Chicago’s boys in blue took a trip to Surprise, Arizona to take on the Texas Rangers and familiar faces Jeff Baker, Geo Soto, and James Adduci. The Cubs offense was only able to scratch across two runs, with the first coming in the initial frame thanks to a solo homer by Scott Hairston. The Chicago line up ended up getting shut down by the Rangers lefty Robbie Ross, who ended his appearance by retiring the last nine batters he faced.
On the positive side, the pitching as a whole was better for the North Siders compared to the last couple of games, despite the narrow 3-2 loss to the Rangers. All three runs were charged to starter Hisanori Takahashi, who is actually in camp on a minor league contract to compete for a bullpen spot. He allowed five hits and two walks to go along with those earned runs, but he did register four strikeouts as well. It should also be noted that the runs came in the second and third inning of work for the Japanese pitcher. It remains to be seen whether his chance to win a bullpen job will be better as a long reliever or specialist, but the fact that he is a lefty will give him every opportunity to earn a spot, considering the Cubs pen projects to just have James Russell as a left handed option.
Feb 23, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs pitcher Hisanori Takahashi (47) pitches during the third inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
The other highlights included scoreless frames by Jaye Chapman and Trey McNutt, with Chapman bouncing back from a subpar outing on Saturday. Hector Rondon continued his run of good form, tossing another scoreless frame and continuing to build his case as a legitimate option for the pen rather than a token Rule 5 stash away.
The Cubs fell to 5-8 with the loss, with their road Cactus League record standing at 2-4.