In his second outing of the spring, Chicago Cubs ace Jon Lester led his club to its first win of the spring – a 4-3 victory over the loaded Los Angeles Dodgers – in Cactus League play Wednesday afternoon.
In two starts this year, the southpaw has not allowed a run – scattering four hits in the process, enough to keep Cubs’ fans’ mouths salivating at the thought of the club’s first legitimate ace in years.
The difference offensively came in the bottom of the eighth inning when Adron Chambers lifted a sacrifice fly to center field that plated Tommy La Stella, giving Chicago the lead back – this time for good.
The Cubs opened the scoring early on with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second, courtesy of a two-run single off the bat of Mike Baxter, who is on the outside looking in – at least in terms of making the big league club out of camp.
The two runs were the only allowed by Dodgers’ starter Zack Greinke – who lasted just two innings in his first spring start, allowing two hits and issuing a pair of walks.
Los Angeles (4-2) answered back following the Cubs’ third run of the afternoon, as Justin Turner plated a pair on a ground-rule double and top prospect Joc Pederson driving in a third tally via an RBI groundout later in the top of the fourth against Chicago right-hander Brian Schlitter.
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Recent acquisition Phil Coke made his Cubs’ debut on Wednesday, tossing a scoreless innings of work – striking out one and walking another. As a staff, the Cubs issued three free passes and struck out seven.
What Stood Out:
Chicago Cubs third baseman Mike Olt continued his hot start to the spring, going 2-for-3 with a run scored against Los Angeles.
On the spring, the young slugger is batting .400 in 13 at-bats – including a lone run batted in. The former Texas Rangers’ top prospect – who struggled badly in Chicago last season – is looking to show that he’s still a viable big league option for first-year manager Joe Maddon.
If he can keep this up, Olt will likely open the year as Chicago’s starting third baseman – which would do two things for the organization: keep the seat warm for Kris Bryant, who could open the year at Triple-A Iowa, thus avoiding starting his service clock, as well as helping Olt build trade value for himself down the road.
While his future in Chicago is very uncertain, there’s no doubt that if he shows he’s ready to contribute on a full-time basis, Mike Olt could be a dark horse contributor for the Cubs in 2015.
Chicago (1-6) will take on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (3-4) at Tempe Diablo Stadium – behind right-hander Jason Hammel (0-1, 13.50 ERA).
Hammel will be opposed by left-hander Sean Newcomb (0-0, 0.00 ERA0 – who has one inning of work under his belt in Cactus League action this spring.
Radio broadcasts for both sides will be available via MLB.com.