Cactus League Nights Roll On: Cubs at Mariners

marc w · March 24, 2021 at 5:29 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Justin Dunn vs. Zach Davies, 6:40pm

The M’s host the Cubs in Peoria in an evening game as opening day looms.

If you want to be optimistic, it’s hard to beat the last few days. Chris Flexen was on point against fellow KBO foreign player Merrill Kelly and the Diamondbacks. And the M’s were in the media for good things for a change after manager Scott Servais’ tongue in cheek comments clapping back at Trevor Bauer, who suggested he was just trying messing around/getting in his work when the M’s hit three dingers in one inning against him. The biggest blast came from struggling 1B Evan White, who apparently didn’t take kindly to my questioning his power grade in these digital pages before the game.

After solid starts from Flexen and Justus Sheffield gave the rotation a bit of hope going into April, it’s now Justin Dunn’s turn to claim the sixth and final rotation spots. He and Nick Margevicius have had a great competition in Peoria, with Dunn showing better velocity and Margevicius putting up better small-sample numbers.

After selling off Yu Darvish and letting Kyle Schwarber walk, the Cubs signaled that they’d go ahead and close their own contention window. What had looked like the beginning of a dynasty in 2016 now looks like a .500 team (or worse, if you buy Fangraphs’ projections) who’s just waiting for the contracts of Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo to expire. We’ve talked a lot here about evaluating rebuilds, and we may have a chance to do that soon with the North Siders, but the Cubs are in a pre-rebuild. They haven’t really started tearing down, but they’ve made it quite clear that winning’s no longer a big goal. Sounds familiar to us M’s fans, of course.

Zach Davies, the one-time Brewers rotation mainstay, was one piece the Cubs got back from San Diego in exchange for Darvish. Davies (who’s from Puyallup, apparently) throws in the high-80s, but has gotten enough weak contact to run a 3.79 career ERA in nearly 700 big league innings. No, it’s not amazing or anything, but it’s surprisingly good. From 2016-2020, Davies’ combined ERA ranks 41st, just ahead of Jake Arrieta, Marcus Stroman, and Lance Lynn – and it’s not far behind James Paxton or…Yu Darvish.

1: Haniger, RF
2: France, 1B
3: Seager, 3B
4: Torrens, C
5: Trammell, CF
6: Murphy, DH
7: Fraley, LF
8: Crawford, SS
9: Haggerty, 2B
SP: Dunn

The M’s have a DH, but the Cubs do not – Davies will hit for himself as the NL teams get ready for pitchers hitting after a year of the universal DH.

There’ve been a spate of injuries throughout the game in recent days. Fernando Tatis Jr. took himself out of the game after a throw to first; he’s apparently got shoulder soreness. Eloy Jimenez hurt his own shoulder today reaching over the wall to try and pull back a HR. Zac Gallen, Arizona’s best starter, has a hairline fracture in his forearm, Spencer Turnbull of the Tigers was diagnosed with Covid-19, and yes, Felix Hernandez, last seen throwing 87-88, has some elbow discomfort. Please, M’s, just stay healthy.


2 Responses to “Cactus League Nights Roll On: Cubs at Mariners”

  1. eponymous coward on March 26th, 2021 6:52 pm

    Least surprising news ever: Jarred Kelenic optioned to the alternate site.

  2. eponymous coward on March 26th, 2021 10:18 pm

    Oh, he stays in Arizona. Makes sense.

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