On Friday the Cubs faced the Royals. The match up provided a sneak peak of the interleague series we will see at Kansas City in June. The Royals may no longer have ace Zack Greinke, but they do have the top rated minor league system in all of MLB. On to the game notes.
Matt Garza made his second appearance this Spring, but his official start. Despite having to take the field with a nameless number 94 jersey (apparently someone forgot to pack his number 17 jersey), Garza was able to follow up his shaky Cubs debut with a quality outing of one hit ball over two innings. He was able to finish the 2nd inning despite getting tagged by a comeback line drive, but he did not come out for the 3rd inning. During an in game interview with Len Kasper for the MLB.com broadcast, Garza did insist that he would be fine.
Alberto Cabrera mirrored the starting pitcher’s performance with a one hit over two innings outing of his own. Fan favorite Kerry Wood chipped in a scoreless frame in his relief appearance, but it was the wild John Gaub that was on the hook for a chunk of the damage the Royals handed out. Gaub walked the bases loaded, with a 3-2 count strike out mixed in between for the loan out he registered, before giving up a grand slam to tie the game.
Set up man Sean Marshall also gave up one run over 1 1/3 innings of work. Jeff “The Shark” Samardzija continued with his sharp Spring so far by striking out two of the four batters he faced in his scoreless appearance.
Finally! A clean game in the field defensively for the Cubs. Whether it was the dugout blow up, the team meetings, or just simply shaking off the rust at the start of Spring Training, lets hope the Cubs continue the trend from these last two games with the gloves. The other item of note in the field was that Tyler Colvin made his first start at first base. As is always the he case for some reason in baseball, Colvin got some action right away to start the game on defense, and he handled himself well. He did play some first base in college, so it is not quite a foreign position change for him, but with regular first baseman Carlos Pena also left handed, and utility infielder Jeff Baker being able to play some first base while providing a right handed bat, in my opinion I hope the Cubs let Colvin spend the majority of his time focusing on playing OF, hitting the cover off the ball, and trying to put the bat injury incident long out of his memory.
Manager Mike Quade once again put Kosuke Fukudome in the lead off spot. Kasper noted during the first at bat that he believes Quade will have Fukudome lead off come Opening Day based on how frequently the outfielder has been placed at the top of the order this Spring. For what it is worth, Fukudome went 0 for 3 with two runners left on base, although he did see several pitches in his first at bat before striking out looking.
Starlin Castro registered a 1 for 3 day that included a triple, a run, and a RBI. However the offensive player of the day for the Cubs was Tyler Colvin, who went 3 for 3 and was a triple shy of the cycle. He hit a solo home run in the first inning to give the Cubs an early lead and finished with three RBIs.