The Cubs brought some of their big sluggers on the road to battle the Mariners in Peoria on Monday, but it was the less-heralded portion of the lineup that had an offensive explosion. They were able to chase de facto Seattle ace Marco Gonzales in the 1st inning and kept pouring it on all game long.
Kris Bryant and Javy Báez began the rally by drawing walks, after which Steven Souza Jr. and Albert Almora Jr. singled to drive in both runners. Then catcher Josh Phegley pounded a long three-run bomb to dead center to make it 5-0. Adbert Alzolay struck out three hitters with his nasty curve, though he also surrendered three hits and two runs in his inning of work.
Almora and Souza combined again to drive in a run each in the 2nd inning as the lead ballooned to 8-2. Almora put some icing on his cake with a two-run homer in the 4th and exited having yet to make an out on the spring.. The scoring was a long way from finished, but the Cubs never gave up the lead and won going away. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
The offense took advantage of a weak M’s pitching staff to build a big lead early. The Juniors were particularly impressive.
It was nice to see the new top of the Cubs lineup jump all over a pitcher who won 16 games last season. Bryant drawing a walk to start the game is a reminder that he could be very effective atop the order.
Stats That Matter
- Rowan Wick‘s spring got off to a rough start Monday as the big righty allowed five runs in less than a full inning of work.
- Almora is a perfect 5-for-5 this spring with a walk and a home run.
- Phegley was a triple shy of the cycle in three at-bats.
- Former Cub Carl Edwards Jr. struggled in an inning of work allowing 3 runs. Hate to see him scuffle so much, but you had to know at least player named after his father would have to struggle.
Even if we remind ourselves that spring numbers should be taken with a grain of salt, it would be great if Almora or Souza could punish left-handed pitching like they did Monday. Solid platoon options would certainly make the offense more consistent.
The Cubs welcome the Rockies to Sloan Park Tuesday at 2:10pm CT, when Jon Lester makes his first start of the spring. Marquee Sports Network has the coverage and MLB.com will have the audio.