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
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.