Cubs Beat Brewers, but Apparently Lose Conway
Carlos Escobar blasted a 420+ foot two-run HR that landed on the roof of a mobile classroom at Frank Borman Elementary School beyond the left-centerfield fence to put the Cubs on the scoreboard in the top of the 1st, Shawon Dunston Jr belted a triple and two singles, scored two runs, and drove-in two more, and Yasiel Balaguert laced a two-run triple, singled, walked, and scored two runs, as the Cubs outlasted the Brewers 9-7 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Maryvale Baseball Complex Field #7 (AKA "Paul Molitor Field") in Phoenix, AZ.
Tyler Roberts doubled twice, singled, scored two runs, and drove-in one, and Dustin Houle singled, doubled, walked, and scored three runs, to aid the Brewer cause.
The pitcher's mound on Field #7 was in deplorable condition. It had apparently baked in the heat (the infield was hard as cement) and then had been over-watered just prior to start of the game, so starting pitchers Josh Conway (Cubs) and Daniel Keller (Brewers) were constantly slipping & sliding on clods of dirt when they hit their respective landing spots after throwing a pitch, and the two pitchers had to continually go to the back of the mound and scrape mud out of their cleats. The mound was also tacky at the rubber, so that at one point the cleats on Keller's right shoe got stuck in the mud and he had to abort a pitch by throwing it directly into the ground.
Meanwhile, Conway looked uncomfortable from his very first pitch, continually pawing at his landing spot and scraping mud out of his spikes after every single pitch. A member of the grounds crew was eventually located after the end of the 1st inning (today is Saturday, so there was just a "skeleton crew" on duty), and while he raked up the mud clods, nothing was done to dry up the mud itself or stamp-down the mound. On his second pitch in the bottom of the 2nd inning, Conway's spikes got caught in the mud and he tripped and threw a pitch awkwardly, about six feet over the head of the Brew Crew batter. A loud pop could be heard when he let go of the pitch, and his arm recoiled as if he had been shot. He was obviously in tremendous pain, and he ran up the 1st base line into foul territory before coming to a stop and going to one knee.
Only after Conway left the game did two other members of the Maryvale grounds crew arrive and completely manicure the mound to make it safe for the pitchers.
Conway was immediately driven back to Fitch Park in the Cubs utility van, and presumably he will be examined next week.
Conway was the Cubs 4th round draft pick last season out of Coastal Carolina University, and he was considered a pre-draft 1st or 2nd round talent who fell to the 4th round only because he had elbow UCL reconstruction (Tommy John Surgery) prior to the June draft. But after nearly making the Kane County starting rotation out of Minor League Camp, Conway has been the most-impressive Cubs pitcher so far at Extended Spring Training, and after throwing five solid innigs and 80 pitches in his previous start last Monday, he appeared to be on the verge of getting a promotion to Kane County or possibly Daytona.
Jose Rosario was scheduled to once again "piggy-back" with Conway (with both pitchers throwing four or five innings each), but Conway's early exit caused the Cubs to turn to reliever Mike Hamann to get ready quickly and throw a couple of innings. Rosario eventually did enter the game in the bottom of the 4th, and he had a miserable outing, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits (including three doubles), three walks, a wild pitch, and a two-base throwing error over three innings of work. He benefited from an inning-ending 4-6-3 DP and two runners being thrown out at the plate trying to score on singles to the outfield, or his final line would have been even worse.
Reggie Golden earned the notorious "Golden Sombrero," striking out four times (all four times swinging), and he did it in four AB.
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
1. David Bote, 3B: 2-5 (1B, 3B, 5-3, K, 6-4 FC, RBI, CS)
2a. Carlos Penalver, SS: 0-3 (F-8, 6-3, 4-3)
2b. Bryant Flete, SS: 1-1 (F-8 SF, 1B, 2 RBI)
3. Yasiel Balaguert, 1B: 2-4 (BB, 1B, 6-3, 3B, 6-3, 2 R, 2 RBI)
4a. Carlos Escobar, C: 2-3 (HR, 1B, 4-3, R, 2 RBI)
4b. Erick Castillo, C: 0-2 (E-5, K,)
5a. Garrett Schlecht, RF: 0-3 (K, 5-4-3 DP, K)
5b. Jose Dore, RF: 0-1 (K)
6. Reggie Golden, CF: 0-4 (K, K, K, K)
7. Rony Rodriguez, DH: 1-4 (K, K, 1B, 6-3, R)
8. Brad Zapenas, 2B: 1-2 (1B, F-7, BB, BB, 3 R)
9. Shawon Dunston Jr, LF: 3-4 (3B, 3-U, 1B, 1B, 2 R, RBI)
1. Josh Conway: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 18 pitches (10 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO
2. Mike Hamann: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 30 pitches (22 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
3. Jose Rosario: 3.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R (4 ER), 3 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 62 pitches (28 strikes), 5/1 GO/FO
4. Tyler Bremer: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 25 pitches (19 strikes), 1/1 GO/GO
CUBS ERRORS: 4
1. P Mike Hamann - E-1 (errant throw on pick-off attempt at 2nd base allowed runner to advance to 3rd)
2. P Jose Rosario - E-1 (two-base throwing error allowed batter to reach 2nd base safely)
3. SS Bryant Flete - E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely - eventually scored unearned run)
4. 1B Yasiel Balaguert - E-3 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
CUBS OUTFIELD ASSISTS:
RF Garrett Schlecht - baserunner thrown out 9-3-2 trying to score from 2nd base on single
LF Shawon Dunston Jr - baserunner thrown out 7-2 trying to score from 2nd base on single
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 90's
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.