was much quicker than yesterday, finishing at 2 hours 50 minutes. Tomorrow the Cubs will finish up what amounts to a four game home stand, taking on the Arizona Diamondbacks at Hohokam. As we move into the month of March tomorrow, our spring training temperature will be just about perfect – 77 degrees with lots of sun!
Today’s photos from John Antonoff