Vitters' Stick Leads Cubs to Victory at Talking Stick
Josh Vitters singled twice and ripped an RBI double, Carlos Penalver doubled twice, scored a run, and knocked-in another, Trey Lang tossed three innings of no-run no-hit ball, and catcher Lance Rymel threw out five baseruners (four caught stealing and one picked-off), as the Cubs edged the Rockies 5-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.
Vitters was placed on the AAA Iowa Cubs DL with a back strain earlier this month, and before that he missed most of MLB Spring Training with a quad strain. He is presently on a rehab assignment with the EXST Cubs, and he played 1st base for five innings today and batted four times (once each in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings). All three of his hits were rockets, and even the F-7 out was a near HR. (He also played 3rd base in yesterday's intrasquad game -- see below).
Cubs 2012 1st round draft pick Albert Almora (broken hamate bone during Minor League Camp) has started taking pre-game BP with the other position players, so I would think he will probably be seeing some EXST game action very soon, and then perhaps get moved-up to Kane County sometime next month.
Here is the box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
X. Josh Vitters, 1B: 3-4 (1B, 1B, F-7, 2B, R, RBI)
NOTE: Vitters batted four times, hitting 2nd in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings
1a. Shawon Dunston Jr, CF: 2-4 (F-7, 1B, 1B, K)
1b. Kevin Encarnacion, CF: 1-1 (2B)
2a. David Bote, 2B: 0-3 (F-9, F-8, 6-3)
2b. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 1-2 (F-7, 1B, RBI)
3a. Xavier Batista, DH #1: 0-2 (K, F-8, BB, R)
3b. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 0-2 (F-9, 1-6-3 DP)
4. Yasiel Balaguert, RF: 0-4 (P-3, K, L-9, L-4)
5a. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 2-3 (2B, L-4, 1B, R)
5b. Brad Zapenas, 3B: 0-1 (K)
6a. Carlos Penalver, SS: 2-3 (F-8, 2B, 2B, R, RBI)
6b. Francisco Sanchez, SS: 0-1 (5-3)
7a. Garrett Schlecht, LF: 0-1 (4-3, F-7 SF, BB, RBI)
7b. Roberto Caro, LF: 0-1 (K)
8. Lance Rymel, C: 1-4 (K, K, K, 1B, R)
9a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST THREE TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
9b. Justin Marra, DH #2: 0-1 (F-8)
1. Kyler Burke: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 36 pitches (23 strikes), 1/3 GO/FO
2. Trey Lang: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 38 pitches (20 strikes), 3/2 GO/FO
3. Anthony Prieto: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 19 pitches (13 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
4. Daniel Adrian: 2.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 35 pitches (25 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
5. Carlos Martinez: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 8 pitches (7 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
CUBS ERRORS: 2
1. SS Francisco Sanchez - E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely - eventually scored unearned run)
2. 2B Danny Lockhart - E-4 (two-base throwing error trying to double runner off 1st base allowed runner to advance to 3rd)
CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Lance Rymel: 4-4 CS, 1 PO
WEATHER: Sunny and a bit breezy with temperatures in the 80's
NOTE: It wasn't a Cactus League Extended Spring Training game. but the Cubs did play a nine-inning intrasquad game yesterday (Thursday) at Fitch Park Field #4 (formerly known as "Field #3")
Veteran MLB RHP Guillermo Moscoso got the start for Squad "B" and he was absolutely dominating, throwing five innings (74 pitches) of two-hit shutout ball with ten strikeouts. He was sent to Extended Spring Training (after being outrighted) to get stretched-out as a starting pitcher after getting almost no innings in MLB Spring Training games with KC and TOR. He could be headed to the Iowa Cubs starting rotation in the near-future.
RHP Duane Underwood threw three innings of one-hit shutout ball for Squad "A," but he struggled with his command (46 pitches - only 22 strikes), walking three.
Josh Vitters (on the Iowa DL with a back strain) saw his first game action in a couple of weeks, playing 3B for five innings and batting four times. He went 0-3 (6-3, P-4, 1-3) with a walk.
Kevin Encarnacion tripled twice for Squad "A,", and Jeffrey Baez doubled and tripled for Squad "B." Both had an RBI.
Bryant Flete left the game after being struck above the right eye with a bad-hop single.
Three of the pitchers who arrived from the Dominican Academy after the start of Extended Spring Training pitched in the intrasquad game. 22-year old RHRP Juan Francisco was dialing it up to 97, but he had zero command of his secondary stuff (he was consistently bouncing his slider in front of the plate), 19-year old Dominican RHP Alexander Santana (who was at AZ Instructs post-2011) looked great, throwing two easy 1-2-3 innings with two strikeouts and four ground outs (he could be the ace of the AZL Cubs starting rotation). and 19-year old Venezuelan LHP Angel Mejias threw 1.1 IP with two strikeouts.
6'6 230+ 24-year old ex-Diamondbacks minor league RHP Orbandy Rodriguez (formerly known as "Manuel Gil") and 17-year old Venezuelan LHP Carlos Rodriguez threw two innings a piece in a "sim" game on Field #3 (formerly Field #2) on Monday, so they will probably be getting into an EXST game pretty soon. I have not seen RHP Jorge Diaz or LHP Luis Villalba throw in a "sim" game yet (both were at Extended Spring Training last year), but they may have done so on a day when the EXST Cubs were on the road.
Here is the box score frrom yesterday's intrasquad game:
CUBS SQUAD "A" LINEUP:
1. Shawon Dunston Jr, CF: 0-4 (K, F-8, 1-3, 4-3)
2. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 1-4 (K, K, 2B, K, R, 2 RBI)
3a. Xavier Batista, RF: 0-2 (K, 5-3)
3b. Kevin Encarnacion, RF: 2-2 (3B, 3B, RBI)
4. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 0-3 (K, K, F-8, BB)
5. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 0-4 (L-8, K, F-7, K)
6a. Jose Dore, LF: 1-3 (2B, K, 3-U)
6b. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FOURTH TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
7a. Bryant Flete, SS: 0-1 (K)
7b. Francisco Sanchez, SS: 1-3 (1B, P-4, F-9, SB, PO)
8a. Alberto Mineo, C: 0-1 (6-3)
8b. Justin Marra, C: 2-2 (1B, 2B, R)
9a. Neftali Rosario, DH #1: 0-2 (K, K)
9b. Dong-Yub Kim, PH: 0-1 (K)
10a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
10b. Rony Rodriguez, DH #2: 0-1 (BB, 1-3, R)
CUBS SQUAD "B" LINEUP:
X. Josh Vitters, 3B: 0-3 (6-3, P-4, BB, 1-3)
NOTE: Vitters batted four times, hitting 2nd in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings
1a. Rashad Carwford, CF: 1-2 (K, BB, 1B)
1b. Brad Zapenas, PH: 0-1 (6-3)
2a. Frandy de la Rosa, SS: 0-3 (1-3, 3-1, 3-1)
2b. Lance Rymel, PH: 0-1 (6-3)
3a. Wilfredo Petit, C-DH: 0-2 (E-6, BB, 6-3)
3b. Erick Castillo, C: 0-1 (4-3)
4. Trevor Gretzky, 1B: 0-2 (BB, P-2, F-7)
5. Carlos Escobar, DH-C-DH: 0-2 (P-3, 5-3 DP, BB, R)
6. Jeffrey Baez, RF: 2-3 (2B, K, 3B, RBI)
7. David Bote, 2B: 2-3 (1B, 1B, F-7, CS)
8a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
8b. Mark Malave, 3B: 0-1 (BB, 1-3)
9a. Reggie Golden, LF: 0-2 (K, F-7)
9b. Roberto Caro, LF: 0-1 (K)
10a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TWO TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
10b. Garrett Schlecht, DH #2: 0-1 (K)
CUBS SQUAD "A" PITCHERS:
1. Dayan Diaz: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 35 pitches (23 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
NOTE: Bottom of 2nd inning was stopped with two outs when Diaz reached his pre-planned max pitch limit
2. Duane Underwood: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 46 pitches (22 strikes), 4/2 GO/FO
3. Ethan Elias: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 2 WP, 29 pitches (14 strikes), 2/3 GO/FO
4. Alexander Santana: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 24 pitches (16 strikes), 4/0 GO/FO
CUBS SQUAD "B" PITCHERS:
1. Guillermo Moscoso: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 K, 1 PO, 74 pitches (46 strikes), 3/1 GO/FO
2. Hunter Ackerman: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 32 pitches (18 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
3. Angel Mejias: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 26 pitches (13 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
4. Juan Francisco: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 19 pitches (11 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
CUBS SQUAD "A" ERRORS: 1
SS Bryant Flete - E-6 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)
CUBS SQUAD "B" ERRORS: NONE
CUBS SQUAD "A" CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Alberto Mineo: 1-1 CS
CUBS SQUAD "B" CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Wilfredo Petit: 0-1 CS
CUBS SQUAD "A" OUTFIELD ASSISTS:
1. LF Jose Dore - threw out batter (David Bote) 7-4 trying to stretch single into double
2. CF Shawon Dunston Jr - threw out baserunner (Mark Malave) trying to score from 2nd base on single
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
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.