MESA, Ariz. -- Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Cubs’ 11-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night:
The good: Starter Jeff Samardzija sailed through five innings, giving up just one run. He didn’t walk anyone; it was his second straight start without giving up a free pass. David DeJesus extended a hitting streak to 13 games. Reliever Hisanori Takahashi struck out the side in the sixth inning. Once again, Steve Clevenger came in cold off the bench and drove in the Cubs’ lone run with a double.
The bad: Carlos Marmol deserves to take up this whole section. He came in with one out in the ninth and promptly gave up four hits and a walk. And all four were drilled to the outfield. It led to a nine-run inning, exacerbated by prospect Michael Hamann, who also got rocked after Marmol. Darwin Barney went 0-3 leaving four men on base and saw his average dip to .213 this spring. Nate Schierholtz went 0-4 leaving four on, as well. Takahashi gave up a home run in his second inning of work.
What we learned: Samardzija is as ready as he’ll ever be to open the season next Monday. He got hit hard at times -- 20 hits given up in 20 innings -- but his control was good, and he grinded through some innings when required. The spring is over and Marmol is no more reliable than he ever has been. He simply can’t start the season as the closer; it will derail any morale or momentum in April. On the opposite end is DeJesus: He’s ready for the season and, to go along with his hit streak, he hasn’t struck out in the last 15 Cactus League games.