News and Notes: Zach Davies shows efficiency and a strong offensive showing
MESA, Ariz. — Zach Davies was effective Monday afternoon.
Actually, he was a little too efficient. Davies pitched 3 shutout, hitless innings on 25 pitches before his day was over. Except, he didn’t get his full work in.
“Had to go down to the pen and throw a few extra [pitches],” Davies said after his second spring start. “Just one of those days.”
If he pitches like that, though, Cubs fans won’t mind. Davies showed the type of pitcher he is, inducing weak contact while hitting his spots and registering outs. He threw 5 pitches in the 1st inning and 7 pitches in the 2nd. The Cubs downed the Rangers 9-0 in the game.
“That’s my game,” Davies said. “I know I’m not gonna strike out a lot of guys like today. If I can command the ball if I can get early or weak contact, I’m happy because the faster they get out, the more innings I could throw [and] the deeper I can get into the ballgame.”
The outing allowed Davies to emphasize how he attacks hitters as he ramps up for the start of the season. Davies felt he notched down his mechanics early on in spring and that allows him to focus more on stretching his stamina and other elements of his game.
“Personally, I felt like mechanics were good the last couple of bullpens and the last time out on the mound timing was good, so now it’s start to focus on command and pitch selection and sequencing,” Davies said. “For me, try and feel good mechanically and timing as quick as possible so I can work on location and sequencing as much as I can during spring.”
Strong offensive showing
The Cubs offense is starting to heat up in the Arizona desert.
The top half of the Cubs lineup on Monday – Ian Happ, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Joc Pederson and Javy Báez — combined to go 7-for-14 with 5 RBI, a double, a home run and a walk.
Monday’s game was a sampling of what the Cubs hope they can be in 2021: Solid starting pitching and timely hitting from the big bats in the Cubs’ lineup. Báez smoked a 3-run home run to center that broke open the game in the 5th inning.
Oh, and Nico Hoerner continued his red-hot spring, too. Hoerner was 2-for-3 with a ground-rule double and is hitting .692 in Arizona. He has a whopping 1.868 OPS.
David Ross provided updates on a pair of players who have yet to feature in spring games this year. Jake Marisnick, who the Cubs signed in February, has been battling a calf injury and the team is taking it slow to ramp him up to game speed. He took batting practice on Sunday and Ross hopes he’ll feature in a game early next week or towards the end of this week at the earliest.
“Jake’s progressing well,” Ross said. “Trying to get him on the bases a little bit.”
Kyle Ryan, who was a late arrival to camp due to COVID-19 intake process, has been throwing bullpen sessions and is expected to throw a live batting practice session in the next few days before he appears in any game action.