I would do one for every game, but that first game of spring training was special and the rest are just like whatever at this point as long as no one (else) gets hurt. It was just nice to have a “normal” spring training again after a pandemic (still going, technically), a lockout, and even with the World Baseball Classic looming.
The Not So Good News
I was looking forward to the “regular” lineup, but alas, Seiya’s oblique was not cooperating:
The fact that nobody has said anything other than that he’s under further observation is troublesome, suggesting this might not be of the “we’re just being precautionary because the games don’t matter” variety, but this time of year being the best time for overreaction, maybe it’s just that and we will find out more in short order. But anytime you see an oblique issue, it’s no fun at all, no matter how mild it turns out to be. At least Brennen Davis played reasonably well and it’s good to see him out there doing normal baseball things in a game setting after his issues with injuries last year.
N = 1 for the New Rules
This is the first game I watched (most of, anyway) and I was only realizing it had been three hours at the end when we were all wondering whether the Cubs could make it under that magic mark. The average time of game for spring training so far through a dozen or so games is two hours and thirty minutes, and the Cubs ended up taking three hours and six minutes, which is actually not too bad considering all the pitching changes they forced SF to make within an inning and the number of baserunners and runs scored by both sides. I hopped out for a spell in the middle but as far as I could tell, the only clock violations were by Giants personnel, which I guess bodes well for the Cubs. The game didn’t end on a clock violation, unlike this one:
If you click in, Passan goes on to note that MLB said the call was made correctly (and of course they would, but per the rule and how much time was on the clock etc, yeah they did) and it’s good they did this during the preseason rather than a game that counted, but the rule is pretty explicit. They’ve been told. Get in the box and pay attention, the clock’s running whether you think it is or not. So even if something like this (DeRosa forbid) happened to the Cubs, I wouldn’t have sympathy for it. I think they’ll hide the big ass clock on the side of the backstop from the broadcast view in the regular season, but I do like the clock in the score bug ticking down like the shot clock in the NBA broadcasts, I think it helps the fans keep track and gives everything a sense of urgency that makes things more fun, at least for me because I’m weird.
I did see a couple of Giants steal off Yan Gomes so I think the Cubs will have to work with their batteries to hold runners better in the confines of the new rules, but I missed Pete Crow-Armstrong’s steal unfortunately. The Cubs defense didn’t appear to be hindered by being forced to stay within the dirt, as here’s a nice double play from early in the game:
This also happened while I was out for a bit but I think it’s nice that David Bote still has pop and is just a bus ride away in Iowa if they need him and he doesn’t suck:
Cubs pitchers not named Marcus Stroman (and therefore not who I care too much about) gave up a bunch of dingers and Cubs batters only hit that one, but scoring 10 runs with just one bomb is pretty cool and I liked all the running. It really was a smooth game despite topping three hours, and I didn’t feel the slag because it was such a brisk pace. But this is just N=1 so let’s see what happens next.
Games Coming Up
As usual you can keep tabs yourself using the Cubs schedule, and for the time being at least, most of the spring training games seem to be available for free on MLB.tv but of course they’ll make you pay come the regular season.
There’s a Cubs away game at wherever it is the Dodgers play now, with Justin Steele slated to start that one. Then on Monday, there’s split squad action with Jameson Taillon starting at home against Cleveland while Caleb Kilian draws the start against the Dbacks at the place they share with the Rockies that’s really nifty. I’ll try to post lineups and crap if I get the time but the weekends be busy, but hopefully I’ll get to tune in for a few innings.