Cubs Use Long Ball to Reach the High Life
Nelson Perez smashed a gargantuan three-run homer high over the RF fence with no outs in the bottom of the 4th and John Contreras followed with a two-run shot over the LF fence and onto 8th Street later that same inning, giving the EXST Cubs all the runs they needed en route to an 8-4 kreusening of the EXST Brewers this morning at Fitch Park Field #3. The win was dedicated to the Chicago Cubs, who dropped two out of three to the Milwaukee Brewers this week at Wrigley Field
RHPs Billy Petrick (on the AAA Iowa DL with shoulder weakness) and Grant Johnson (on the AA Tennessee DL with a sprained elbow ligament) continued their rehab, each throwing one inning of shutout ball in today's game. Both appear to be fairly close to returning to their respective clubs.
The other pitchers who had outings today came back with mixed reults.
19-year old Dominican RHP Dionis Nunez gave up two runs on four hits before getting yanked out of the game mid-inning, and then he got chewed-out by one of the coaches on the bench before being allowed to go to the clubhouse. Not a good day for Dionis.
But 17-year old Dominican LHP Jeffry Antigua threw the ball very well again today while racking up four strikeouts in two innings of work, and 18-year old Dominican RHP Rogelio Carmona dropped some high octane yeast on Brewers hitters over his two innings.
And RHP Kevin Kreier (who has pitched sparingly this Spring) threw the ball as well as I've ever seen him throw, throwing strikes and keeping the Brewers hitters off-balance with a nice assortment of pitches. Kreier was a 20th round pick of the Cubs in the 2006 June draft out of Foothill HS in Henderson, NV, but he had a horrible pro debut in 2007, going 0-1 with an 11+ ERA for the AZL Cubs (Mesa).
In addition to the N. Perez and Contreras long-balls, Carlos Perez had a nice day, going 3-4 (all singles) with two RBI at the plate, while throwing out three of the six base-runners who tried to steal against him. C. Perez, a 20-year old catcher from Venezuela with three years of pro experience (one in the DSL and two in the AZL), is a definite prospect. He would probably be the #1 catcher at Peoria right now if Josh Donaldson wasn't in his way.
In EXST Cubs roster news, RHP Todd Blackford (2007 TJ surgery) has completed his rehab and has been assigned to Peoria, following RHP Billy Muldowney who was moved up to Peoria from EXST earlier this last week. (Some of you may remember Blackford as one of the two pitchers acquired by the Cubs from Atlanta in the Todd Hollandswoth deal a couple or three years ago).
In addition, RHPs Francisco Acosta and Jose Severino were sent home to the Dominican Republic after being involved in an off-the-field fight (with each other), and RHP Scott Taylor (at Fitch Park while serving a 50-game prohibited substance suspension) was sent home after violating a team rule. Acosta and Severino will likely pitch for one of the two DSL Cubs teams (although hopefully not both on the same one!), while Taylor's future is less clear, although I can say almost absolutely, positively for sure that Taylor will NOT be pitching in the Dominican Summer League .
On the injury front, Iowa 1B Micah Hoffpauir (on the DL with an oblique strain suffered just prior to Openng Day) and Tennessee 1B Matt Craig (on the DL with a leg injury) are both at Fitch Park. Hoff-POWER! is still in the early stages of rehab and is not yet swinging a bat (at least he's not taking BP), and Craig is limping around Fitch Park in shorts and flip-flops, so I wouldn't expect to see him getting into any game action for a while, either.
Both 2B Jeffrey Rea (strained quad) and LF Brandon Guyer (fractured elbow) are taking BP, but neither are playing in EXST games at this time Rea (at EXST rehabbing a sore arm) was all set to go to Peoria last week before straining a quad while running the bases the day before he was scheduled to depart, so he is probably on suicide watch right now.
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only)
1a. Cesar Salazar, DH #1: 1-2 (R, HBP)
1b. Roberto Sabates, PH: 0-1
2. Gian Guzman, 2B-SS: 1-3 (2 R, BB, SB, K)
3. Carlos Perez, C: 3-4 (2 RBI, R)
4. Nelson Perez, RF: 1-4 (HR, 3 RBI, R, K)
5. Luis Bautista, 1B: 0-3 (R, HBP)
6. Kevin Soto, CF: 0-3 (R, BB, 2 K)
7a. Luke Sommer, LF: 0-3 (K)
7b. Andres Quezada, LF: 0-1
8. John Contreras, 3B: 1-2 (HR, 2 RBI, R, 2 BB, K)
9. Junior Lake, DH #2: 2-3 (3B, RBI, BB)
10a. George Matheus, SS: 1-2
10b. Starlin Castro, 2B: 0-2 (K)
1. Billy Petrick - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP, 1 GIDP
2. Grant Johnson - 1.0 IP, 0 H. 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K
3. Jeffry Antigua - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K
4. Dionis Nunez - 1.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HR
5. Rogelio Carmona - 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K
6. Kevin Kreier - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K
Carlos Perez: 3-6 CS
WEATHER: Hot & sunny, and not quite as breezy as it was the last couple of days.
ATTENDANCE: 17, including 14 adults, two children (both appeared to be pre-schoolers), and one dog. There also was a curious absence of the usual coterie of pigeons, which remains unexplained at this time.
Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.
My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.
Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.
Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.
How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?
Call me lost.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.
O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already.
I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.
I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.
Enjoyable read on David Ross.
Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.
With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined).
BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.
If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).
As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).