#Cubs Arrieta has good “work day” vs Rockies

Jake Arrieta belted a three-run homer in a seven-run first and added a RBI double in the second, struck out five over four innings, and then did a little extra work in the bullpen on Saturday. It was a good work day, he said.

Arrieta gave up three hits over four scoreless innings, then went to the bullpen to throw another 30 pitches. The right-hander took advantage of batting eighth, a strategy manager Joe Maddon has been experimenting with this spring.

“I like it,” Arrieta said. “I think it allows us to put a little speed behind me. I feel I can handle the bat well. Depending on the
situation, I feel I can put a bunt down effiiciently.”

The Cubs pitchers have a friendly competition as far as their hitting stats, and Arrieta said they’re trying to simply put together good at-bats.

“It is the pitcher, and it seems like a break in the lineup, but we feel we can do some damage there and help us out,”
Arrieta said.

The Cubs sent 11 batters to the plate in the first. Anthony Rizzo reached on a fielding error by second baseman Charlie Culberson, advanced to third on Bryant’s double off the right field wall, and then scored when catcher Michael McKenry’s attempted pickoff throw skipped into left field.

Bryant tallied on Addison Russell’s bunt single as Rockies starter Jon Gray bobbled the ball. Ryan Sweeney hit a RBI single
and another run scored on David Ross’ suicide squeeze which Gray again had trouble handling. Arrieta then launched his
first spring homer to left for a 7-0 lead. Gray struck out Jonathan Herrera, and was lifted.

Gray, the Rockies’ first-round pick in 2013, gave up seven runs — six earned — on four hits and one walk over two-thirds
of an inning.

“I just didn’t feel like myself at all,” Gray said. “I didn’t get strikes early. I didn’t give my team a chance. I think I
was too worried about being in the zone that I left some too hittable.”

— Carrie Muskat

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