Fly the W: Cubs top Brewers
Patrick Gorski - USA Today Sports

Fly the W: Cubs top Brewers


by - Senior Writer -

PHOENIX - You can say Spring Training is meaningless, and for the most part, it is, but there are some things to pay attention to throughout Spring. The most important thing would be following the prospects, as this is their first opportunity to showcase what they can do. Yes, prospects are prospects, and some won't pan out, but seeing them play in any form of game action is good, as the Cubs took on the Milwaukee Brewers with an all-prospect lineup.

The comes with its pros and cons, and this afternoon, it was all about the pros as the Cubs took care of business on Wednesday 6-1. One of the common themes with the Cubs so far this Spring is when they score first, they tend to win, and if they don't score first, they have yet to win a game. This was one of those games where the Cubs wanted to send a message and came out with a sense of urgency right from the jump.

With Rob Zastryzny on the mound for the Brewers, Seiya Suzuki got things rolling immediately as his double in the first set the Cubs up with one out. Suzuki would reach third on an error during that play before coming home to score on a wild pitch as the Cubs opened up a 1-0 lead. That would be all Jordan Wicks would need as he made his second spring start.

Despite allowing four hits, two coming in the first, Wicks was outstanding as all the hits came on the ground. That is what needs to happen for him to be successful, and after firing three scoreless frames, he continues to be the front-runner to nab the final starter spot. Getting early run support always makes things easier, but with only that one run entering the fourth, the Cubs knew they would need a bit more offense.

That came in the fourth as the leadoff single from Michael Busch off of Enoli Paredes set the Cubs up as they were looking to add on. Busch would then use his legs to pick up a rare stolen base, which set the stage for Alexander Canario as he lined one off of Paredes into center field as Busch came around to make things 2-0. That single will go into the book as the game-winning hit, as Canario also threw out a runner at home in the first.

Of all the pitchers this Spring, Caleb Kilian has looked as good as any, which is an excellent sign if you are a Cubs fan. Once the top pitching prospect in the organization, Kilian hasn't been able to succeed in the majors, but after touching 100 MPH in his outing on Wednesday he looks like a completely different guy. Sure, he did allow an RBI double to William Contreras in the fifth to plate the Brewers lone run, but he has been impressive this Spring and has to have Craig Counsell thinking about his roster spot.

Holding their 2-1 lead in the sixth, it was time for the Cubs offense to bust things wide open as the Prospects came to play. With Harold Chirino on the mound, Nick Madrigal started with an opposite-field single. Following a Canario line out and a Pete Crow-Armstrong fielders choice that erased Madrigal, it was PCA standing on first and quickly getting to second by using his legs to swipe the base.

That proved huge for the Cubs as Owen Caissie followed a Matt Shaw walk with a single to center as the lead grew to 3-1. The next pitch saw Pablo Aliendo tuck one down the left field line for an RBI double as the Cubs extended their lead to 4-1. In for Miles Mastrobuoni, who left the game with an injury, Luis Vazquez came through as he went a perfect 2-2 at the plate, including his two-run RBI single to cap off the four-run sixth as the Cubs busted open a 6-1 lead.

From there, it was all about the pitching as Luke Little entered in the sixth and threw a perfect inning before handing things off to Brad Weick in the seventh. Despite walking the first hitter he faced, Weick did a phenomenal job of bouncing back as he got through the seventh without allowing a run in his first game in over two years. That came after the Cubs failed to score with the bases loaded so at the very least he kept the momentum on the Cubs side.

Looking to tack on more runs in the ninth, Matt Mervis started things with a leadoff walk, while David Bote followed that up with a single. Throw in another walk from Chase Strumpf, and the Cubs had the bases loaded with no outs, but failed to score as a pop up and a pair of strikeouts ended the threat.

Thomas Pannone took care of the rest as he tossed the final two frames for the Cubs to preserve the win.

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