Big Gun Balaguert Satisfies Need for Offense at Fitch Park
Shawon Dunston Jr reached base four times on three singles and a walk, scored twice, and drove-in a run, Yasiel Balaguert singled twice, tripled, and knocked-in four runs, and Jacob Rogers smacked a two-run triple and walked, leading one squad of Cubs to a 7-3 victory over one squad of Diamondbacks on Field #3, and Francisco Sanchez hammered a two-run triple and then scored on a WP in a three-run 5th, and Garrett Schlecht, Erick Castillo, and Wilfredo Petit punched-out consecutive singles with two outs in the bottom of the 7th, rallying the other squad of Cubs to a 4-4 tie with the other squad of D'backs on Field #2, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training doubleheader played this morning at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.
As is usually the case when they play an EXST doubleheader, both games were seven-inning affairs, and the games were played simultaneously on adjoining fields.
RHP Dayan Diaz saw his first 2013 game action today, starting and pitching one inning in the game on Field #3. Signed by the Cubs as a minor league free-agent last November, Diaz got an NRI to Spring Training, but never got to pitch in an MLB Cactus League game because of a sore arm. (In fact, he never even threw "live" BP while with the big club). He has been rehabbing at Fitch Park for the past six weeks.
The Cubs have signed 30-year old veteran switch-hitting C-1B-3B-PH Jose Morales to a minor league contract, and he was a DH in the game on Field #2. He went 2-3, roping two line-drive singles and striking out (swinging). With Steve Clevenger on the DL for at least 60 days with a strained oblique, it's possible that Morales was signed to eventually provide Manager Dale Sveum with the third catcher he seems to covet.
The Cubs have been working out Jose Dore (acquired from SD last month) at 3rd base this week, and he played there in yesterday's intrasquad game and then again in today's EXST game on Field #2. He looks like a "natural" at the hot corner, and although he probably will continue to see action at 1B-LF-RF, it looks like he wil be playing a lot of 3rd base in the coming days. (He also got three innings at 2nd base last week, as the Cubs apparently see him as a bit of a "super-sub").
Conversely, I doubt that 18-year old slugging INF Luis Acosta (signed on July 2, 2011 - $1.1M bonus) will be remaining at 3rd base. His throws have been consistently scatter-gun (in fact, about the worst I have ever seen), and he was worked-out at 2nd base in pre-game infield practice this morning (although he did not play in the game). He was signed as a ahortstop, but was moved to third-base at DSL Instrux post-2012 because of defensive struggles at SS. If second-base doesn't work out, he'll probably be moved to LF. (He also needs to learn how to hit breaking balls, or at least recognize a breaking ball and then not swing at it).
Here are the box scores from today's games (Cubs players only):
FITCH PARK FIELD #2
CUBS SQUAD "B" LINEUP:
1a. Bryant Flete, 2B: 0-1 (L-6, BB)
1b. Frandy de la Rosa, 2B: 1-1 (1B)
2. Kevin Encarnacion, RF: 2-3 (F-8, 1B, 1B)
3. Jesse Hodges, DH #1: 0-3 (K, F-9, F-8)
4. Jeffrey Baez, CF: 0-2 (HBP, K, 3-1)
5. Jose Morales, DH #2: 2-3 (1B, 1B, K, R)
6. Jose Dore, 3B: 1-3 (K, 2B, 4-3, R)
7. Francisco Sanchez, SS: 1-3 (F-9, 3B, K, R, 2 RBI)
8. Garrett Schlecht, LF: 2-3 (1B, 4-3, 1B, R)
9. Erick Castillo, C: 2-3 (5-4-3 DP, 1B, 1B)
10. Wilfredo Petit, 1B: 1-3 (5-3, 3-U, 1B, RBI)
11. Rashad Crawford, DH #3: 0-3 (K, P-6, K)
CUBS SQUAD "B" PITCHERS:
1. Duane Underwood: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 45 pitches (24 strikes), 5/1 GO/FO
2. Ethan Elias: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 1 GIDP, 29 pitches (18 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
3. Loiger Padron: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 35 pitches (18 strikes), 3/2 GO/FO
CUBS SQUAD "B" ERRORS: (1)
SS Francisco Sanchez - E-6 (throwing error on attempted 6-4 FC allowed baserunner to reach 2nd base safely - eventually scored unearned run)
CUBS SQUAD "B" CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Erick Castillo: 1-1 CS, 1 PB
FITCH PARK FIELD #3
CUBS SQUAD "A" LINEUP:
1. Shawon Dunston, Jr, CF: 3-3 (BB, 1B, 1B, 1B, 2 R, RBI)
2. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 0-1 (BB, BB, BB, 4-6-3 DP, 2 R)
3. Yasiel Balaguert, RF: 3-3 (1B, 3B, F-8 SF, 1B, 4 RBI)
4. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 1-3 (K, BB, 3B, L-7, 2 RBI)
5. Reggie Golden, LF: 0-3 (1-2 FC, 6-3, K)
6. Trevor Gretzky, DH #1: 0-3 (1-U, 6-3, K)
7. Justin Marra, C: 0-2 (BB, F-9, F-8, R)
8. Carlos Penalver, SS: 1-3 (F-9, 1-3, 3B)
9. Mark Malave, 3B: 0-2 (4-3, BB, P-1, R)
10a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TWO TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
10b. Neftali Rosario, DH #2: 0-0 (BB, R)
CUBS SQUAD "A" PiTCHERS:
1. Dayan Diaz: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 17 pitches (11 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
2. Jose Rosario: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 40 pitches (19 strikes), 5/3 GO/FO
3. Chad Martin: 2.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 33 pitches (21 strikes), 1/5 GO/FO
4. David Cales: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 18 pitches (11 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
CUBS SQUAD "A" ERRORS: NONE
CUBS SQUAD "A" CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Justin Marra: 1-1 CS
CUBS SQUAD "A" OUTFIELD ASSISTS:
CF Shawon Dunston - threw out baserunner 8-5 trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on a single
WEATHER: Sunny & VERY breezy with temperatures in the 70's
NOTE: It wasn't a Cactus League game, but there was a 3-1/2 inning intrasquad game played at FITCH PARK FIELD #3 yesterday morning.
RHP Josh Conway (Cubs 2012 4th round draft pick out of Coastal Carolina) was really on his game, striking out seven in 3.2 IP (64 pitches). And when he wasn't getting punch-outs, he was throwing ground balls (3/0 GO/FO).
Here is the box score from that game:
SQUAD "B" LINEUP:
1. Roberto Caro, CF: 0-2 (K, K)
2, Rashad Crawford, RF: 1-2 (1B, K, SB, CS)
3. Trevor Gretzky, 1B: 0-1 (K, BB, R, SB)
4. Jose Dore, 3B: 1-2 (4-3, 1B, RBI)
5. Erick Castillo, C: 1-1 (2B)
6. Francisco Sanchez, SS: 0-1 (K)
7. Alberto Mineo, DH #1: 0-1 (K)
8. Kevin Encarnacion, LF: 0-1 (K)
9. Bryant Flete, 2B: 0-1 (3-1)
10. Jesse Hodges, DH #2: 0-1 (5-3)
SQUAD "A" LINEUP:
1. Lance Rymel, C: 1-2 (1B, K)
2. Mark Malave, 3B: 1-1 (1B, R)
3. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 0-1 (5-3)
4. Garrett Schlecht, RF: 1-1 (3B, RBI)
5. Xavier Batista, DH #1: 0-1 (K)
6. Reggie Golden, DH #2: 0-1 (K)
7. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 0-1 (K)
8. Frandy de la Rosa, SS: 0-1 (4-3)
9. Shawon Dunston Jr, CF: 0-1 (6-3)
10. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 0-1 (5-3)
SQUAD "B" PITCHERS:
1. Andrew McKirahan: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 29 pitches (21 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
2. Anthony Prieto: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 BR, 0 BB, 1 K, 12 pitches (8 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
SQUAD "A" PITCHER
Josh Conway: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 7 K, 64 pitches (40 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
NOTE: Game was stopped with two outs in top of 4th when Conway reached his pre-planned max pitch limit
SQUAD "A" CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Lance Rymel 1-3 CS
SQUAD "B" OUTFIELD DEFENSE:
RF Rashad Crawford - threw out baserunner 9-5 trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on a single
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.
The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.
If the ball didn't deflect off the pitcher's mound, the game wouldn't have ended. Montgomery did miss his location though, but if that same contact was made and went in any of direction, good chance of ground out if it doesn't get through.
If it was 1 night later, Chapman would be out there and we probably would be going to extras.
Also, If KB wasn't robbed of a HR, perhaps we would have won. We will never know. Nice play by Melky though.
The comparison isn't Chapman replacing Rondon. It's Chapman replacing Richard (hopefully) in the pen. Chapman's better.
I'm with you, Rob. You pretty much summed up how I feel about it.
Been quite the roller-coaster the past two days -- both games, plus the Chapman kerfuffel. How about a couple of nice, comfortable wins before facing Sale? Cubs should definitely wear throwbacks for that game.