Cubs battle White Sox and Dodgers in split squad action
|Friday, March 17, 2023, 10:15 PM- -|
One of the best parts of spring training is when a team plays split-squad games. That was the case for the Cubs, who took on the White Sox and the Dodgers in split-squad action. This is the second of three split-squad games this spring for the Cubs.
We will start with our rivals from the Southside as the Cubs battled the White Sox for the second time this spring. There was another thing that happened in this game that can't happen during the regular season as these teams played to a 4-4 tie. Nick Niedert got the start for the Cubs and delivered 2 2/3 innings of one-run ball. He gave way to Cam Sanders, who allowed his first run of the spring before a bevy of other arms took to the mound.
Like in their recent games, the Cubs offense got off to a slow start as it was the White Sox striking first. That run came in the second inning, with Eloy Jimenez leading off the second with a double and then coming home on the Adam Haseley single. The Cubs wasted little time battling back in the third and used some two-out magic to take the lead. That started with a Christopher Morel double and was followed by the Yan Gomes two-run shot to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead.
Yan Gomes - Chicago Cubs (2)* pic.twitter.com/VeOVmJM7pp— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) March 17, 2023
The Cubs continued to pad their lead with another longball as Edwin Rios connected for his third spring homer to lead off the fourth and put the Cubs in front 3-1. Despite looking like his old self in his first few outings this spring, Sanders ran into trouble in this one and allowed his first earned run of the spring. That run came on the Romy Gonzalez two-out homer in the fourth to pull the White Sox within 3-2.
That score remained 3-2 until the bottom of the seventh as the Erik Gonzalez single brought things to even again, 3-3. Not about to be outdone, the Cubs retook the lead in the top of the eighth as Sergio Alcantara connected for the Cubs third homer of the game to give them a 4-3 lead.
Sergio Alcantara - Chicago Cubs (1)* pic.twitter.com/DHCGnoiqOI— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) March 17, 2023
The back-and-forth affair continued with the White Sox tying things up on a sacrifice fly, which is how things would end up.
Dodgers out muscle the Cubs
While the Cubs saw one of their split-squad games end in a 4-4 tie, there were not as lucky in the second as the Los Angeles Dodgers got the better of them 9-7. This was a painful pill to swallow as Hayden Wesneski was roughed up for the first time this spring.
After dominating in his first few starts, Wesneski had a rough go of things and allowed four runs on 3 1/3 innings. That was part of an eight-run fourth inning that saw the Dodgers open an 8-1 lead and then took care of the rest. Once again, both offenses got off to a slow start, with neither team being able to score for three innings.
The Dodgers had an opportunity to score in the third, but couldn't cash in. Fortunately for the Cubs, they did cash in with Nick Madrigal starting off the bottom of the third with a walk. That was followed by the Matt Mervis single, and then saw Ian Happ use an RBI double to make things 1-0.
Facing adversity for the first time this spring, Wesneski ran into trouble in the fourth as the first two hitters reached base. Following a brief visit from Tommy Hottovy, JD Martinez unloaded on the Wesneski pitch and deposited it over the center field fence to put the Dodgers in front 3-1. Los Angeles was just getting started as eight runs crossed home in that inning to put them in front 8-1.
RBI singles from Patrick Mazeika and Jason Heyward extended the lead to 5-1, while a bases-loaded walk from Max Muncy extended the lead to 6-1. Martinez capped off the big inning with his second RBI hit of the game as he had five of the team's eight RBIs in that frame and had the Dodgers in front 8-1.
In desperate need of some late-game offense, Cody Bellinger hoped to give the Cubs a spark as his two-run triple in the sixth brought Chicago to within 8-3. Eric Hosmer followed that up with a sacrifice fly before the Cubs threat ended with them trailing 8-4. Los Angeles continued to keep pressure on with Miguel Vargas going deep in the seventh to make things 9-4, but that would be all for the Dodgers offensively.
Down, but not out, the Cubs continued to battle back in the later innings, with Jacob Wetzel coming through with a massive three-run shot in the seventh to pull the Cubs within 9-7.
Mash Mervis is back pic.twitter.com/rEsURm0f7v— Aldo Soto (@AldoSoto21) March 17, 2023
Unfortunately, that was all for the Cubs and their offense as the Dodgers picked up an impressive 9-7 win.