Tulo Two RBI Too Much for Cubs
Troy Tulowitzki drove-in both Colorado runs with an RBI double and a sacrifice fly, and Jorge de la Rosa and four relievers combined to toss a six-hit shutout, as the Rockies blanked the Cubs 2-0 in Cactus League action this afternoon at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.
The Cubs offense sputtered all day, but they did threaten to score twice.
The Cubs loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the 3rd inning but did not score (Luis Valbuena drew a walk, Darwin Barney reached on an infield hit down the third-base line, and Starlin Castro grounded a single to left, but then Alfonso Soriano and Scott Hairston struck out swinging and Dioner Navarro flied out to CF), and the first two Cubs reached base in the bottom of the 9th but were left stranded (Steve Clevenger reached on an infield single that glanced off the pitcher's glove and Johermyn Chavez drew a walk, but Darnell McDonald was called out on strikes on a 3-2 pitch, Jorge Soler popped out to the first-baseman in foul territory, and PH Brad Nelson rolled out 4-3).
After not pitching in an "A" game since a week ago Sunday, Edwin Jackson got the start for the Cubs today and became the first Cub hurler to go five innings, E-Jax allowed one run on three hits (two infield singles and the Tulo RBI double) and one walk in his 5.0 IP (59 pitches - 38 strikes, 6/5 GO/FO), while striking out two. This was definitely the best Jackson has looked so far this Spring.
Japanese import RHRP Kyuji Fujikawa labored through a 25-pitch 6th, as the Rockies loaded the bases on a single and two walks, followed by the Tulowitzki SF. Although Fujikawa was behind on most every hitter he faced, he did strike out two (one looking and one swinging).
Both Cory Wade and Carlos Marmol breezed through seven-pitch shutout innings in the 7th & 8th, and Jensen Lewis pitched a scoreless 9th, allowing a lead-off single, but eventually leaving the runner stranded at 2nd.
Catcher Dioner Navarro had another strong game behind the plate, picking one runner off 1st base, and nailing another runner trying to steal 2nd.
After missing two weeks with a hamstring injury, Starlin Castro returned to the lineup and looked fine. He played shortstop for three innings and handled five chances easily (Eric Young, Jr did beat-out an infield single to deep short, but there was no realistic chance to throw Young out although Castro did make the play close at 1st), and reached base in both of his AB (drawing a walk in the 1st, and grounding a single to LF in the 3rd).
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?