The Cubs took on the Milwaukee Brewers at a sunny Sloan Park Sunday afternoon with WBC action and NCAA tournament selection consuming most of the oxygen in the sports world. Chicago did not come out victorious, but they did get more clarity on the battle for the final spot in the starting rotation.
Adrian Sampson, currently on the wrong side of the Cubs’ fifth starter competition, struggled yet again. Luke Voit and Brice Turang hit back-to-back home runs in the top of the 2nd inning to give Milwaukee a 2-0 lead. The Brewers would execute a double steal/rundown later in the frame to score third time. On the bright side, this was the first time Sampson allowed fewer than three homers in an outing this spring.
Chicago cut the deficit to one in the 6th inning when Ian Happ blasted a long two-run homer to right field. The Brew Crew then put up a couple more runs against Brandon Hughes in the 8th to seal the win. (Box score)
Ian Happ with a home run on to the concourse 💪 pic.twitter.com/T1GnwqoNl0
— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) March 12, 2023
Why the Cubs Lost
Other than the one big swing from Happ, the offense did very little Sunday.
Stats That Matter
- Sampson has now given up eight home runs in three spring appearances: 4 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 3 K, and 0 BB.
- Michael Fulmer threw another scoreless inning as he fights for a bullpen spot.
- Rowan Wick has quietly been very effective in the 2023 Cactus League.
Sampson is just not keeping up with Hayden Wesneski so far and, barring injury, his role during the regular season is unclear. He’s been talked about as a long reliever, but he has an option remaining or he could even be released to open up a roster spot if the Cubs make any additional signings.
It would be great if Happ could consistently access the power he displayed Sunday.
The Cubs are off on Monday before hosting the Colorado Rockies at Sloan Tuesday afternoon at 3:05pm CT. Justin Steele gets the start with Marquee on the telecast.