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Cubs win big; Jason Hammel, Kyle Schwarber show they could be tandem

MESA, Ariz. – The Chicago Cubs beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 15-4 on Thursday in front of a sellout crowd of 15,329. Here are some takeaways from the game.

Jason Hammel/Kyle Schwarber: The duo could be paired during the regular season as the Cubs attempt to find time for Schwarber behind the plate. Hammel is all for it.

“If that’s the way it ends up playing out, I welcome it 100 percent,” Hammel said after throwing four innings. “Decision-making becomes quicker and smarter because you know what the other guy is thinking. You’re kind of thinking on the same wavelength. Two brains combined into one.”

Hammel claims Schwarber has made adjustments from last year to this one and even in spring training, where he’s lowered his positioning behind the plate. That’s where Hammel makes his money – down in the zone. He had it going on Thursday, giving up five singles and a run over four innings without walking anyone.

“He’s a student of the game,” Hammel said of Schwarber. “He’s ready to learn. He’s made a lot of adjustments. He’s also lowered his target. ... That’s what I was more excited about today. Everything was down.”

The first-half Hammel looks to be emerging again. His goal is to make it a successful six-month season instead of just three. He struck out Paul Goldschmidt in the first inning with a great changeup, then sailed through most of his outing.

“I can start adding that one to the arsenal,” Hammel said.

The offense: After getting shut out on Wednesday against the Kansas City Royals, the Cubs came back with a vengeance against Arizona as their top players hammered Archie Bradley of the Diamondbacks, scoring five runs in the first inning. Dexter Fowler led off with a triple and scored on an overthrow to third base. Kris Bryant doubled, Schwarber tripled and Jorge Soler homered – all in the opening inning. Later, Jason Heyward tripled as every starter, save Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell, had at least one hit.

John Andreoli: The 17th-round draft pick in 2011 continues to impress as he homered for the fourth time this spring Thursday. He’s hitting .370 in Cactus League play and is likely to make his major league debut this year if and when the Cubs need to dip into the minors for an outfielder.

B game: Earlier in the day pitchers Adam Warren and Trevor Cahill pitched in a “B” game against the Colorado Rockies.

  • Warren: 3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 Ks

  • Cahill: 3 IP, 2 H, 5 Ks

Up next: The Cubs take on the White Sox on Friday with Kyle Hendricks on the mound.