Bryant, Almora Shine Even As Cubs Suffer Blowout Loss

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Kris Bryant #77 of the Chicago Cubs watches from the dugout during the spring training game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Cubs Park on February 27, 2014 in Mesa, Arizona.

    The Chicago Cubs had a rough go of it on Tuesday afternoon in Mesa, Arizona, as they dropped a 13-0 decision to the Colorado Rockies at Cubs Park. Nolan Arenado socked a home run and added a triple for the Rockies, while Cubs starter Travis Wood was shelled for nine hits and five runs in 2 2/3 innings of work.

    Despite the rough day overall for the Cubs, manager Rick Renteria at least saw some progress from some of the youngest players in his lineup. First and foremost among those was Albert Almora, who came into the game as a defensive substitute for Junior Lake. He made a nice running catch in the left-center field gap to end an inning, and when he strode to the plate in the eighth inning, he worked the count to two balls and no strikes before connecting on a solid single to left field.

    Displaying the quick stroke and perfect balance that has had scouts raving (and convinced the Cubs to take him with the second overall pick in the 2012 Draft), Almora drew a nice round of applause from the dejected crowd, and definitely livened up the proceedings.

    The Cubs also had a nice defensive game from Kris Bryant, as he continues to try to convince the front office staff that he should remain at the hot corner when he makes the inevitable jump to the big leagues. On a slow roller in the ninth inning, Bryant bare-handed the ball and snapped off a tremendous throw to first to barely get Rockies outfielder Kent Matthes out at the bag.

    Unfortunately for the Cubs, Bryant didn’t get a chance to come to the plate in the game. Inserted as a defensive substitute for Luis Valbuena in the seventh inning, Bryant was stranded in the on-deck circle in the bottom of the ninth inning when second baseman Logan Watkins grounded into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play to give the Rockies the victory.

    Catcher Wellington Castillo also had a decent game for the Cubs despite the loss, making a nifty throw from the plate to gun out Arenado at third base as he attempted to advance on a throw home. Castillo did rap a nice single in between shortstop and third base in the second inning of the game for the Cubs’ first hit, but he did come back to earth in his two follow-up plate appearances, striking out both times.