3/17 Rangers 12, Cubs 7; Athletics 4, Cubs 3 (ss)
What went right:
In Las Vegas, Jeff Samardzija gave up one run on three hits over four innings, striking out three. Adrian Cardenas had three hits, including a solo homer, and Steve Clevenger and Junior Lake each hit solo homers. Joe Mather made a great diving catch in center field. In Phoenix against the A’s, Geovany Soto was 2-for-2 with a solo homer and Starlin Castro and Marlon Byrd also each had an RBI.
What went wrong:
Trever Miller, a veteran lefty vying for a spot in the bullpen, gave up five runs on four hits in one inning, and Casey Weathers served up three runs on one hit and two walks in Vegas. The pitching has been a little shaky. The Cubs have lost six of their last six games (taking split squads into account), and been outscored 48-21 in those games.
“Obviously, they’ll make their decisions based on what they feel is best for the team. I feel like I’ve accomplished what I wanted to show in camp and obviously we still have a ways to go. I had to come in and show I wasn’t going to give any free bases and attack the zone and I feel I’ve been doing that. When you do that, you see what happens today, and you get quick outs. Then when you do get in trouble, you still have the pitches to work with and your pitch count isn’t up and you know you can battle and get on to the next inning. I’m happy and it’ll be interesting to go through the lineup a couple times. I’m right where I want to be.” — Jeff Samardzija
Blake DeWitt was back in the Cubs lineup on Saturday in Las Vegas, starting at third, and played nine innings. Ian Stewart and Darwin Barney could return on Sunday. Stewart has been sidelined with tightness in his right quad. Barney had tightness in his left side.
The Cubs continue split squad games on Sunday. Chris Volstad will start in Las Vegas against the Rangers while Andy Sonnanstine will face the White Sox in Mesa. It’ll be Volstad’s third start, and he has yet to give up a run over six innings. The Rangers are the home team on Sunday and Alfonso Soriano will be the designated hitter for the Cubs. The Cubs-White Sox game in Mesa will be broadcast on Cubs.com.
– Carrie Muskat