There has been plenty of streak talk in the Chicago area over the last few weeks. If you have lived under a rock during that time, are an out of state or country Cub fan not originally from Illinois, or do not follow hockey, then I will let you know that I am referring to the Chicago Blackhawks and their 24 game streak to start the season without a regulation time loss. That streak, unfortunately, came to an end last week in Denver. The Cubs on the other hand, were able to snap a streak of their own on Sunday. Even though this is just Cactus League play, going a week without a win is no fun regardless.
The Cubs picked on Jed Hoyer’s former employer, the San Diego Padres, to get back in the win column. It actually took a bit of a comeback effort to do so. While the 9-3 score line gives the impression that the Cubs were in control all the way, the North Siders in fact did all of their damage in the sixth and eighth innings. Until the bottom of the sixth, the Cubs were actually down 2-0.
New Cub Scott Feldman took the mound and faced former Cub Jason Marquis, now with the Padres. Feldman went three innings, giving up his two earned runs in that final frame of work. He also struck out three during his stint. Travis Wood took over from there and provided a solid outing that reminded everyone that he wants a rotation spot even when Matt Garza and Scott Baker eventually return. The highlights of his scoreless four innings on the mound included only allowing one hit while striking out six. There is a little concern of his walk total of three, however.
Wood did a little bit of everything on Sunday, as he also used his bat to spark the Cubs offense. He led off the sixth inning with a single, a feat lead off man David DeJesus repeated behind him. Alfonso Soriano provided a clutch two out double to drive in two before back up catcher Dioner Navarro launched a two run shot, putting a crooked four spot on the scoreboard for the home team. You have to love seeing Soriano involved in the scoring and the two out hits.
Christian Villanueva added a two run homer of his own in the eighth, part of a five run frame that blew the game open. Villaneuva only has three hits this Spring, but all three are home runs. He still does not look like he will be able to hit Major League pitching enough to warrant a roster spot come Opening Day, but with Ian Stewart on pace to not be an option at third come April, it will be interesting to see if Villanueva is invited to join the team back to Chicago to back up Luis Valbuena at the hot corner.
It should also be noted that Jorge Soler collected his first home run of the Spring, also coming in the eighth inning.
Carlos Marmol had a bounce back outing with a clean eighth inning before Michael Bowden wrapped the game up, despite allowing one run on two hits. The Cubs improved to 6-10 on the Spring, with a 4-6 record at HoHoKam Park.