Pitchers Labor and Castro Hurt in Cub Loss
Elian Herrera singled twice, doubled, scored two runs, and drove-in another, and Alfredo Amezaga singled three times and drove-in two runs, leading the Dodgers to an 11-7 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League action this afternoon at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.
Nate Schierholtz and Darwin Barney had two hits a piece, and combined to drive-in three of the Cubs runs.
LHP Brooks Raley got the start for the Cubs and worked a 30-pitch 1st inning where the Dodgers loaded the bases on two singles and a walk before Raley uncorked a wild pitch that allowed the Dodgers to take a 1-0 lead.
The Cubs responded with a four-run 1st off Dodgers starter Aaron Harang.
Luis Valbuena (batting lead-off) cranked a line-drive double into the RF corner, and Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo followed with singles as the Cubs tied the game. Nate Schierholtz put the Cubs ahead with a sharply hit ground RBI single into RF to score Castro, and after Welington Castillo worked a walk to load the bases, Darwin Barney lined a two-strike two-out two-run RBI single to center.
Raley returned to the mound in the top of the 2nd and faced two more batters without recording an out (both runners reached base on singles and both runners scored). Raley threw a total of 49 pitches (only 22 strikes) in the game, coming on the heels of a start in an intrasquad game last week where he logged 55 pitches in just two innings of work. For the day, Raley allowed three runs on four hits and a walk in 1.0 IP, with a WP thrown in for good measure.
One-time Cubs top pitching prospect RHP Trey McNutt relieved Raley and immediately surrendered a rapid festival of line drives (a single, a two run double, an RBI single, and a sacrifice fly... plus a willd pitch) before finally retiring the side, as the Dodgers took a 5-4 lead.
NRI RHRP Jaye Chapman entered the game to start the 3rd and walked the first two men he faced and Scott Hairston dropped a fly ball in deep CF for an E-8 to load the bases, before a Jerry Hairston Jr SF and an Alfredo Almezaga RBI single plated two more runs for the Dodgers as Los Angeles took a 7-4 lead. Needing 31 pitches (only 15 strikes) to record the one out, Chapman was then relieved by Alberto Cabrera, who himself has struggled to throw strikes. But Cabrera actually restored order by inducing an inning-ending 5-4-3 DP, then set the side down 1-2-3 in the 4th in impresive fashion (two strikouts and a ground out), and struck out the lead-off hitter in the 5th... before getting hammered for two runs on four consecutive line-drive hits (three singles and a double) after logging pitch #20.
Meanwhile the Cubs scored one in the 3rd and two in the 4th, narrowing the Dodger lead to 8-7 at one point.
Nate Schierholtz and Welington Castillo reached base on singles in the 3rd, and then Schierholtz scored when Darwin Barney reached base on an infield single plus a throwing error by Dodger 3rd baseman Omar Luna (who had a shaky day in the field).
Junior Lake walked to lead-off the 4th, stole second, and then scored when Starlin Castro reached base on a throwing error by shortstop Dee Gordon (who made an ill-advised throw after ranging far to his left to even get the ball in the first place). Castro limped into 1st base and left the game with what appeared to be a left leg injury at this point, and PR Johermyn Chavez eventually came around to score on a walk, a passed ball, and a Scott Hairston SF.
Cubs NRI LHP Hisanori Takahashi surrendered a solo HR to Alex Castellanos in the top of the 7th to complete the day's scoring.
Michael Bowden, Shawn Camp, and James Russell did work clean (1-2-3) innings in the 6th, 8th, and 9th (which at least allowed the game to end before 5:00 local time), but by that point the Dodgers had a commanding lead, and the Cubs offense was mostly silent over the final five innings.
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of there money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already.
I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.
I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.
Enjoyable read on David Ross.
Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.
With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined).
BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.
If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).
As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).
I want my baseball team to win by playing better baseball. I don't want umps, fields, or fans to have anything to do with it.
Just with the chanting thing it worked to rattle Cueto last year where he dropped a ball and gave up a HR next pitch so you can't really hate on the fans for trying it again in this important of a game.
I felt the same way, too, but...
I was very disappointed with Pittsburgh fans. At Wrigley a few weeks ago, they were very obnoxious guests, the cockiness on Twitter, and what's the deal with chanting Arrieta's name during the game? Very bush league. Add that up with Rodriguez's poor sportsmanship and you quickly have a team that you don't mind beating 4-0 in a do or die game.
Absolutely-It was tense. And when the Pirates couldn't push any runs across, you could see the frustration boil over.
I meant December.