A's Top Cubs at Papago Park
Dayton Alexander knocked-in two runs with an RBI single and a sacrifice fly, leading the Athletics to a 7-3 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #2 (AKA "Connie Mack Field") at the Papago Park Baseball Facility in Phoenix, AZ.
Eloy Jimenez drove-in two of the three Cub runs with a sharply-hit RBI ground single through the 5.5 hole with two outs in the 1st inning and a two-out bases loaded walk on a 3-2 pitch in the 5th.
The Cub offense collected more walks (8) than hits (3) in the game, while Cub pitchers surrendered more walks (8) than hits (6).
The game was pre-planned as a ten-inning affair so that all of the pitchers who were scheduled to throw today could get their work.
In EXST Cubs roster news, AAA Iowa OF Jae-Hoon Ha (post-2013 broken wrist) has completed his EXST rehab and has rejoined the I-Cubs, and INF Giuseppe Papaccio has been moved up to AA Tennessee.
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
1. Gleyber Torres, SS: 1-4 (K, BB, K, 1B, K, PO)
2a. Varonex Cuevas, 2B: 0-2 (BB, 3-U, BB, F-8, 2 R, SB)
2b. Dalfis Ortiz, 2B: 0-1 (K)
3. Jeffrey Baez, RF-CF: 0-4 (F-8, K, BB, P-3, 6-3)
4. Eloy Jimenez, DH: 1-4 (1B, 5-3, BB, 5-3, K, 2 RBI)
5. Alberto Mineo, 1B: 0-3 (K, BB, BB, 3-1, K, RBI)
6. Ricardo Marcano, LF: 0-4 (L-4, 3-U, 3-1, K)
7. Mark Malave, C: 0-3 (BB, K, K, 4-3)
8a. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 0-2 (F-9, K)
8b. Roney Alcala, PH-3B: 0-2 (4-3, 4-3)
9a. Rashad Crawford, CF: 1-3 (4-3, 1B, F-7, R)
9b. Arnaldo Calero, RF: 0-1 (E-5)
1. Tyler Ihrig: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 2/2 GO/FO, 40 pitches (25 strikes)
2. Jose Paulino: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 2/3 GO/FO, 24 pitches (17 strikes)
3. Hector Perez: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 4 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 38 pitches (18 strikes)
4. Frailyn Figueroa: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 1 R (0 ER), 3 BB, 2 K, 1 PO, 1 BALK, 2/1 GO/FO, 31 pitches (17 strikes)
5. Greyfer Eregua: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GO/FO, 16 pitches (11 strikes)
6. Zak Hermans: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 0/2 GO/FO, 15 pitches (9 strikes)
CUBS ERRORS: 3
1. 3B Jesse Hodges - E-5 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely and unearned run to score)
2. P Frailyn Figueroa - E-1 (overthrow on pick-off attempt at 1st base allowed baserunner to advance to 3rd)
3. C Mark Malave - E-2 (errant pick-off attempt at 2nd base allowed runner to advance to 3rd)
CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Mark Malave: 0-1 CS, 1 PB, 1 E (see above)
WEATHER: Partly cloudy with temperatures in the 90's
2nd in defensive WAR, NL.
6th in NL in RBI
Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.
Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.