Windy City Classic 101

It's not only important for young Cubs players to learn the finer points of pitching, fielding, hitting, and base-running, it's also important for them to learn "Why We Fight" and which teams need to be targeted in a special way for defeat. So in what is the Arizona Instructional League version of the Windy City Classic, the Cubs defeated the White Sox 6-4 this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa. Donald Veal got the start for the Cubs, and the lefty breezed through the first inning, getting three ground outs (6-3, 4-3, and 5-3) on just seven pitches. Veal had a more-difficult second inning, though, as the White Sox loaded the bases with two outs on two singles and a walk, but Veal was able to sneak a called third strike past the last hitter to end the threat. The Cubs took the lead in the bottom of the 3rd, when with two outs and nobody on base, Bryan Jost and Gian Guzman singled. Jost then scored on a throwing error after Ty Wright hit what should have been a routine easy inning-ending ground out to second. After the Sox tied the score 1-1 in the top of the 4th, the Cubs came back and scored two in the bottom of the frame on a two-out RBI single by Cliff Andersen and an RBI double by Carlos Perez. Leon Johnson followed Perez's double with a line single to CF, but Perez was thrown out at the plate. The White Sox slammed two doubles and a single off Marcos Mateo in the top of the 6th, but thanks to a very convenient 6-3 DP in the middle of the mess, the Sox wound up scoring only one run, and the Cubs survived the inning with a 3-2 lead. The Cubs made it 4-2 in the bottom of the 6th, when Cliff Andersen came through with another two-out RBI single, following base hits by Josh Donaldson and Josh Vitters. The Cubs aded two more runs in the bottom of the 8th on back-to-back doubles by Ty Wright and Marwin Gonzalez, a walk to Donaldson, a wild pitch, and an RBI ground out by Marquez Smith. The White Sox were able to score two runs in the top of the 9th off Dumas Garcia on two singles, two wild pitches, and a passed ball, but Garcia retired the final three Sox batters F-9, 1-3, and K (looking) to seal the victory. Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only): LINEUP: 1. Gian Guzman, 2B (1-4, 2 K) 2. Ty Wright, LF (1-4, R, 2B, K) 3. Marwin Gonzalez, SS (2-4, R, RBI, 2B, PO) 4A. Brandon Guyer, DH #1 (0-2, R) 4B. Josh Donaldson, DH #1 (1-1, R, BB) 5. Marquez Smith, DH #2 (0-4, RBI, 2 K) 6. Josh Vitters, 3B (2-4, 2B) 7. Cliff Andersen, RF (2-3, R, 2 RBI, BB, K) 8A. Carlos Perez, C (1-2, RBI, 2B) 8B. Mark Reed, C (0-2) 9. Leon Johnson, CF (1-3, 2 K) 10. Bryan Jost, 1B (1-3, R, K) PITCHING: 1. Donnie Veal - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 3/0 GB/FB (25 pitches) 2. Hernan Ramos - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 2/3 GB/FB (27 pitches) 3. Mark Pawelek - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 2/1 GB/FB (8 pitches) 4. Marcos Mateo - 2.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 3/1 GB/FB (33 pitches) 5. Casey Lambert - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1/2 GB/FB (8 pitches) 5. Dumas Garcia - 1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 2 WP, 1/1 GB/FB (14 pitches) NO ERRORS BY CUBS, BUT THERE WERE THREE ERRORS BY THE WHITE SOX CATCHERS DEFENSE: Mark Reed - PB (led to unearned run in 9th) ATTENDANCE: 10


Attendance - 10 lol

Comment about Felix Pie today. He just seems more comfortable in the middle of the lineup. Did Lou get to use him anywhere this year other than 1, 2, or 7 or lower?

If you're going to give the kid a chance to truly compete for a job next year, maybe hit him fifth. He hasn't earned it, but maybe showing some confidence in him will help instill some and make it easier for him to do his job. Then, after a few WEEKS (not days), if he proves he can't protect Ramirez, then drop him in the order, bench him or trade him. But as much raw talent as this kid has, he definitely needs to be allowed every chance to succeed.

dont think anyone who Ks as much as pie can protect much of least until he gets his power stroke consistant.

soriano-lite needs to at least get a little more soriano-like.

hypothetical question (and I'll try to answer it but please correct the answer if I'm wrong):

what happens if on Sunday (assuming the Rockies win tonight, they are ahead 11-1 right now, in the 6th):

padres lose to the brewers
mets and phillies win their games
rockies beat the dbacks

so after 162 games there is a tie for the nl east and a 4 way tie for the wildcard, all at 89-73...(mets, phils, rockies, padres)

I assume a tiebreaker game for the nl east makes the winner, champ of the east and the loser drops out of the wild card tie from losing game 163...

and a tiebreaker wildcard game between the padres/rockies for the wildcard winner.

Amazing if there are two tiebreaker games on monday!

oddly enough...if both the mets/phillies lose their games on sunday; and the rockies win/padres lose...there still will be two tiebreaker games.

so I guess a 4 way tie for the wildcard is sort of irrelevant as far as the mets/phillies go...since any outcome they produce doesn't affect the wildcard tiebreaker scenerios, just the nl east.

Still a 4 way tie for the wildcard is an interesting outcome after 162 games.

it seems that all scenerios imply the cubs play the there a possibility the cubs play anyone else? if so, please explain.

even though the dbacks have locked up the nl west and the best nl record (hence homefield advantage while they are in the nl playoffs), their site says their opponent in the nlds hasn't yet been I assume I'm missing some scenerio where they play someone other than the cubs.

AZ Phil:

After seeing Donnie Veal what do you project for him after what seemed to be a bit disappointing 2007 season?

Question-- if AZ wraps up the NL West, and AZ and the Cubs are scheduled to play in the first round, would MLB delay our series if there are a bunch of tiebreakers to be played among PHI, NYM and SD?

rockies win 11-1; should be a fun sunday...the brewers/padres game starts an hour ahead of the rockies/dbacks. I think the code of baseball honor means the dbacks can't sluffing off (unless, until the padres win).

also I heard on the rockies tv broadcast something about a wilder scenerio that could happen where the rockies might have a choice of different tiebreaker games...something about one or two games....but I had no clue what they meant.


The loser of the Mets/Phillies tiebreaker would still be eligible for the wildcard tiebreaker if the Mets/Phillies were tied for the wildcard after 162 games. They don't count a loss in game 163 against them.

I can't explain it, and anyone else who can is probably still drunk or hungover right now, but here's an SI rundown of the tiebreaker scenarios.

O. Julius: much thanks...that explains what I heard from the Rockies TV commentators as well as answers my above question in the 4 way wildcard tie scenerio.
Four teams with same record

In the event four teams finish with the same record, New York and Philadelphia would play the NL East tiebreaker Monday; the loser would play a three-team, two-day, wild-card tiebreaker with Colorado and San Diego on Tuesday and Wednesday. In that scenario, the team with the best head-to-head record among the three teams in the wild-card tiebreaker would get the choice of having a bye on Tuesday or playing both games at home.

Why dont they just have SD and COL play a Wild Card Semi final on Mon in that Scenerio and have that winner play the loser of the NL East game on Tue?

the 4 team wildcard scenerio also explains why the dbacks aren't the only possible cub opponent...

if the wild card comes out of the nl east, the cubs would play the nl east division winner...since the dbacks with the best record play the wildcard team (unless it's from their own division)

but 433's question about the possibility of a thursday start to the playoff is sort of answered... if there is a tiebreaker on wednesday, the cubs couldn't start since their opponent would depend on if the wildcard was from the east or west (AZ or the NL East champ)


City of Chicago having a Cubs rally at the Dailey center on monday.

the key is padres brewers game if padres win
there the wild card , cubs face d-backs,
if brewers win wow things are interseting

i can not believe padres are still gonna sit peavy

and let tomko pitch i can see brewers jumping

all over him.

clinch berth on sunday , or save peavy for
one game playoff.

bud black your in a no win situation

also if cubs playoff start on wednesday
i can see a 3 oclock game (middle game on tbs)
for wednesday, thursday would be the last
game a 9 ish start. of course if we face d-backs

The 3-day rest thing didn't work for Peavy already once this season I believe. Best to hold him back for a true must-win game on his full rest.

A few years back the 163rd would have counted as a loss and the team would have been eliminated from awild card tiebreaker. Feeling that unjustly punished a team for tying in their division they changed the rule and rightfully so.

Most recent tiebreak scenarios. 4-team tie would rule.

The Mets and Phillies would play in Philly on Monday to crown the East champ.

• The loser would then enter a three-game mini-tournament for which the Rockies, based on head-to-head records during the regular season, would have the option of needing to win twice at home or once on the road to advance.

• If the Rockies choose to stay home, their opponent would be determined by the wishes of the team with the second-best combined head-to-head record; it'd be the Phillies if they're involved, but the Padres if the Mets drop into the three-way. That team could choose to play at the Rockies on Tuesday, but it's more likely that it would opt for a single game and travel to play the winner of Tuesday's game on Wednesday.

• If the Rockies opt for the one road game, Tuesday's game would feature New York at San Diego, or San Diego at Philly, with the winner hosting Colorado on Wednesday.

I just hope that things lineup and we see the crazy 4 way tie scenarios...something tells me that its just too good to be true and it will work out in the simplest fashion with the padres and the mets/phillies both wrapping things up.

Thanks AZ Phil!

What are your thoughts on Vitters? I think this is the first time I've seen you list him with an XBH which is nice to see.

Thanks, AZ Phil. Four questions for you: how long does the Instructional League play? Does the schedule overlap with the Fall League? Is attendance free? And do they fry Snickers bars there like they do at the Peoria spring training games?

The tie-breaker scenarios are interesting. What's a bit worrisome is that the Wild Card team may not be decided until Wednesday (if there's a four-way tie), and that directly impacts which team the Cubs will play. I'd prefer that we know who we're playing sooner rather than later...I don't much care about the others except for the fact that I don't want to be within 100 miles of the Phillies or Mets right now.

Playoff Odds report still gives edge to Padres, 75% chance of Wild Card, which means we face Diamondbacks. But there is a nontrivial chance of a tie.

DC Tom — September 30, 2007 @ 8:01 am
Thanks, AZ Phil. Four questions for you: how long does the Instructional League play? Does the schedule overlap with the Fall League? Is attendance free? And do they fry Snickers bars there like they do at the Peoria spring training games?


DC TOM: The AZ Instructional League runs though October 13th, and the AFL begins play on October 9th, so there is a slight overlap.

The Instructional League games are free, but tickets for individual AFL games cost around $5.

There are no concessions available at Instructional League games, but there is one concession stand (and one restroom) open at HoHoKam Park for the Mesa Solar Sox AFL games, although (as I remember) the only stuff they sell is beer, soft drinks, popcorn, and hot dogs. I don't know what type of food is sold at Peoria, but the AFL concession operation is very limited compared to Spring Training.

Also, there is a PA announcer and scorecards (with rosters) available at the AFL games, but not at Instructs.

Navin — September 30, 2007 @ 2:04 am
Thanks AZ Phil!

What are your thoughts on Vitters? I think this is the first time I’ve seen you list him with an XBH which is nice to see.


NAVIN: When I saw Vitters play for the AZL Cubs in August, his bat speed was sluggish and he looked rusty. Now his bat speed has improved and he is starting to drive the ball. He had two line-drive hits yesterday (a single and a double) and also flied out to the warning track in LF in another one of his ABs.

cubster — September 29, 2007 @ 9:03 pm
AZ Phil:

After seeing Donnie Veal what do you project for him after what seemed to be a bit disappointing 2007 season?


CUBSTER: Donnie Veal is a very talented young pitcher, but I believe he throws too many pitches-per-inning to be a starter. The 1-2-3 seven-pitch inning he threw yesterday is the exception rather than the norm. His 18-pitch second inning is more typical.

I would project Veal as a future late-inning reliever (set-up man or closer) rather than a starter, because "five-inning pitchers" aren't particular valuable in the starting rotation.

Likewise for Mark Pawelek. If he makes it, I believe it will be as a reliever, not as a starter. Pitching most every day out of the bullpen would help keep Pawelek's fragile mechanics (which fluctuate wildly) under control.

Playoff excitement and everything else aside, I'm really sad today is the end of the season. I don't like winter, football, basketball, the offseason, etc. This cubbie bear would rather just go into hibernation.

AZ Phil: Carlos Zambrano throws too many pitches to be a starter, too. *rollseyes*

AZ: From your always-interesting writings, you are having us believe that the future closer/set-up guys to bona fide future starters are like 10:1 !

so - who ARE the future starters when these 4-yr. deals start to age?

433:wgn radio just confirmed that the Cubs playoff series would start on thursday if the 4 team wildcard scenerio plays out with it's conclusion on wednesday.

The E-Man — September 30, 2007 @ 10:01 am
AZ: From your always-interesting writings, you are having us believe that the future closer/set-up guys to bona fide future starters are like 10:1 !

so - who ARE the future starters when these 4-yr. deals start to age?


E-MAN: If the Cubs want to go strictly in-house for rotation starters (Marquis is a FA after 2009 and Lilly after 2010), I believe the five most-likely starter-candidates who are closest to being ready right now are Kevin Hart (2008), Sean Gallagher (2008), Mark Holliman (2009), Jeff Samardzija (2010), and Mitch Atkins (2010). There are a few more rotation candidates further down the pipeline, including Robert Hernandez, Chris Huseby, James Russell, Alberto Cabrera, Larry Suarez, Ryan Acosta, and Oswaldo Martinez (presuming they can stay healthy), but I doubt that any of them will surface in Chicago before 2011.

Ryno — September 30, 2007 @ 9:28 am
AZ Phil: Carlos Zambrano throws too many pitches to be a starter, too. *rollseyes*


RYNO: Do you actually consider Carlos Zambrano to be a typical starting pitcher? I don't. He can throw 120-130 pitches and still be effective at pitch #125. I haven't seen Veal do that. But if it gets to where Veal can throw 120-125 pitches on a regular basis with no ill effects, then Veal could indeed be an effective six or seven inning starting pitcher.

Recent comments

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  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.

  • Dallas Beeler, Corey Black, David Garner, Pierce Johnson, Steve Perakslis, James Pugliese, Duane Underwood Jr, and Rob Zastryzny threw early-morning bullpen side-sessions at Riverview yesterday.  

    Underwood threw last, and received specific one-on-one instruction from pitching coach Mike Mason. 

  • HAGSAG: There are only five advanced instructs squads left, and presently the only "co-op" team operating is the Angels/Cubs.

    The league was originally established as a "parallel" league to the AFL (a sort of "junior AFL"), for players too advanced for traditional ("basic") instructs but who were unable to get placed on AFL rosters due to AFL player-limits.

  • He is but I would think it'd be better to start out with offense and then bring in Jackson and LaStella once they have a lead. Stella has very good PH #s too.