Fly the W: Cubs blowout D-backs for fourth straight win
Matt Kartozian - USA Today Sports

Fly the W: Cubs blowout D-backs for fourth straight win

by - Senior Writer -

MESA - It has been a long time since the Chicago Cubs (14-10-1) can say they have played a complete game. With just one week to go until the regular season opener gets underway, the Chicago Cubs put together a complete game and arguably one of their best performances this spring.

Facing off against the Arizona Diamondbacks, it was Hayden Wesneski giving the Cubs five strong innings while the Cubs benefitted from a balanced offensive attack that saw several guys drive in key runs. The result was an 11-1 thrashing of Arizona as the Cubs continue to play well.

Coming off his worst start of the Spring, Wesneski was eager to get back to work as he knows he may only have one more start after this. If his performance up to this point hasn't proven to David Ross that he has earned the No. 5 spot, I don't know what will, as Wesneski went five strong innings and allowed an unearned run on four hits. Wesneski walked two and struck out five as his ERA fell to 2.12.

Following his outing was Keegan Thompson, who finally started to look a lot more like himself. Thompson has been struggling with his velocity this spring, which has been a bit concerning for the Cubs and their fans. After tossing a pair of scoreless outings with two strikeouts, there is much less worry in Thompson as the velocity was back in the 93 MPH range.

Opposing Wesneski was Ryne Nelson, who was equally as good in the early going. Nelson managed to match Wesneski in the first inning, but saw his command waiver a bit in the second. He walked Patrick Wisdom and Eric Hosmer to help set the Cubs offense up while Tucker Barnhardt put them in front 1-0 with an RBI single.

Things could've been much worse, but Nelson managed to limit the damage to keep Arizona alive.

For as good as Wesneski has been this spring, there have been some cracks in his armor lately, and today it was a lack of command at times. Still, he made the pitches he needed to make and limited the damage in the process. You saw that in the fourth inning after allowing a pair of two-out singles to PJ Higgins and Alek Thomas before getting Phillip Evans to ground out to end the threat.

Wesneski wasn't so lucky in the fifth inning as, once again, a two-out rally started to do the damage. Corbin Carroll started that rally with a triple before the walk to Geraldo Perdomo worked a walk. That walk that came back to bite Wesneski as an errant pick-off throw allowed Carroll to score as Wesneski ended his outing with the game tied 1-1.

Thankfully, the Cubs offense wanted to pick him up as they aimed to retake the lead in the bottom of the fifth. After Hosmer started things off with an opposite-field single to left, Edwin Rios kept the line moving as he sharply singled to right. Following a perfectly placed bunt from Barnhardt, Miles Mastrobuoni came through with the game-winning hit as his RBI single put the Cubs in front for good, 3-1.

That was just the beginning for the Cubs and their offense as they closed the game with 10 unanswered runs across their final two innings to put the game away. With Thompson doing his best to keep the Cubs in front, it was time for the offense to return to work in the seventh as they searched for more offense.

Walks to Rios and Mastrobuoni certainly helped, but so did the Barnhardt single in between to load the bases with no outs. Patience continued to be a virtue for the Cubs, with Dansby Swanson and Ian Happ taking bases-loaded walks ahead of the Trey Mancini single, pushing the lead to 6-1. Wisdom added an RBI force-out later in the inning to push across another run, but things were not quite finished.

A scoreless frame for Tyler Duffey put pressure on the Diamondbacks pitching staff again, and they continued to struggle. Not only did Nelson Maldonado get things rolling with the one-out double, but Mastrobuoni followed that up with a walk while Mike Tauchman extended the lead to 8-1 with a double of his own.

After Luis Torrens was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Haydn McGeary cleared the bases with one swing as his RBI double pushed the lead to 11-1 and only three outs to go. Vinny Nittoli took care of the rest from there as he tossed a scoreless ninth to finish off the victory for Chicago.

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