GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After averaging nearly seven runs a game over the first week of Cactus League play, the Chicago Cubs were blanked 5-0 by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday. Old friend Ted Lilly was the starting pitcher for the Dodgers and he greeted his former team with three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit.
The good: Right-hander Jeff Beliveau turned his third outing of the spring into a thing of beauty. He not only didn’t allow a hit, five of the six outs he recorded were by strikeout. It’s been a rather quick uphill climb for Beliveau after putting himself in a hole following his first outing of the spring when he walked three and gave up four runs without recording an out. On Wednesday he was arguably better, giving up four hits and two runs, but pitching a full inning.
The bad: The Cubs coaching staff has been stressing the toll that sloppy defense can take and the consequences showed up in Sunday’s game. In the fourth inning Cubs center fielder Marlon Byrd was slow to react to a ground ball hit up the middle that the Dodgers’ Trent Oeltjen turned into a hustle double. He then scored from second base on a single.
Outside the box: Matt Garza cautioned against making too much out of his rough outing when he gave up four runs on three hits and two walks in 1 1/3 innings. Garza was working on just fastballs and changeups and the pattern became apparent to Dodgers hitters very quickly. Prior to the Garza outing, Cubs starting pitchers had a combined 2.08 ERA over the first seven games.