Cubs fall in Cactus League opener to Arizona, 5-2


Feb 27, 2014; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs hold their inaugural opening ceremonies at HoHoKam Park. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Cubs baseball was officially on the air today! But our beloved Cubbies fell short against the Arizona Diamondbacks. I live near the stadium, but I haven’t been able to see what it actually looks like in person.

Good thing they showed us around during today’s telecast on WGN.

Now today’s matchup against the Arizona Diamondbacks happened to be a split squad game for the opposing team. Taking the mound for the Cubs for the first Spring Training game played in the teams brand new ball park was right handed pitcher Jeff Samardzija.

Samardzija’s name is still being thrown around the rumor mill, but, for now, he’s still wearing Chicago Cubs pinstripes.

Samardzija lasted two innings, allowed only one hit, walked one and struck out two to start off the spring. Pitchers Justin Grimm, Pedro Strop, Wesley Wright, Jose Veras, Blake Parker, Hector Rondon and Alberto Cabrera followed Samardzija throughout the game.

Recently signed infielder Emilio Bonifacio started at second base today and led off in the batting order. In his first at-bat with the Cubs, Bonifacio was able to record a stand up triple after lining the ball down the right field line.

Luis Valbuena was waiting on deck as Bonifacio took his at bat. Valbuena started at third base and was able to drive in Bonifacio with a fielders choice to first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.

Two innings later the Cubs struck again, this time is was Starlin Castro driving in Luis Valbuena with an RBI double to center field to give the home team a 2-0 lead early on. Castro would finish the game going two for two and an RBI under his belt before being replaced by former San Diego Padre, Jeudy Valdez.

Chicago’s offense was pretty much non-existent from there on, allowing the Diamondbacks to score three runs in the fifth inning and adding two more runs in the very next inning.

Diamondbacks’ Martin Prado doubled to Ryan Kalish, driving in Gerardo Parra in the process. Shortly after Prado picked up his first RBI of the Spring, veteran third baseman Eric Chavez launched the first ever home run, a two run blast in the brand new ball-park to right center field, giving the D’backs a 3-2 lead.

Arizona struck gold with Goldschmidt (see what I did there?) the very next inning as he drove in the two final runs of the game with a single to center fielder Matt Szczur.

Right handed pitcher Will Harris was able to pick up the win for the Diamondbacks with the save going to Jake Barrett, and the loss going to Cubs southpaw Wesley Wright. Wright finished the game with a 27.00 ERA, the highest out of the group.

Jose Veras was charged with two earned runs in his Cubs Spring Training debut. He was pulled after one inning of work, finishing the day with a strikeout and an ERA of 18.00.

Guys who already have Opening Day spots under lock such as Anthony Rizzo, Junior Lake and Welington Castillo all went hit-less today.

The Cubs offense collected two runs off five hits, with the D’backs tallied up five runs on top of 10 hits. Both sides were not  charged with a single error, which is a great thing.

The Chicago Cubs will look to redeem themselves tomorrow as they travel about 15-20 minutes away to visit the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in a full squad showdown at 2 p.m. central, 1 p.m. mountain standard time.