There wasn’t much offense provided by the Chicago Cubs lineup until the ninth inning, as outfielder Matt Szczur drove in utility man Arismendy Alcantara on a RBI triple in the 3-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners.
Seattle (10-10) not only received a scoreless six-inning outing from Taijuan Walker, but received run support from both Mike Zunino and Robinson Cano in the fifth inning. Zunino would take Cubs’ (9-13) starter Travis Wood deep to right field on the first pitch of the at-bat, his fourth home run of the spring, padding Seattle’s lead to 2-0.
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Wood (1-1, 4.19 ERA) didn’t necessarily have a terrible outing against the Mariners. In five innings of work, he allowed five hits while giving up three earned runs with two walks and three punchouts as he was handed the loss.
Assuming this is his final start of the spring, Wood has pitched through 19 1/3 in five starts, surroundering nine runs, one long-ball with a 13/3 K/BB ratio.
Veteran catcher Miguel Montero put himself in scoring position with a double (his only hit of the night) down the left-field line with one-out in the top of the seventh inning. Both Ryan Sweeney and Chris Coughlan would fall victim to strikeouts as Starlin Castro lined out to third baseman Patrick Brady.
Chicago would score their final run of the ballgame on a RBI by Albert Almora, making it 3-2 in the ninth. Almora reached first base safely after shortstop Shawn O’Malley commited an error while attempting to field the groundball hit in his direction. Chris Valaika would strikeout to end the game with runners on first and second.
What Stood Out:
While Wood did fairly well on the mound, the bullpen did a decent job after taking over on the mound. Relievers Hector Rondon, Phil Coke and Pedro Strop were the only arms used out of the pen after Wood’s five frames to start things off.
All three men would combine for three innings, one hit (Coke), two walks and four strikeouts. As of right now, Coke could be on the verge of joining the big league roster alongside Rondon and Strop after working five scoreless innings with just as many strikeouts since joining the Cubs earlier this month.
The Cubs will find themselves playing another evening game, this time agaisnt Jered Weaver and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Mesa.
Taking the mound for the Cubs will be left-handed pitcher Eric Jokisch. Jokisch (1-0, 4.50 ERA) picked up a spot-start vs Seattle last Saturday after skipper Joe Maddon announced that Opening Night starter Jon Lester was dealing with a case of ‘dead arm’. He gave up three earned runs in as many innings while throwing only 24 pitches in the outing.
Starting opposite of Jokisch will be veteran right-handed starter Weaver. Weaver (2-0, 1.69 ERA) has been excellent for the Angels, allowing just three earned runs off 12 hits through 16 frames and four starts.
He recently worked a scoreless 5 1/3 (six strikeouts) against the World Series champions San Francisco Giants last Saturday.
First pitch for Friday evenings game between the Halos and Cubs is slated for 6:05 pm central time and will be shown live on ESPN.