A 10-2 loss shouldn’t be any reason to jump and shout for joy, but then again, spring training is unusual that way. Despite the beating at the hands of the San Diego Padres, there were some high points.
Jake Arrieta struck out five batters and continues to make that Cy Young count.
“I wanted to pitch with guys on base,” Arrieta said. “I wanted to work on pitching from the stretch with good timing, good rhythm, good tempo. It was nice to have a guy like Jemile Weeks on base, a guy who’s fast, a guy who I had to vary some times and who I had to pick over.”
That’s what it’s all about. Those little things working to improve on the bigger picture. So, even though spring training is a more loose season working on different scenarios by the pitchers like a situation with players on base gives them a chance to sharpen their skills.
“The juices start flowing once the season gets here,” Arrieta said. “Arm strength is going to jump up a tick once the bright lights are on, which is the case for everybody. That’s kind of the light at the end of the tunnel. That’s what we’re all looking for these next couple of weeks — getting through it healthy, getting our pitchers built up as far as arm strength is concerned, getting our hitters some at-bats, then we’ll be ready. Everybody is going about it the right way.”
And going about it the right way is Anthony Rizzo. It’s hard to imagine that there are leaders on a baseball team especially on a team with players that are mostly under thirty and twenty -five, Rizzo has been the stand up guy who rallies the troops and sends good vibes throughout the clubhouse.
“He is a great teammate,” Manager Joe Maddon said. “This guy gives his time to everybody. This guy is positive to everybody he comes in contact with. He’s absolutely about team. He’s willing to carry the message of the organization and the group.
“He’s a great teammate. Obviously, he’s a very good player. I like the way he is.”
That’s what you have to do. Whether it’s on a baseball diamond or in other lines of work. You carry the message of the organization wherever you go. Anthony does it with his charity, The Rizzo Foundation which raises support for families of children with cancer.T
Rizzo is a game changer on the field or off of it. It’s that kind of impact that will lead the Cubs this year.
“He’s a winner, and he’s all about winning,” Maddon said. “I believe that’s his agenda on a daily basis. He’s going to grow into a leadership role. I think in the past, before we got here, there was too much expected of him in that regard.”