After the Cubs’ second baseman Darwin Barney hit the first home run of the spring for Chicago, cutting the Angels’ lead to 4-1, it was easy to think this is where the team would turn the corner. Well, the Cubs turned a corner, but it wasn’t the right one. By the time the bottom of the fourth drew to a close, Los Angeles extended its lead to 10-1 and they never looked back, taking down Chicago by a 15-3 final.
For the Cubs, the highlight of the day came in the seventh inning when highly-touted prospect Kris Byrant launched a ball over the center field wall for his first home run of the spring, and his first Cactus League homer of his career.
The biggest blow came in that dreadful fourth inning, courtesy of a grand slam by Angels outfielder Mike Trout off right-hander James McDonald, who was signed to a one-year deal during the offseason. That shot completely changed the feel of the game, which just minutes earlier, stood at just 5-1.
A ground ball off the bat of Raul Ibanez added another run for the Angels, only magnifying a mistake made by non-roster invitee Chris Valaika just shortly before the grounder. With Albert Pujols on third, a grounder to Valaika seemed like a sure out. However, the 28-year-old attempted to get Pujols in a rundown, but poor judgment allowed him to get back to the bag safely. The former Cardinals great then scored on the subsequent ground ball.
In just one frame of work, McDonald allowed six earned runs on six hit and three walks. Former San Francisco Giants southpaw Jonathan Sanchez followed him, and in just two-thirds of a frame, allowed three earned runs on a bases-clearing triple off the bat of J.B. Shuck, which pushed the Angels’ lead to 13-1 with two outs in the bottom of the fourth.
Pitching, as a whole, struggled for the Cubs on Friday, allowing 15 hits and issuing eight base-on-balls on the afternoon. Top prospect Javier Baez went 0-for-3, but a bright spot for the Cubs’ offense included a double by Albert Almora.