The off day on Tuesday must have thrown off the Cubs, as their two game winning streak came to an end on Wednesday. The Cubs offense matched the visiting Rockies with six hits on the day, but the Colorado pitchers kept the home team off of the scoreboard, including two perfect innings by former Cub Manny Corpas.
Projected starting third baseman Luis Valbuena was given lead off duties and went 0 for 2. Darwin Barney was the only Cub with multiple hits. However one thing that did overshadow the lack of offense was the return of Starlin Castro from a hamstring injury. The All Star Cub looked fine in the field and also collected a hit. The Cubs unfortunately left the bases loaded in the first and third innings on their way to being shut out.
Edwin Jackson got the start for the Cubs and was stretched to five innings of work. The number two starter is on pace to start in the home opener at Wrigley. Jackson didn’t look too bad, only allowing three hits and one run during his outing. Just a little bit of offense from the line up and the former National could easily have avoided being hung with the loss, dropping his Spring record to 0-2.
Ironically, closer in waiting Kyuji Fujikawa struggled for the first time this Spring while Carlos Marmol tossed a scoreless frame. Fujikawa issued two walks and allowed a run before getting out of his own jam. The Japanese import’s struggles did allow for a chance to practice a new rule that allows an intrepreter to join the pitching coach or manager on the mound to overcome the language barriers when settling down pitchers or discussing strategy. Catcher Dioner Navarro has also been trying to pick up a Japanese word or two over the course of the Spring as well.
Halfway through March we are starting to get an idea of who has the inside track to the remaining 25 man roster spots. Whether or not there are competent solutions at a position or two is another question, but opening day is now just a little over two weeks away!