Cubs blank Angels for second straight shutout
Joe Camporeale - USA Today Sports

Cubs blank Angels for second straight shutout


by - Senior Writer -

MESA - The Cubs are rolling as they picked up their fourth-straight win and a second consecutive shutout over the Los Angeles Angels 2-0. Going back to their last three games, the Cubs have allowed one run and have allowed four runs in total during this stretch.

As surprising as that may be playing in Arizona, it shouldn't be all that surprising as the Cubs' pitching carried the team last season. That appears to be the case again, but hopefully, the offense can follow and catch up soon.

Jameson Taillon was on the bump for his second start of the spring and delivered a great outing. Not only did he allow a total of one hit, but he struck out four without walking a batter. The Cubs need to have those performances from him this season, as he will be crucial to their success.

Taillon gave way to Keegan Thompson, who finally made his first spring appearance. Thompson only went one inning, but he was impressive as he might be the most important pitcher on the team this season. Eric Stout, Mark Leiter Jr, Nick Niedert, Ben Leeper, and Danis Correa all tossed an inning of work in relief as the staff combined to strike out 12 with just two walks.

Early on, the offense was tough to come by as both teams went down in order in the first, with the first nine hitters getting sent down in order. A one-out walk by Patrick Wisdom in the second was the game's first baserunner, but nothing came from it as the game remained scoreless through two.

The lone hit off of Taillon led off the third, with Michael Stefanic picking up a single. The Angels could not do anything with that hit as Taillon bounced back to finish his outing with the shutout intact. Although it wasn't a ton of offense, all the offense the Cubs would need came in the bottom of the third as their offense started to figure things out against Reid Detmers and Eric Torres.

Mike Tauchman started that inning with a one-out walk to give the Cubs their second baserunner of the game. Two batters later saw the Cubs end the shutout bid as the Nico Hoerner triple put the Cubs in front 1-0 and proved to be the game-winning RBI. Little did they know, they would only need one run of support, but most teams would like more than that.

With two runners on and two outs, Eric Hosmer kept the line moving as his RBI single extended the lead to 2-0 before the inning ended. Looking to add to their lead in the fifth, Tauchman continued his great spring with a leadoff double against Matt Moore to help set the Cubs offense up once again. Unfortunately, the Cubs couldn't cash in, as a pair of popouts and a strikeout ended the threat.

The best scoring chance of the day for the Angels came in the sixth inning when Mickey Moniak connected for a one-out triple off of Leiter Jr. Leiter Jr bounced back to retire the final two hitters in that inning and kept the Cubs in front 2-0. One inning later saw, the Angels continued to keep the pressure on, with Kevin Padlo leading off the inning with a double.

Once again, the Cubs pitching stepped up when they had to as Niedert retired the next three hitters he faced to keep the shutout in line. Hoping to add to their lead in the later innings, the Cubs received a two-out single from Kevin Alcantara in the seventh, but that was their final hit in the game.

Down to their final three outs, the Angels started to mount a ninth-inning rally off of Correa as consecutive walks to Chad Wallach and Livan Soto had them in business. A quick meeting at the mound was all Correa needed as he struck out Kyren Paris to end the game and picked up the save.

Five players had one hit for the Cubs as Hoerner and Hosmer were credited with the RBIs. The Cubs are back in action tomorrow when they face off against the Colorado Rockies.

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