The Cubs bats woke up on Thursday, after being shut out the day before by the Rockies. The Dodgers played the role of the whipping boy, a team the Cubs had already lost twice to earlier this Spring. The offense jumped on Dodgers starter Chris Capuano early, posting a crooked three spot on the board in the top of the first.
Brent Lillibridge got it started with a double from the two spot in the order. He would score two batters later on Welington Castillo’s triple. The Cubs starting catcher, slotted as the clean up hitter, collected two RBI on that hit. He would later score on a ground out as well.
Lillibridge, trying to get the nod as an option at third base come April, got the scoring going again in the third inning with a lead off single. He would later score on a piece of two out hitting by his hot corner competition, Luis Valbuena.
Mean while, starter Chris Rusin tossed a gem of an outing. The lefty only allowed one hit and one walk over five innings and would have kept going had this not been a Spring game. With the help of his bullpen and the Cubs offense, that effort was plenty good to bump his Cactus League record to 2-0. The scoreless outing also dropped his Spring ERA to 0.69. Somebody wants to be on the team come Opening Day! Unfortunately it will not be as a starter, as manager Dale Sveum seems already set on his starting rotation. More on that in a separate post. Rusin, however, should be in consideration for a spot in the pen as the second lefty, something I have been mentioning all Spring. It will just come down to whether or not the transition from getting starters innings in Arizona will effect his productivity in relief come the regular season.
Speaking of the pen, Cubs relievers would carry on Rusin’s shut out effort until Zach Putnam allowed a score in the bottom of the ninth. Drew Carpenter was the only other pitcher to toss more than one inning and he finished by allowing just two hits and one walk while striking out two.
Brett Jackson pretty much created a run by himself in he seventh to further extend the lead. He led off the frame with a single and then promptly stole second, his first of the Spring. He would advance to third on a ground out and then score on an errant pick off attempt. Illinois native and back up outfield candidate Brian Bogusevic would tack two more runs in the ninth with a double, adding to his case to be included in the group that will partake in Opening Day festivities in April.
The Cubs improved to 8-11 in Cactus League play.