Wins have been hard to come by for the Cubs this spring, with the team coming into Friday’s game against the Reds with a 1-8 spring record. You know how I feel about the win/loss record in spring training; repeat the Bill Murray line from the 1979 film Meatballs – “It just doesn’t matter…It just doesn’t matter!” That said, it’s always just a little more fun for everyone winning, instead of losing. And win the Cubs did – 7-4 over the Reds at Sloan Park in front of a sell-out crowd of 15,256.
The Cubs used some long-ball action, with Dan Vogelbach, Miguel Montero, and Tim Federowicz all going yard. Cubs minor league prospect Dan Vogelbach was the DH again today, and in his first at-bat took Reds starter Robert Stephenson deep to straight away center over the 410 sign. With the score tied at 3 in the 4th inning, Miguel Montero put the Cubs ahead for good, with a no-doubt 2 run HR. Federowicz added an insurance sole HR in the 8th. Anthony Rizzo was 2 for 2, both doubles.
John Lackey made his first 2016 Cactus League start and allowed 3 runs in three innings of work, including a solo HR, he also struck out 4 Reds. As with the spring final scores, don’t read to much into any veteran pitchers outing this early in camp, as Lackey said, “The first two innings, I just threw a bunch of fastballs, I’m just trying to work on my arm strength. The third inning, I mixed in a few more things.” Justin Grimm, Neil Ramirez, and Spencer Patton all looked good on the mound, each throwing a no-hit inning, with a combined 6 K’s.
It was a beautiful warm day (82 degrees at first pitch) at Sloan Park, and the game flew by at brisk 2 hours 26 minutes. As I was leaving the ballpark about 15 minutes after the final out, there were a lot of smiling people still lingering on the berm enjoying the warm day and the W, nobody seemed eager to leave.
The Cubs are back at it today in Mesa, hosting the cross-town rival Chicago White Sox at Sloan Park, game time 1:05 AZ time. Photos by John Antonoff.