Brewers Leave Cubs Offense in a Stupor at Fitch Park
Dustin Houle and Jalen Harris smacked back-to-back RBI doubles in a two run 4th, Francisco Castillo collected three singles (including a run-scoring hit in the 9th), and RHP Zach Quintana tossed five innings of one-run ball with five strikeouts, as the Brewers defeated the Cubs 3-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, AZ.
The Cubs scored their one run in the bottom of the 1st inning, when Albert Almora ripped a two-out triple into the left-centerfield gap, and then scored on a Xavier Batista line-drive double into the LF corner.
Almora was 2-4 for the day, including the 1st inning triple, an L-7 line-out in the 3rd. a strikeout (swinging) in the 6th, and a two-out single in the 8th. In five Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (22 PA), Almora is hitting 273/273/500 with three singles, a double and two triples, no walks, and four strikeouts.
While the Cubs and Brewers were playing their game on Field #3, RHPs Chang-Yong Lim and Daury Torrez and LHPs Angel Mejias and David Villegas faced-off in a "sim" game on Field #2. Among the position players participating was Steve Clevenger, who was seeing his first game action of any kind since being placed on the Cubs MLB 60-day DL with a strained oblique on April 14th.
Clevenger hit a couple of squared-up rocket line-drives, including one that almost took Daury Torrez's head off. He certainly didn't show any ill effects from the injury, and I would think he will likely get some ABs as a DH in Cactus League Extended Spring Training games beginning sometime next week, before going out on a rehab assignment at either Tennessee or Iowa. (He isn't eligible to be reinstated from the DL until June 13th).
Here is the abridged box score from today's Cactus League Extended Spring Training game (Cubs players only):
1a. Jeffrey Baez: 1-3 (K, 1-3, 1B, SB)
1b. Jose Dore, RF: 1-1 (1B)
2. Brad Zapenas, 2B: 0-4 (6-3, 5-3, 6-3, 6-4 FC)
3. Albert Almora, CF: 2-4 (3B, L-7, K, 1B, R)
4a. Xavier Batista, LF: 1-3 (2B, K, F-7, RBI)
4b. Rashad Crawford, LF: 0-1 (K)
5a. Shawon Dunston Jr, DH: 0-3 (K, F-8, 1-3)
5b. Garrett Schlecht, PH: 0-1 (K)
6. Trevor Gretzky, 1B: 0-4 (F-7, P-5, K, K)
7. Mark Malave, 3B: 1-4 (L-8, K, F-9, 1B)
8a. Lance Rymel, C: 1-2 (1B, 4-3)
8b. Alberto Mineo, C: 0-2 (L-5, F-9)
9. Francisco Sanchez, SS: 1-3 (1B, 5-3, K)
1. Duane Underwood: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K, 46 pitches (25 strikes), 4/1 GO/FO
2. Corbin Hoffner: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 17 pitches (11 strikes), 0/2 GO/FO
3. Tyler Bremer: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 27 pitches (16 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO
4. Mike Hamann: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 20 pitches (16 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO
5. Larry Suarez: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 12 pitches (8 strikes), 0/2 GO/FO
6. Chad Martin: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 13 pitches (8 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO
CUBS ERRORS: 1
SS Francisco Sanchez - E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely - eventually scored unearned run)
CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
1. Lance Rymel: 1-1 CS
2. Alberto Mineo: 0-2 CS
WEATHER: Sunny & breezy with temperatures in the 80's
McNutt / Archer didn't work out well for us.
The floor is more valuable than the ceiling. It's the same reason we drafted Kris Bryant instead of Jon Gray.
Apparently the Yankees had the choice of either Gleyber Torres or Eloy Jimenez in the Chapman deal, and they chose Torres.
Chapman shouldn't be reserved anymore on 40 man.
Interesting split on Heyward according to ESPN. As a CF, his slash line .292/.363/.375/.738. At RF: .212/.204/.300/.604. 21/72 as a CF, 58/273 as a RF.
He's also been better when batting 2nd, but he had a nice start in the 6 hole, but has slumped ever since. He was heating up before the All Star break, but is only hitting .108 in the 2nd half.
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.