The Cubs were in Surprise for a matchup with the Rangers on Tuesday afternoon, and the visitors made good on the location. Chicago got a rare bad starting pitching performance, falling behind early before again rallied back to win a seventh consecutive game.
Edwin Ríos put the Cubs ahead with a long homer in the 1st inning, but the lead did not last long as the Rangers jumped all over Adrian Sampson. The righty gave up a pair of two-run home runs to Corey Seager and Bubba Thompson in the bottom of the frame and had some fans making up their minds about the rotation battle.
Sergio Alcántara singled in a run in the 2nd, then Texas responded with another two-run bomb off Sampson for a 6-2 advantage. Alcántara doubled in two more runs in the top of the 4th inning to pull the Cubs within one.
Why the Cubs Won
The bullpen did not allow a single run after Sampson blew up early and gave the offense a chance to come back.
Stats That Matter
- Sampson has been touched up for six homers in two appearances this spring.
- Ríos had a hit in addition to his home run and continues to make a big push for playing time.
- Adbert Alzolay picked up a couple of strikeouts in an inning plus of work.
- Pete Crow-Armstrong made an unbelievable diving catch in center in the bottom of the 8th inning.
Pete Crow-ARMYOUKIDDINGME? pic.twitter.com/pevbYzAg0T
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) March 7, 2023
When Sampson reduced the number of homers he surrendered, he became an underrated starting pitcher. If he has regressed to his old gopher ball ways, however, he’s in trouble. The team’s current starting depth means he does not have a guaranteed spot in the rotation, let alone the roster.
The Cubs welcome Team Canada from the World Baseball Classic to Sloan Park on Wednesday at 2:05pm CT. Justin Steele gets the start and Marquee has a Canada-heavy broadcast featuring Ryan Dempster and Fergie Jenkins.