In many ways, the Chicago Cubs win over the Oakland A’s can surely be viewed as a sign of things to come. Of course, it might not, but there’s no reason not to get excited over the small victories.
Jake Arrieta threw well stretched over four innings of work striking out three. One thing that impressed me was the amount of times the Cubs filled the bags. In most cases it didn’t amount to the kind of offence that was expected but it’s a really good sign that the team is starting to find a groove in their swings.
“I was able to use [the curve] early in the count for early strikes and to set up a couple counts later in the game, third, fourth inning,” he said. “I think I got one, maybe three on swings and misses. That’s what I was looking for today, and just keeping the fastball down in the zone, and both of those areas were pretty crisp.”
It’s almost too scary to think what the lineup will be on Opening Day. With Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Mike Olt (or Kris Bryant). Sure, the Cubs are 2-8, but there’s been a lot of firepower coming from those bats and that’s positive.
Yesterday’s game in Las Vegas was a homecoming for Bryant.
“Everybody on the field looked like it was such a reach for me to be there, and now I’m in that position, playing on this field, on a field where I got a chance to watch players play on,” Bryant said. “It’s a surreal feeling for me. I know it’s only a Triple-A field but it still has a special place in my heart, trying to get foul balls down the line.”
So, Maddon’s in tough. Bryant is surpassing expectations and will provide pressure for that Opening Day.
“You have to see him cope with a Major League season, because it totally turns different,” Maddon said. “The moment the first pitch is thrown, everything changes. People may not understand it, but it’s true — the difference between a regular season and a Spring Training is incredibly different. But, again, this guy’s different. He’s good. He’s going to be really good.”