The Cubs headed to an empty Guaranteed Rate Field Monday night to take on the White Sox for the second of three exhibition games before the season begins. Yu Darvish did not have a good feel early on and the Sox made him pay for it with a crooked number. He settled down after that, but his offense would not be able to save him.
Darvish allowed five runs in the bottom of the 1st inning against the first five batters he faced. The big blow came from former Cubs prospect Eloy Jiménez, who blasted a mammoth grand slam to center. The roughed-up righty was granted mercy when they ended the inning to preserve his pitch count.
Darvish was very efficient after that, putting up three more scoreless frames. Dallas Keuchel completely shut down the Cubs offense in five strong innings. The big lefty kept the ball on the ground and allowed just one hit on the night.
A pair of Sox errors produced a rally in the top of the 7th. Kyle Schwarber singled home a run and two others subsequently scored to cut the deficit to 5-3. That was as close as things would get, however, and the White Sox won 5-3. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Lost
The offense had another rough day at the plate against Keuchel and the big 1st inning was enough to bury them.
Darvish tried to get ahead of Jiménez with a pitch over the middle of the plate and the slugger made him regret it with a no-doubt bomb to blow the game open.
Stats That Matter
- Schwarber had two of the Cubs’ five hits on Monday, including the only hit off of Kuechel.
- Ryan Tepera and James Norwood had impressive outings from the ‘pen as the scramble for roster spots continues.
- Craig Kimbrel had a scoreless inning of work as the bullpen kept the Sox off the board.
These games don’t count so that is some good news. Darvish looked very good after his bad inning, but the Cubs offense needs to show a bit more life when the games count this weekend.
Only one more exhibition game to go on Wednesday at 6:05pm CT against the Twins at Wrigley Field. Jon Lester takes the hill and the game will be broadcast on Marquee where available.