Hey, the Cubs *can* win a fake baseball game. Tonight, they held off the Twins 4-3 to wrap their brief exhibition season. The four runs came early on homers by Anthony Rizzo, Willson Contreras, and Willson Contreras. Bonus? Ian Happ was summoned to fill in for Kris Bryant in the leadoff spot and reached base all three times he went to the plate (a hit and two walks).
Jon Lester got a warm-up start, and sure looked really good through 4.1 innings:
Jon Lester gave up one hit in 4.1 IP tonight. pic.twitter.com/mA7hHmml0K
— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) July 23, 2020
Mostly, you just want to see Lester healthy and building up his length, and now it’s looking like five innings will be possible for him right out of the gate if he’s efficient enough. That’s huge. Can’t wait to see what he’s got this year.
For what it’s worth, this is enticing:
Jon Lester threw 10 changes tonight according to @statcast. 15.2% of his total pitches. He threw the change 11.7% of the time last year. The pitch averaged 81.9 mph, down 3 mph from his career avg.
Results: SwStr, SwStr, SwStr, Out, Foul, Foul, SwStr, Foul, Ball, SwStr. Wow.
— Cubs Prospects – Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) July 23, 2020
Duane Underwood, Jr. impressed again tonight, with a dart of a fastball, his usual excellent changeup, and the curveball looking extremely sharp and commanded well. He really could be something this year:
Underwood strikes out Jake Cave and Marwin Gonzalez and ends a 1-2-3 eighth with a flyout to right off bat of Max Kepler. The righty’s had an impressive camp.
Against Twins, topped at 97 mph. Flashed one knuckle-curve for a called strike. And here’s a look at a changeup for a K. pic.twitter.com/BLGQMo1o3y
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) July 23, 2020
Big lefty Brad Wieck got the save in this one with a couple strikeouts in a scoreless 9th. He was sitting 91 mph with his fastball (and I saw some 90) after being 93-94 mph last year. Not quite sure what’s up with that. He was still getting results.
More on the game soon, and more ON THE SEASON SOON BECAUSE IT IS COMING IN TWO DAYS.