Cubs fail to rally late, fall to Rangers 6-4


6. 126. 4. 9. Final

It appeared as if the Chicago Cubs were gunning for their first Cactus League win after putting together yet another ninth inning rally Sunday afternoon in Mesa, but would fall short 6-4 to the Texas Rangers.

Catcher Kyle Schwarber came off the bench for the second consecutive day to pinch-hit, this time for third baseman Mike Olt with one out in the inning.

Schwarber found himself standing on third base after outfielder Antoan Richardson botched a fly ball – only to score moments later on a pop up single to Danny Lockhart cutting the lead down to just two.

Like yesterday’s contest against the Colorado Rockies, the Cubs (0-4-1) would find themselves with the bases loaded as both Rafael Lopez and Matt Szczur would draw walks with only one out.

Carlos Penalver would ground into a game ending double play on the very first pitch of the at-bat to give the Rangers the victory.

Texas (3-3) stormed out of the gate with multiple home runs during the early innings of the game. Jake Arrieta (0-1, 4.50 ERA) would give up a solo blast to Mitch Moreland in the top of the first inning to give the Rangers the early 1-0 lead.

Arrieta would work through two innings – issuing three walks and two strikeouts before he was replaced by Eric Jokisch.

Things got out of control after Jokisch took the mound as the Rangers hammered him for four runs off six hits. Joey Gallo launched his first home run of the spring off Jokisch in the top of the third inning, extending his clubs lead to 2-0, before Tomas Telis tacked on another run with a RBI single to right field.

Jokisch would give up his second home run of the game during the top of the fourth inning – this time a two-run shot by second baseman Thomas Field – making it a 5-0 game.

With the Cubs trailing 6-2 in the eighth inning, Albert Almora came through with a RBI single to left field to make it a three run contest. Almora entered the game in center field and would finish 1-1, entering the game with a .500 average.

What Stood Out: 

Usually fans are expecting to see something great in this category, but that’s not the case today as Cubs batters would combine for a total of 12 times compared to the Rangers’ eight. This is unacceptable.

Second baseman Javier Baez led the team with three strikeouts of his own, proving that there’s still a bit of work that needs to be done when it comes to his approach and mechanics.

Despite launching a couple of home runs last season, Javier’s strikeout totals at the end of the season appeared to be a bit of a problem.

So far this spring, Baez has failed to record a hit and has left several runners on base. It’s a start like this which leads us to believe that there’s a possibility that he could start the year with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs until these issues are addressed and cleaned up.

If this just so happens to be the case, Arismendy Alcantara could become the favorite to win the second base job before Cactus League play wraps up at the end of the month. Alcantara did account for one of the 12 strikeouts and started the afternoon with a .250 average.

What’s Next: 

The Cubs (0-4-1) will take on the San Diego Padres on Monday with the first pitch slated for 3:05 pm central time. Both Edwin Jackson and Kyle Hendricks are expected to take the mound against the Padres tomorrow afternoon. With Hendricks reportedly included in the first four of the starting rotation, Jackson is looking to lock up the fifth and final spot.

Starting opposite of Jackson will be former Cub’ Andrew Cashner. Cashner will pick up his second start of the spring and carries a heavy 9.00 ERA into tomorrow’s Cactus League showdown against the winless Cubs.