A's Late Rally Tops Cubs at Papago Park

Luis Baez stroked two run-scoring doubles (one to tie the game in th 6th and another to put the A's ahead in the 9th) and knocked-in three runs, helping to rally the Athletics to a 6-4 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Papago Park Field #2 (AKA "Connie Mack Field") in Phoenix, AZ.

Jesse Hodges smacked an RBI double and a solo HR, Albert Almora singled, doubled, and scored a run, and Paul Blackburn hurled three shutout innings for the Cubs in a losing cause.

The game was pre-planned as a ten-inning affair, so when the A's scored three runs in the bottom of the 9th to take a 6-4 lead, the Cubs still had a chance to mount a comeback. But they left the bases loaded in the top of the 10th.  

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

1. Kevin Encarnacion, RF: 0-3 (BB, F-9, K, BB, 1-3, CS)
2. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 1-3 (K, BB, BB, 4-3, 1B, R, SB)
3. Albert Almora, CF: 2-5 (4-3, F-9, 2B, 6-3, 1B, R)
4. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 1-5 (4-1, 4-3, 1B, K, F-8, RBI)
5. Yasiel Balaguert, LF: 1-5 (F-9, P-3, 4-6 FC, F-8, 1B, RBI, CS)
6a. Reggie Golden, DH: 0-2 (K, BB, K, R)
6b. Rony Rodriguez, PH-DH: 0-2 (K, F-9)
7. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 2-3 (HBP, 2B, HR, 5-3, R, 2 RBI)
8. Erick Castillo, C: 2-4 (6-3 DP, P-4, 1B, 1B)
9. Carlos Penalver, SS: 0-4 (K, P-3, 6-4 FC, F-8)
1. Paul Blackburn: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 PO, 46 pitches (25 strikes), 2/3 GO/FO
2. Erick Leal: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 56 pitches (37 strikes), 3/3 GO/FO
3. Jasvir Rakkar: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 29 pitches (16 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
4. Carlos Martinez: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 9 pitches (5 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
5. Matt Iannazzo: 1.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 25 pitches (16 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO

3B Jesse Hodges - E-5 (two-base throwing error allowed batter to reach 2nd base safely - eventually scored unearned run)

Erick Castillo: 0-1 CS


WEATHER: Partly cloudy & very breezy with temperatures in the 90's

NOTE: It wasn't a Cactus League Extended Spring Training game, but the Cubs did play an intrasquad game at Fitch Park yesterday (Thursday).

Kevin Encarnacion singled twice, walked, and clubbed a two-run HR, Jose Dore doubled and tripled and drove-in three runs, Francisco Sanchez singled twice, doubled, and scored two runs, Reggie Golden doubled twice (both off the LF fence) and scored two runs, and RHP Alexander Santana threw three innings of no hit ball (one walk & three strikeouts), but he did allow an unearned run thanks to a Danny Lockhart three-base throwing error.

Here is the box score from yesterday's intrasquad game:

1. Kevin Encarnacion, CF: 3-4 (1B, 1B, BB, P-6, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, CS)
2. Danny Lockhart, 3B: 2-4 (K, F-7 SF, 1B+E1, P-5, 1B, 2 R, RBI)
3a. Justin Marra, C: 0-3 (K, 3-1, F-9)
3b. Neftali Rosario, C: 1-2 (K, 1B, R)
4a. Xavier Batista, 1B: 0-2 (F-9, K, F-8 SF, RBI)
4b. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 1-2 (1B, F-7, R)
5. Jose Dore, RF: 2-5 (K, 3-1, K, 3B, 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI)
6. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 2-5 (K, 3B, K, K, 1B+E8, R, RBI)
7. Erick Castillo, DH #1: 1-4 (6-3, HBP, P-6, 1B, 6-3, R, RBI)
8b. Shawon Dunston Jr, DH #2: 0-1 (K)
9. Frandy de la Rosa, 2B: 2-3 (1B, 1B, K, BB, R, RBI)
10. Francisco Sanchez, SS: 3-4 (1B, 2B, 1B, 5-4 FC, 2 R)

1a. Rashad Crawford, CF: 0-3 (1-3, F-8, K)
1b. Jeffrey Baez, CF: 1-2 (1B, K, RBI, PO)
2. Carlos Penalver, SS: 1-4 (3B, E-5, 5-3, F-8, BB, R)
3a. Trevor Gretzky, LF: 0-3 (6-3, K, F-7)
3b. Roberto Caro, LF: 0-2 (4-3, 1-3)
4. Yasiel Balaguert, RF: 0-4 (F-8, FC, L-3, 6-3, RBI)
5. Mark Malave, 3B: 1-3 (L-8, BB, K, 1B)
6a. Lance Rymel, C: 0-3 (P-4, F-8, K)
6b. Wilfredo Petit, C: 0-1 (F-7)
7. Alberto Mineo, 1B: 1-4 (1B, K, K, E-4, R)
8a. Garrett Schlecht, DH: 0-1 (BB, 3-1)
8b. Reggie Golden, PH-DH: 2-2 (2B, 2B, 2 R)
9. Brad Zapenas, 2B: 0-3 (BB, F-7, E-6, 6-3, RBI, SB, CS)

1. Loiger Padron: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 31 pitches (17 strikes), 2/4 GO/FO
2. Alexander Santana: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 38 pitches (25 strikes), 2/4 GO/FO
3. Ethan Elias: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 PO, 31 pitches (20 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
4. Juan Francisco: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 2 WP, 31 pitches (18 strikes), 4/1 GO/FO

1. Anthony Prieto: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 24 pitches (16 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
2. Hunter Ackerman: 2.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 27 pitches (16 strikes), 3/1 GO/FO
3. Jorge Diaz: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 31 pitches (20 strikes), 0/3 GO/FO
4. Orbandy Rodriguez: 1.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R (5 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 1 WP, 34 pitches (21 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
NOTE: Top of the 8th inning was stopped with two outs when O. Rodriguez reached his pre-planned max pitch limit for the game
5. Luis Villalba: 1.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 31 pitches (21 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO

1. 3B Danny Lockhart - E-5 (three-base throwing error allowed batter to reach 3rd base safely - eventually scored unearned run)
2. SS Francisco Sanchez - E-6 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)
3. 2B Frandy de la Rosa - E-4 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely - eventually scored unearned run)

1. P Jorge Diaz - E-1 (throwing error on bunt single allowed batter & two runners to advance one extra base each)
2. CF Rashad Crawford - E-8 (fielding error allowed batter to take extra base on single)

Neftali Rosario
: 0-1 CS

Lance Rymel: 1-1 CS

RF Yasiel Balaguert - threw out baserunner (Erick Castillo) 9-5 trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on single




A short doc on a long ago MLB legend



Interesting tweet in the tweet box: z'Remember when Rizzo was striking out a lot? No K's in last 31 AB's..tied for 2nd longest active streak in majors"

Don't know if that includes last night, but it sure goes a long way to explaining his improved hitting. It's a curious thing, though, the difference between the way his season started and now. How does that happen?

Geiger-Soler put on a fireworks show in yesterday's Daytona Cubs doubleheader...


Over his past three games, Geiger is 10-for-13 with eight extra-base hits.


The 21-year-old outfielder was 7-for-10 with a homer and a double in the doubleheader, raising his OPS to .908, which ranks eighth in the Florida State League -- one spot ahead of Geiger.

"[Jorge] has shown me that his patience is above average for this level," Keller said. "He doesn't chase a whole lot of pitches out of the strike zone. He's always getting a good pitch to hit. We're just trying to continually reinforce to him that he needs to use the whole field."

I was listening to the "live" audio on mlb.com when the Cubs drafted Dustin Geiger back in 2010, and they announced him as an "outfielder" when they drafted him. So although he had played 3rd base in HS, the Cubs Area Scout projected Geiger as a corner outfielder. But to get him to sign (he had signed an NLI with Central Florida), the Cubs had to give him an overslot bonus and agree to let him play 3B (at least for a while).

So look for Geiger to be moved to a corner OF slot (probably LF, what with Soler holding down RF) sometime soon.

Brett Jackson...

"Some of the best advice I've gotten is, I was sitting with Ian Stewart, talking about hitting and I was feeling for my swing as you do early in the season," Jackson recalled. "He asked if I was comfortable at the plate and I said I'm not very comfortable right now. He's like, 'You need to be yourself at the plate and be comfortable and be the type of hitter [you] want to be.'"



Mets fans are louder than Cubs fans. A new low point.

they have an entire section of the bleachers today...kinda creepy.

m.garza debuts tuesday vs pitt

vanillawafers (with recently shaved mustache) to the pen

Recent comments

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  • deno ended the season well even though ajax heavily cut into a lot of his chances to play. it's either him or ajax. i'm a bit partial to deno, but whatever...at least ajax isn't hitting 2nd.

  • Agreed. And, with Hendricks on the mound, Cubs will probably need to score some runs to win -- why not start Soler for his bat and bring in Ajax for defense later?

    NEVER MIND....just re-read the lineup.

  • If the Cubs have the lead in the 8th, who pitches? Rodney? Travis? Yikes.

  • The Cubs had some good runs and nice winning streaks that propelled them to the playoffs. Austin Jackson wasn't part of that. I don't quite understand what it is about Jackson that they are so enamored with.

  • I think the strike zone was very inconsistent, but it's hard to blame the loss on the ump. They had chances and mistake pitches and just couldn't cash in. Lackey ran the ball inside and outside very effectively.

  • Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.

  • Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell

  • if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.

  • I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth

  • Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.

    Wtf is up w/that?!

  • Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...

  • I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.

  • Awesome stuff, Phil.

  • listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.

    That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.

  • it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
    should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?

    sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.

  • HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).  

    Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.