MESA, Ariz. – In front of yet another record crowd for a Cactus League game, the Cubs defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-4 on Friday.
The Good: Starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks was better than good. He was excellent against a starting lineup of mostly Dodgers regulars in front of 15,191 fans. He went three innings and gave up one hit and one walk while striking out four. The Dodgers produced very little good contact off him -- Hendricks even broke Yasiel Puig's bat in the first inning on a pop-up. Even the hit he gave up to Dee Gordon was a dribbler to first base that Gordon beat out.
Before the game, manager Rick Renteria said he was “still working” on a fifth starter with Jake Arrieta likely to start the season on the disabled list, but Hendricks probably won’t be it. It doesn’t mean he can’t see Wrigley Field in 2014, especially if he keeps pitching like he did Friday.
The Bad: Closer Jose Veras gave up three hits and two runs in his one inning of work. He wasn’t fooling anyone as the Dodgers were all over his pitches. His ERA for the spring rose to 9.00. He limited the damage by picking off Alex Guererro at second base to end the inning. ... Outfielder Ryan Sweeney struck out three times and is hitting .056 so far this spring.
What’s Next: The 7-8 Cubs will play split squad games over the next three days, including games in Las Vegas against the New York Mets on Saturday and Sunday. Tsuyoshi Wada and Chris Rusin are the scheduled starters there, and Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood will throw against the Kansas City Royals and Cleveland Indians in Arizona on those days.
The Cubs lineup on Saturday against the Roylas looks like this:
Junior Lake CF
Ryan Roberts 2b
Mike Olt 1b
Josh Vitters DH
The lineup sets up this way against the Mets in Las Vegas:
Nate Schierholtz DH
Ryan Sweeney RF
Javier Baez SS
Matt Szczur CF