Chicago Cubs end weekend with 3-3 tie vs Oakland Athletics
The second week of spring training is officially in the books which means we’re inching closer to Opening Night in Los Angeles. On Sunday, Kyle Hendricks and the Chicago Cubs found themselves in a battle against a team that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer made some huge deals with.
With Jake Arrieta making quick work of the Chicago White Sox and Jon Lester giving up six runs in his outing, Hendricks is hoping to earn himself a spot in the rotation with these two machines. Yesterday’s game was definitely a statement.
Joe Maddon‘s 26-year-old right-hander turned in a strong performance, working four scoreless innings while allowing just one hit. Not only did he limit the Athletics but he managed to strike out five batter’s and issued one walk along the way.
And like the split-squad game against the White Sox, Chicago’s offense jumped all over Jesse Hahn for two runs in the very first inning of the ballgame.
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Outfielder Kyle Schwarber, who returned from a knee injury, was up to bad when Hahn delivered a wild pitch. Instead of a runner scoring, second baseman Javier Baez was called out at the plate after first baseman Anthony Rizzo scored.
Just a few moments later, Jeimer Candelario drilled his second home run of the spring to deep left field, extending the Cubs lead to two. Candelario started at third base and finished 3-for-4, raising his average to .333.
Both teams would shut down one another over the course of the next five innings until Chicago struck in the top of the seventh with Sean Doolittle on the mound for the Athletics.
Following Willson Contreras‘s ground out to first, John Andreoli turned on the third pitch of the at-bat and sent it out to left field. It was his second homer of the spring and it came when he was down 0-2 in the count.
Those types of at-bats will get you noticed by the skipper and the rest of the group that decides who gets called up during the season.
Next: Moving Baez will definitely pay off
With the Cubs holding a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, Maddon used the opportunity to give his closer, Hector Rondon some work. Instead of helping his club pick up their fourth win of the spring, he was issued a blown save.
Things started out fine. He got Max Muncy to lineout to Arismendy Alcantara at second but allowed Andrew Lambo and Mark Canha to reach base safely via a one-out single and walk. Oakland took advantage with runners in scoring position by putting together back-to-back RBI singles courtesy of Franklin Barreto and Tyler Ladendorf to cut the lead down to one.
Matt Olson tied things up with a sacrifice fly to right field, allowing Barreto to cross home plate to lock things up at three-all. The contest would come to a close following Bruce Maxwell falling victim to a much-needed strikeout.
Next up for the Cubs will be the San Diego Padres in Mesa, Arizona. Right-hander Jake Arrieta will make his second start of the spring opposite right-hander Colin Rea with the first pitch scheduled for 3:05 p.m. central time.