On Sunday the Cubs participated in their first split squad games. The North Siders hosted I-94 rival Milwaukee at HoHoKam Park and their split squad made a trip to play the Angels in Tempe, Arizona. At the end of the day, the Cubs also had split results.
Against the Angels, David DeJesus continued his cold hitless start in warm Arizona, going 0 for 3 in the lead off spot. On the other end of the spectrum, fifth outfielder long shot Brian Bogusevic’s bat remained Ghost Rider hot. He went 3 for 3 with a double and a homer to account for half of the Cubs four runs. Non roster invitee was the other offensive highlight in Tempe, going 2 for 4 with a solo shot of his own while manning first base.
Nick Struck got the start and went the max three innings that Cubs starters have been stretched to so far this Spring. He provided a solid scoreless outing to lower his Cactus ERA to 1.80, while only allowing two hits with one strike out. Closer Carlos Marmol was dinged for one run, as was rotation depth man Chris Rusin. The southpaw, however, went three innings as well and otherwise had a good outing.
Hector Rondon continued his solid start to camp with yet another scoreless frame and Jensen Lewis matched Rondon’s effort to earn his second save in the Cactus League, securing the Cubs 4-2 win over the Angels.
However, back at home camp the rest of the Cubs squad was on the losing end of a tight ballgame. Potential starting third baseman Luis Valbuena was put in the leadoff slot once again, but was cooled off and left with an 0 for 2 effort. In fact the top four spots in the lineup were held hitless, including Anthony Rizzo in his final appearance before taking a break to go play WBC ball for Italy.
The Cubs in fact were held to just two hits all afternoon in Mesa, yet managed to score three runs. Two came on the first Spring homer for prospect Javier Baez, who cashed in on a walk to Brett Jackson ahead of him. The third run came in the sixth inning without the benefit of a hit. Nate Schierholtz walked with one out and swiped second base two batters later. He would then advance to third thanks to a wild pitch, and Baez eventually was gifted another RBI by drawing a bases loaded walk. One Spring Training game a Hall of Famer makes not, but it was great to see a prospect flash power yet show patience at the plate at an early age.
The Cubs remained at .500 despite the pair of games, sporting a 5-5 record.