EXST Cubs Showcase Infield Defense at Fitch Park
With Cubs Roving Minor League Infield Instructor Bobby Dickerson at Fitch Park this past week to help the young infielders improve their defensive technique, the EXST Cubs apparently decided to give Bobby D. an appropriate going away present by playing stellar defense that included a sharp 5-4-3 triple play in the top of the 7th, en route to a 5-2 victory over the EXST Mariners at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning.
In addition, Iowa 1B Micah Hoffpauir (on the DL with a strained oblique since before PCL Opening Day) had such a great pre-game BP session hitting against Dickerson and Boise manager Tom Beyers on Field #1 that he was penciled into the starting lineup of the EXST game, and (hitting 3rd in both the 1st and 2nd innings) got two ABs, flying out 400 feet to the warning track in dead center in his first PA, and striking out on four pitches in his second AB. But he says he feels great and expects to be out of Fitch Park and on his way back to Des Moines to rejoin the I-CUBS ASAP.
2005 #1 draft pick LHP Mark Pawelek, who has struggled with his mechanics and control for much of the past three seasons, got the start today, and threw two innings. In his last outing he struck out the side in one inning of work, but he wasn't anywhere near as sharp today, showing the control lapses that have plagued him since 2006.
Pawelek worked two innings, throwing 28 pitches (but only 13 strikes). The Mariners didn't hit the ball hard off him (he gave up only one hit), but he had one four-pitch walk and he also hit a batter (HBPs seem to be one of his biggest problems). He benefitted from two outstanding throws by catcher Alvaro Sosa to gun-down potential base-stealers, one to end the 1st inning and the other to help Pawly get out of a jam in the 2nd. So while he didn't allow a run, he wasn't sharp, either.
RHP Marcus Hatley followed Pawelek to the hill, and had a mediocre outing, giving up a run on two hits before he got an out in his first inning of work, and then walking the bases loaded with two outs in his third inning.
But AA Tennessee RHP Jim Henderson (rehabbing at Fitch Park) came into the game in relief of Hatley, and got the third out, leaving the bases loaded.
LHP Arik Hempy pitched the final three innings for a rare "three-inning save," and he was helped by the 5-4-3 triple play after surrendering a solo HR, a walk, and a SH-FC to start the 7th inning. Hempy ended up retiring seven of the last eight men he faced.
Shortstop Starlin Castro had a big day in the field and at the plate, making a spectacular diving catch to his right with the bases loaded to end the 5th and an excellent stop & throw from the hole to start the 9th, while also clubbing a two-run HR over the LF fence in the bottom of the 7th.
LF Luke Sommer reached base all four times he batted, walking three times, and driving in a run with a 5th inning single before also scoring a run that same inning.
For the day, the EXST Cubs drew eight walks.
Here is today's abridged box score (EXST Cubs players only).
And remember... Hoffpauir was permitted to hit 3rd in both the 1st and 2nd innings...
1. Dwayne Kemp, 2B: 1-2 (R, BB, SH, K, CS)
2. Luke Sommer, LF: 1-1 (RBI, R, 3 BB)
3a. Micah Hoffpauir, DH #1: 0-1 (F-8 - advanced runners to 2nd & 3rd)
3b. Roberto Sabates, PH-C: 1-3 (2B, RBI)
4. Nelson Perez, CF: 0-4 (RBI, 2 K)
5. Carlos Perez, DH #2: 0-3 (HBP, K)
6. Bryan Jost, 1B: 0-2 (BB)
7. Junior Lake, 3B: 0-2 (BB, K)
8a. Micah Hoffpauir, DH #3: 0-1 (K)
9. Andres Quezada, RF: 0-2 (R, BB, 2 K)
10. Starlin Castro, SS: 1-2 (HR, 2 RBI, R, BB, CS)
11. Alvaro Sosa, C-DH: 1-3 (R, K)
1. Mark Pawelek - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP (3/0 GB/FB)
2. Marcus Hatley - 2.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 2 K, 2 WP (4/1 GB/FB)
3. Jim Henderson - 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K (2/2 GB/FB)
4. Arik Hempy - 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 1 GITP (4/4 GB/FB)
Alvaro Sosa 3-4 CS, but with one error (totally unnecessary attempted pick-off at 2B was thrown into CF)
WEATHER: High in the upper 80's with nary a cloud in the sky
ATTENDANCE: 9 (including the EXST Mariners bus driver)
BEE REPORT: AZ Phil noted another hive of Africanized (killer) bees located in a tree behind the home team bench at Field #3, so the ground crew put up warning tape around the area until an exterminator can respond to remove the hive.
Check out John Arguello at Cubs Den for great analysis & photos from Cubs AZ Instructs
soler + hammel for mike trout is pretty much a sure thing. *nods*
Not an inspired outing by Rondon. Seemingly got ahead of every hitter but had no swing and miss pitch today, slider had no bite.
Somebody give Soler some smelling salts - yeesh
And...now that runner scores on a single...
So where do you think Soler will be traded to this off season?
And right on cue he throws to third with no chance to get runner on 2nd so the batter takes 2nd easily. How long has he been playing baseball??
Man you cannot put Soler out there late in games for Playoffs. Yuch...
Such is the life of a fatted calf...
fowler with a triple in the 4th...he's a HR away from a "natural" cycle
...and contreras takes one off the hand and he's in obvious pain. sigh.
he's staying in the game, though he's wringing his hand out during breaks in the action. aside from that he seems to have no issue giving signs or tossing back to the pitcher.
...and he's batting in the cubs half of the following inning. sweet.
his collapse started on august 21st this season...so it's a slight improvement.
but wow, what a collapse since then...only 2 out of 7 can be considered good/decent.
I'm really going to enjoy watching Hammel watch the playoffs.
The always combustible Jason Hammel
That was fun.
"home field advantage through the playoffs?"
Except for the away games.