Rockies Arms Keep Cub Bats Quiet at Talking Stick

Matthew Carasiti threw five shutout innings and combined with three relievers to throw a four-hitter, and Raimel Tapia and Dillon Thomas drilled RBI singles, as the Rockies edged the Cubs 2-1 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. 

Jeffrey Baez belted a solo HR to account for the Cubs lone run.

RHP Dillon Maples got the start for the Cubs and threw four innings (67 pitches), allowing one run on two hits (both singles), three walks, and a HBP. He struck out three and really had the sinker working (8/0 GO/FO). Maples did struggle with his comand throughout the first two innings (a 22-pitch 1st and a 25-pitch 2nd), but then retired six of the last seven men he faced on just 20 pitches. After completing his 67-pitch four inning stint, Maples went out to the bullpen and threw 20 more pitches, so he should be well stretched-out if the Cubs decide to move him up to Kane County before the end of Extended Spring Training. (FWIW, he also threw 78 pitches in an intrasquad game last Thursday). 

LHP Kyler Burke (strained oblique rehab) "piggy-backed" with Maples and also threw four innings (58 pitches), allowing one run (it was unearned) on three hits (all singles) and a walk, with two strikeouts. He looks like he is about ready to leave EXST and join either Kane County, Daytona, or Tennessee (depending upon where a slot is available).    

Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):

1a. Rashad Crawford, CF: 0-2 (3-1, K, BB, SB)
1b. Jeffrey Baez, CF-DH: 1-1 (HR, R, RBI)
2. David Bote, SS: 0-4 (L-7, F-8, K, P-5)
3a. Yasiel Balaguert, RF: 1-3 (F-7, 2B, P-6)
3b. Garrett Schlecht, RF: 0-1 (F-7)
4a. Jose Dore, DH: 0-3 (K, K, 3-U)
4b. Xavier Batista, LF: 0-1 (F-8)
5a. Trevor Gretzky, LF: 0-3 (6-3, 4-3, 3-1)
5b. Frandy de la Rosa, SS: 0-1 (3-U)
6. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 0-3 (F-8, K, K)
7a. Brad Zapenas, 2B: 0-2 (HBP, 4-3, K)
7b. Kevin Encarnacion, CF: NO AB
8a. Carlos Escobar, C: 2-2 (2B, 1B)
8b. Neftali Rosario, C: 0-1 (6-3)
9. Mark Malave, 3B: 0-3 (K, L-5 DP, 6-3)

1. Dillon Maples: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 67 pitches (37 strikes), 8/0 GO/FO
2. Kyler Burke: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 58 pitches (38 strikes), 2/5 GO/FO
3. Anthony Prieto: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 12 pitches (10 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO 

3B Mark Malave - E-5 (throwing error on infield single allowed batter reach 2nd base - eventually scored unearned run)

Carlos Escobar: 1-4 CS, 1 PO

CF Rashad Crawford - runner thrown out 8-5 trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on a single


WEATHER: Partly cloudy & breezy with temperatues in the 80's




Cubs released RHP Cory Wade.

Marmol in to ruin everything 

pat Hughes more aware that Yadier was going to steal than the Cubs were.

Sweet, Molina TOOTBLAN to end the threat.

marmol was paying no attention to him...which is generally how molina gets most of his steals.

r.sweeney is the 1st person to successfully call off castro from fielding a ball in LF. =p

congrats, new guy.

1-2-3 9th for Gregg...

that felt weird

Continuing my temporary man love for Starlin Castro since he's such a favorite target, that was a helluvan at bat last night in the ninth. If I remember right, and trust me, there's less than a 50/50 chance I do, he was behind in the count, maybe 1-2, fouled off a bunch of pitches, then drove a no doubt about it double into the right field corner. That shows to me he is still a work in progress. Great at bats one day, but then another day he'll flail at something and look really bad. Also, I wonder if anyone has noticed or heard if Valbuena is doing anything differently at the plate. The sample size for this year is growing, and his numbers are quite the outlier compared to his career numbers: .264/.373/.483/.856. I thought I heard Deshaies say something about it but I didn't catch it.

Valbuena is a really interesting case right now. He's getting a lot of platoon ABs, so I think that might be part of the trick. His BB% and K% are slightly improved, but not enough to justify the transformation of his batting line. His ISO has exploded, which would not be unheard of for a guy in his age-28 season. That explains why he has 5 HRs in 100 ABs, as opposed to 4 in 300 ABs last year. But the biggest question mark is the batting average. It's not being fueled by BABIP. It appears maybe he's actually improved both as a hitter and as a slugger this season. Small sample size still relevant; but as someone who has talked about a lot of shit about LV on these comments, I look forward to him having the opportunity to continue to get plate appearances and hopefully prove me wrong.

Edit: One more thought. From 2008 to 2012, he split each year between AAA and MLB, always putting up a good line at AAA and a bad line at MLB. Certainly someone who has had so many good ABs at AAA, and now so many plate appearances upstairs, has the possibility of translating some of their success given enough time to adjust. If he's truly a "late bloomer," (still a premature conclusion at this point) then he can probably expect a good 2-3 years from him before it all falls apart. Just long enough to keep the seat warm for Villanueva or Baez, hopefully.

"Great at bats one day, but then another day he'll flail at something and look really bad."

If Castro wasn't flailing with two strikes in the eighth yesterday, it was because Rosenthal was throwing strictly fastballs and mostly strikes. There were no low outside pitches to flail at. (Rosenthal threw one breaking ball out of eleven pitches to Castro, and it was low-inside).

An eleven-pitch at-bat is pretty good, and it's tough to make even minor contact with eight 95+ fastballs in one trip to the plate. Even Sveum admits that Castro has remarkable hand-to-eye coordination. But before I call it a hell of an at-bat I would want to see him nudge the count to 3 balls, which he never did but could have done by the fifth pitch.

Rizzo came to the plate after Castro's double, and I liked his AB better. He took an outside fastball and then hit the next one to the wall in center. Rizzo comes to the plate with an idea of what he wants to do, an idea that goes beyond "see the ball, hit the ball." Baez is off to a slow start at Daytona but he has six bombs now. He, too, has an idea.

Ryan Sweeney tooks some groundballs over at firstbase. Probably just for emergency situations according to pregame radio.

There needs to be a blanket "no stealing third on Molina" rule implemented.

Why the hell is Rizzo trying to steal 3rd with 2 outs against anybody, much less Molina?

Shierholtz Shirsey's for everyone!

hey look, bullpen fail

(I'm sure the error didn't help much)

more pen fail...stl leads.


How many more games does the Cubs bullpen have to give away before they can file as a charitable organization?

Recent comments

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  • has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception?

    Here is Lackey/Lester from last night. It seems their box is a bit different than the K-Zone TBS was using.

    Here is Lester's data:

  • AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?

  • Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.

  • AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.

  • I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.

    But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.

  • Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.

    Jason deGrom -- oh, my.

  • Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.

    Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.

  • Considering how players reacted it seemed pretty accurate high and wide (to righties), but not so accurate low and in. I thought the strike zone by the ump was awful, but it was consistent and the Cubs never adjusted.

    Rizzo and Bryant need to have good at bats. They are really looking outclassed in these two games.

  • that game sounds fun as hell.

  • I was just wondering the same thing. I'd rather not see it at all. If it's inaccurate, it's a bad viewer experience. If it's accurate, it shows some shitty calling by the umpire.

  • TBS' K Zone seems to be more harsh than the others.

    I wonder if MLB will ask the networks to stop using them. They just make the umps, and the game, look bad, and it only pisses off the fans.

  • ...joe.

  • "Strop vs. Cardinals." Seen the movie. Hated it.

    Not all that disappointed -- I didn't think they would beat Lackey in Game 1. Need to get the bats going against the guys with less experience -- and they hit Wacha pretty good.

  • Rizzo has been slumping the last couple weeks of the season. Very disappointed it has continued during his penultimate moment of his career to date.

  • Really doesn't matter, but I was surprised to see Lester pulled and Strop pulled in. Should of left Lester in. oy.

  • Sweet merciful fuck, I hate the Cardinals.