Junior Lake Back in Action at Fitch Park
James Sneed roped a two-run single and Ryan Dalton followed with an RBI single to highlight a two-out three-run rally in the top of the 3rd inning, and Tyler DeLoach tossed 3.2 IP of one-hit shutout relief with seven strikeouts, helping the Angels defeat the Cubs 4-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #4 in Mesa, AZ.
Junior Lake (fractured rib cage rehab) saw his first game action since March 6th, playing 3rd base for five innings and getting five AB.
Lake batted once in each of the first five innings, going 1-3 with a single and two walks. He also was retired on a 1-3 comebacker to the mound and was called out on strikes. In addition, he was caught stealing after reaching base on the single.
Ex-Minnesota Twins switch-hitting C-1B-3B-PH Jose Morales also returned to action today after missing almost six weeks with a strained hamstring. He went 0-3, and knocked-in the Cubs lone run with a F-7 sacrifice fly.
The 30-year old Morales was signed as a minor league free-agent last month and reported to Extended Spring Training to get into playing shape, but promptly pulled a hammy in his very first EXST game on April 19th. He has been restricted to limited activity (essentially just BP and "sim" games) ever since. Once he is deemed ready to move up, he will likely be assigned to AAA Iowa.
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
X. Junior Lake, 3B: 1-3 (BB, 1B, K, BB, 1-3, CS)
NOTE: Lake batted five times, hitting third in the bottom of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings
1. Kevin Encarnacion, CF: 1-4 (4-3, 3-U, K, 2B)
2a. Justin Marra, DH #1: 0-2 (K, K)
2b. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 0-2 (K, K)
3a. Erick Castillo, C: 0-2 (3-U, K)
3b. Rony Rodriguez, C: 0-2 (F-7, F-7)
4a. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 1-2 (3B, BB, 1-3, R)
4b. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FOURTH TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
5. Jose Morales, DH #2: 0-3 (F-7 SF, F-8, K, K, RBI)
6. Garrett Schlecht, RF: 1-3 (2B, F-9, K)
7. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 0-2 (BB, F-7, 6-3)
8. Carlos Penalver, SS: 0-3 (P-3, L-4, K)
9. Trevor Gretzky, 1B: 0-1 (BB, BB, K, SB)
1. Paul Blackburn: 3.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 2 HBP, 1 PO, 67 pitches (41 strikes), 3/2 GO/FO
2. Erick Leal: 3.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 1 PO, 47 pitches (29 strikes), 2/5 GO/FO
NOTE: Top of 7th inning was stopped with two outs when Leal reached his pre-planned max pitch limit for the game
3. Carlos Martinez: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 28 pitches (20 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
CUBS ERRORS: NONE
CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Erick Castillo; 0-1 CS
Rony Rodriguez: 1-1 CS
WEATHER: Sunny and breezy with temperarures in the 90's
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?
Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump
Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.
j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.
felix pena, your turn.