Cub Power and Wood Arm Fry Padres
Alfonso Soriano laced a two-out line-drive two-run double down the LF line and Dioner Navarro followed with a towering two-run HR over the RF bullpens to rally the Cubs to a 4-2 lead in the 6th, and then Jorge Soler slugged a solo home run to the top of the berm over the LF fence and Christian Villanueva drilled two-run HR over the left-center fence to key a five-run 8th, as the Cubs defeated the San Diego Padres 9-3 in Cactus League action this afternoon at Dwight Paterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.
LHP Travis Wood contributed with both his arm and his bat, throwing four innings of one-hit shutout ball with six strikeouts, and roping a line-drive lead-off single and then scoring on the Soriano double to ignite the four-run 6th. On the negative side, Wood did walk three over the course of the 4.0 IP (63 pitches - 35 strikes).
RHP Scott Feldman got the start for the Cubs and worked three innings (51 pitches - 33 strikes), allowing two runs on four hits (including a Mark Kotsay two-run line-drive double into the RF Corner) with three strikeouts. He was aided by two nearly identical outstanding defensive plays by SS Alberto Gonzalez, as the veteran utility infielder made two diving stops to his right and then righted himself and make a pinpoint throw to 1st base to retire the batters. Before you get too excited, Gonzalez also booted a routine grounder for an E-6 that should have been turned into a 6-4-3 DP.
In addition to Gonzalez's two highlight-reel stops & throws, catcher Dioner Navarro picked a runner off 2nd base and nailed another runner trying to steal 2nd.
Down 2-0 heading into the bottom of the 6th, the Cubs rallied for four runs off SD RHP Tim Stauffer.
Travis Wood ripped a line-drive single to left and David DeJewsus lined a single to RF to start the inning, Then with two outs, Alfonso Soriano laced a line-drive double into the LF corner to drive-in Wood and DeJesus, and Dioner Navarro followed immediately with his two-run HR over the bullpens in RF.
The Cubs added some insurance, putting-up a five-spot in the 8th against Padres RHRP Dale Thayer.
Jorge Soler slugged a one-out solo HR to the top of the berm in left, and then Dave Sappelt lined a single into left-center and Logan Watkins walked. J. C. Boscan roped an opposite-field line-drive RBI single to RF to score Sappelt, and Steve Clavenger lifted a sacrifice fly to left to plate Watkins. Christian Villanueva then completed the Cubs scoring with a two-run HR over the left-centerfield fence, his team-leading third HR of the Spring.
Carlos Marmol and Michael Bowden followed Feldman and Wood to the mound, each throwing one inning. Marmol had an easy 1-2-3 8th (F-8, 4-3, 6-3), but Bowden allowed a run on two hits in the 9th (one a bloop double that fell between Sappelt, Villanueva, and Edwin Maysonet near the foul line in short left, and the other a line-drive RBI single that glanced off the glove of second-baseman Logan Watkins).
Meanwhile on the SouthSide
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?