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.

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  • For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.

    [Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]

    Charlie 30 min 50 sec ago view
  • tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.

    crunch 38 min 8 sec ago view
  • 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.

    Tito 3 hours 2 min ago view
  • 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.

    VirginiaPhil 3 hours 6 min ago view
  • 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.

    billybucks 3 hours 11 min ago view
  • 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.

    Tito 3 hours 14 min ago view
  • 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.

    VirginiaPhil 3 hours 28 min ago view
  • 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.

    VirginiaPhil 3 hours 31 min ago view
  • 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.

    Arizona Phil 3 hours 37 min ago view
  • Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?

    Hagsag 7 hours 21 min ago view
  • It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.

    Still impressive.

    John Beasley 7 hours 23 min ago view
  • 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.

    billybucks 14 hours 18 min ago view
  • 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.

    billybucks 14 hours 22 min ago view
  • 101 wins...most since 1910 (104).

    neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.

    crunch 14 hours 38 min ago view
  • 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?

    billybucks 14 hours 40 min ago view
  • Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump

    jacos 14 hours 44 min ago view