CI Recap (3/5/17) – Cubs 9, Rangers 9: Sweaty Jon Returns, Almora Has Grand Game

The Cubs traveled to Surprise to play the Texas Rangers in Jon Lester’s spring debut. In fact, several Cubs pitchers, including closer Wade Davis, made their debuts Sunday.

Tommy La Stella opened the scoring with and opposite-field homer in the 1st, which he followed the next inning with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.

Lester went 1-2-3 in the 1st inning but ran into a little trouble in the 2nd, giving up three hits and two runs to tie the game at 2-2. The Cubs went back ahead with a Jacob Hannemann RBI ground out, 3-2.

Wade Davis made his first appearance in a Chicago uniform in the 3rd inning and let’s just say it’s good it was Spring Training. Davis allowed the first four batters to reach on a walk and three hits. He ended up allowing three runs, which, if it were the regular season, would be the most he has allowed in an appearance since 2012.

Koji Uehara and Justin Grimm each pitched clean innings in their first appearances. Albert Almora continued his good spring, hitting a grand slam in the 5th inning to put the Cubs up 7-5.

Willson Contreras hit a two-run home run in the 6th to extend the lead to 9-5, but the Rangers staged a late rally to tie the score at 9-9 in the 8th.

Yet again, the game ended in a 9-9 tie. What is the spring training record for ties, anyway?

Stats That Matter

  • Tommy La Stella went 2-2 with 2 RBI’s and a home run. La Stella got a late start in his battle with Matt Szczur for the final roster spot, but more efforts like this will help.
  • Jeimer Candelario had two more hits as he solidifies his position as first call up from AAA if someone gets hurt. The Candy Man had to leave after getting hit by a pitch, but he’s expected to be fine.
  • Justin Grimm looked very sharp with 2 strikeouts in his inning. If the Reaper can pitch like that a really good bullpen gets even better.

Bottom line

Jon Lester and Willson Contreras got their first live action as a battery. Without David Ross, getting Contreras and the Cubs ace on the same page will be a big help.

On deck

The Cubs head to Tempe Monday to play the Anaheim Angels. Jake Arrieta makes his spring debut and Anthony Rizzo likely returns. First pitch is at 2:10 CST.

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