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
Very bizarre game -- as you say, both Cubs pitchers were dominant until the one fatal pitch. It was like watching the Bears defense shut down a team, and then lose on 2 punt returns. Some better hitting with RISP would be a good idea, too.
Trouble Boys, the Replacements bio, is a great option. I'm sure Chad loved it.
Amen Brick. What's the point of following early-season games if you can't over-react to them? What, we should be reading books now?
"Weren't the National considered a near lock last year?"
No, I think you're thinking of Radiohead, The 1975, or Bowie's last album.
Although The National's Greatful Dead tribute is pretty cool.
I don't think they're any kind of lock, though I do expect they'll make the playoffs.
It's not like I'm glad they've gone 4-8. I just don't think it's time to be all that worried -- just like I didn't think they were going to keep playing .730 ball.
vegas isn't a fan of the game because of how erratic and unpredictable it is.
SF has recently won 3 world series many thought they weren't supposed to win...BOS won a world series recently that they weren't even supposed to be in the playoffs for...favored teams with huge wins have seen 1st round exists...fun times.
I think they'll be ok too. But having watched this team since the mid-60s, I never think it's time to conclude, well, thank god the drought is over. I've seen/heard way too many people who follow the Cubs say glad we're finally going to win the Series this year. Please. Weren't the National considered a near lock last year?
Best record in baseball and largest division lead.
I'm jumping right now!
Can we please stop pointing out how ridiculous it is to panic and start panicking in earnest?
,571 winning percentage in May.
I think they're gonna be OK.
RAISIN: All I know is that Oscar de la Cruz is still shut down, and I don't know what his prognosis is, or what the plan is going forward.
Remember just two weeks ago, when "all" they had to do was play .500 ball the rest of the season and coast into the playoffs?
Well I guess if pitchers can keep working the edges of the plate to perfection it will be a long season. But that doesn't seem likely. Rizzo finally, fully, snapping out of it would help.
If I didn't believe in coincidences (or science), I would apologize to Gordon Downie--one of my favorites. Sad news about a great talent.
Hi Arizona Phil,
Has there been any news on Oscar de la Cruz' health?