Chicago Cubs Score and Recap (3/23/23): Cubs 11, Diamondbacks 1 – Wesneski Solid, Bats Roll to Victory
The Cubs took on the Arizona Diamondbacks at Sloan Park Thursday with a lineup very similar to the one they will use on Opening Day in a week. Chicago got more clarity in regard to the pitching rotation and rolled to an easy win.
Hayden Wesneski was outstanding yet again on Thursday, with his only real mistake coming on an errant pickoff throw in the 5th that allowed Arizona to score their lone run. That tally tied the game after Tucker Barnhart brought home the first Cubs run with an RBI single in the 2nd inning. The Cubs answered back quickly and decisively.
Miles Mastrobuoni, fighting for the final spot on the bench, hit a two-run single in the bottom of the 5th to give Chicago a 3-1 lead. Keegan Thompson came on in the 6th and dominated for two innings despite continuing to display lower velocity on his heater.
The Cubs exploded for eight runs in the 7th and 8th, including bases-loaded walks to Dansby Swanson and Ian Happ, to put the contest on ice. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
A great starting pitching performance and ample run support made this game a laugher.
Stats That Matter
- Thursday’s effort removed any doubt that Wesneski is part of the Cubs starting rotation: 5 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 H, 5 K, and 2 BB.
- Barnhart had a pair of hits and did an excellent job catching Wesneski.
- Mastrobuoni also added a pair of walks to his RBI single. He had been away from camp with Team Italy in the WBC, so he has to make up for lost time.
The Cubs only have a few decisions still to make before the season starts next week. The rotation appears to be stronger than in 2022, at least on paper, and Thompson’s performance this spring merits his inclusion in Chicago’s bullpen to start the year even though the diminished velocity remains a concern.
The Cubs have a split-squad day on Friday, taking on the Texas Rangers at Sloan Park and the Cleveland Guardians in Goodyear. Opening Day starter Marcus Stroman goes against the Rangers at 3:05pm CT while Adrian Sampson gets the nod in the Cleveland game at 8:05pm CT. Both matchups will be available on Marquee.