The Cubs headed to Surprise to take on the Texas Rangers on Wednesday afternoon. Chicago jumped on veteran starter Edinson Volquez in the 1st inning, scoring four runs. The big blow was a two-run double by non-roster invitee Phillip Evans.
Cole Hamels made his spring debut and after pitching around some hard contact in the 1st inning, settled down for a 1-2-3 2nd inning. Willson Contreras continued to show an early spring power surge. He crushed a long two-run homer to left in the 2nd inning against former teammate Jesse Chavez.
A Mark Zagunis homer upped the Chicago lead to 8-1 in the 5th inning. That was more than enough for the Cubs to close out an 9-5 win. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
Once again the Cubs jumped out to an early lead that they were able to maintain all game. It will be nice if they can take that trend from exhibition games to the real ones.
Contreras has hit two homers in his first four games of the spring. After a power outage late in 2018, it is very nice to see the Cubs backstop get his power stroke back, at least early on.
Stats That Matter
- Hamels’ final line: 2 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 K, and 0 BB.
- David Bote returned to the lineup after being hit in the head earlier in the week. He showed no ill effects, picking up a pair of singles in three at bats.
- Tony Barnette, one of the Cubs new bullpen additions, allowed two runs in his inning of work.
- Dillon Maples and Dakota Mekkes, two young arms who might make an impact for the Northsiders in 2019, each pitched clean innings late in the game. Maples again didn’t walk a batter while striking out two.
The Cubs saw good things from Hamels and Contreras on Wednesday. Pretty much all you can ask for in a spring training game.
The A’s come to Sloan Park for a 2:05 pm CT game against the Cubs on Thursday. Kyle Hendricks makes his spring debut in the game which is available in audio on mlb.com.