The Cubs welcomed Team Canada to Sloan Park for a World Baseball Classic friendly on Wednesday and this was not a pitching duel. Chicago got big contributions from their free agent additions and pulled away late for the win.
Cubs prospect Jared Young did damage to his own team, doubling off Justin Steele to give Canada a 2-0 lead in the 1st inning. Tucker Barnhart hit a two-run homer to even up the score in the 2nd, but Jacob Robson launched a solo shot the following inning to put the Canadians ahead by one.
Cody Bellinger knocked in a run with a single in the 3rd to even the score again. After the Great North retook the lead in the 4th, Bellinger lifted his first homer of the spring in the 6th to knot things at four runs apiece.
The Cubs exploded for seven runs in the last two innings to blow the game wide open. Brennen Davis, Pete Crow-Armstrong, and Kevin Alcántara all contributed to the rally as Chicago easily closed out the victory. (Box score)
Why the Cubs Won
The young players jumped all over Canada’s bullpen in the late innings to take home the win.
Stats That Matter
- Steele had some control issues early, but the important thing is he threw 50 pitches and looked healthy: 2.1 IP, 3 R, 2 H, 2 K, and 2 BB.
- Bellinger has been very impressive this spring and his new/old swing looks great.
- Dansby Swanson has just one hit in the Cactus League so far. I would advise everyone to reserve their hot takes until the season actually begins.
A couple of the Cubs’ free agent additions have been promising through the start of the spring. If Bellinger and Trey Mancini can be big contributors, Chicago’s ceiling is much higher in 2023.