Chicago Cubs Scores and Recaps (3/8/24): Cubs 9, Mariners 5; D-Backs 7, Cubs 5 – Chicago Splits Squads, Results Friday

The Cubs split their squad for the first time in 2024 on Friday afternoon, facing the Mariners at Sloan Park and Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields. Fittingly, the games had a mixed outcome with one victory and one defeat.

Kyle Hendricks got the start against Arizona and allowed three runs in 3.1 innings of work, including a solo home run off the bat of former Cub Joc Pederson. Mike Tauchman hit his own homer to cut the deficit to 3-1 in the 4th.

The D-backs busted the game open against reliever Chris Clarke in the bottom of the frame with four runs. Youngster Brett Bateman hit a two-run double in the top of the 5th as the Cubs pulled within three at 7-4. Darius Hill hit a dinger in the 9th, but that was it as Arizona won 7-5. (Box score)

In Mesa, it was Shōta Imanaga making his second appearance for the Cubs with similar results to his first outing. He gave up two runs, including a solo homer, while also striking out five batters in three frames.

Garrett Cooper continued to push for a roster spot with a three-run, opposite-field dinger in the bottom of the 1st. Matt Shaw tripled in a run followed by RBI singles off the bats of Seiya Suzuki and Dansby Swanson to put the home team ahead 6-2 after the 2nd.

Cal Raleigh, better known as The Big Dumper, blasted a three-run homer of his own to bring the Mariners within 6-5 in the 4th inning. Chicago put the game on ice with two more bombs in the 6th off the bats of Dominic Smith (solo) and Shaw (two-run) and went on to win 9-5. (Box score)

Why the Cubs Lost/Won

They were able to come through with men on base repeatedly in the Mesa half. On the other hand, the Diamondbacks put them in an early hole that they were not able to climb out of with a late rally.

Stats That Matter

  • Shaw continues to show his extra-base power, not to mention good speed. He very well could be a factor at the MLB level late this season.
  • Suzuki and Swanson both reached base twice on Friday.
  • José Cuas has pitched very well so far this spring and will be a big piece of the bullpen.
  • Hendricks did not throw a lot of changeups and was definitely working on his fastball. It’s a good example of why it’s hard to put much stock in spring training performances, particularly from veteran pitchers who might be experimenting instead of trying to get outs.

Bottom Line

Imanaga is working to change his approach to attack the top of the strike zone with heaters and limit home runs. It’s a learning process the Cubs hope will yield results over time as the former NPB star adjusts to his new league. The Cubs have a lot of interesting bench options for 2024 and a player like Cooper could be very valuable if he can return to his 2022 form.

On Deck

The Rockies come to Sloan Park to take on the full Cubs squad Saturday at 2:10pm CT as Jameson Taillon makes his first appearance in 2024 with television coverage on Marquee.

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