The Cubs split their squad Saturday, with the half the team staying home to take on the Angels at Sloan Park. Several of the established starters played, but the real story in this game was 2018 first-round pick Nico Hoerner.
Slugger Justin Bour gave the Angels an early lead with a solo homer off of starter Duane Underwood Jr. in the 1st inning. Chicago took the lead in the 2nd inning when Jim Adduci singled home Kyle Schwarber, followed by bases-loaded walks of Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist drew to make it 3-1.
The aforementioned Hoerner smacked a two-run home run to left center to make it 5-1 in the 3rd inning. Reliever George Kontos allowed a pair of RBI doubles in the 4th to cut the lead to 5-3.
The Cubs tacked on six more runs in the later innings, again with the help of Hoerner. The phenom reached base a total of four times, with two HBP’s and a double, and has now reached in eight straight plate appearances. The home team coasted to a 11-4 victory. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
The Cubs worked the opposing pitchers to the tune of seven walks, many of which they were able to turn into runs.
Hoerner’s homer gave the Cubs the eventual winning runs. In his small sample size at major league spring training, he has been white hot.
Stats That Matter
- Hoerner is slashing .833/.889/.1.833 in three games, doesn’t seem sustainable.
- Schwarber had two more hits, including a double, in three at-bats.
- Pedro Strop pitched around three baserunners in a clean inning of work.
- Steve Cishek also pitched a 1-2-3 inning with a pair of strikeouts.
From the looks of his early career, Hoerner may move through the minors very quickly. He has been fun to watch so far.
The Cubs head to Phoenix to play the Brewers at 3:05pm CT Sunday, with Kyle Hendricks starting in a game that will be aired on WGN.