On Wednesday the Cubs had a rematch with the Royals. Matt Garza was also facing the Royals for his second straight start (third appearance overall). How did he fair the second time around? On to the game notes.
Unfortunately Garza was wild with his control, walking three of the first five batters he faced. All three walks would later come in to score in a five run first inning for the Royals. Garza ended his outing of 2 2/3 innings with four hits allowed, four walks issued, and 4 strikeouts to go with his six earned runs. The four walks are a bit alarming, but hopefully it was just one bad outing. Garza’s control will be the main thing to look out for in his next appearance.
Prospect Jay Jackson also had his second straight appearance of allowing runs. He allowed the inherited runner to score when he came in to replace Garza in the 3rd inning and finished with two runs allowed on five hits over 2 1/3 innings. The positive is that he did not issue any walks. Carlos Marmol continued his strong Spring with a scoreless inning that featured two strikeouts while not walking any batters.
Esmailin Caridad, who had not allowed a run in his first three appearances, was roughed up for three runs by the Royals in the top of the 9th. I was keeping tabs on Caridad as a candidate that could possibly force his way into a crowded, deep Cubs bullpen, so it will be interesting to see how he bounces back in his next outing.
Another error free day for the Cubs. It is a good thing when I do not have much to write about under this section.
Jeff Baker got his shot at lead off today against the left handed Bruce Chen of the Royals. Baker led off the bottom of the 1st with a walk, made his way to third base on Marlon Byrd’s single, and came in on a ground ball out by Aramis Ramirez. One of the consistent positives this Spring for the Cubs has been the first inning scoring. It is also a good sign of how the top half of the order has been performing as a unit, thanks mostly to the core consisting of Starlin Castro, Byrd, and Aramis Ramirez. Baker finished the day, however, at 1 for 4 with two strikeouts and two runners left on base. The biggest highlight was a home run by Byrd.
Other than the above mentioned usual sspects, the couple other highlights on a day when there were few for the Cubs, was Josh Vitters going 1 for 3 with a run and Cubbies Crib readers favorite Max Ramirez going 1 for 1. Vitters is now hitting .385 for the Spring and in more limited action, Max Ramirez is hitting .375. Unfortunately there was no amazing come back out of the Cubs like they did against the Angels the other day.