A's Extenze Rally to Defeat Cubs at Fitch Park
Marcus Hatley retired the first 11 men he faced, Mark Pawelek threw 2.1 innings of shutout ball, and Dwayne Kemp belted his team-leading third home run, but the EXST A's rallied to defeat the EXST Cubs 7-5 in Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in Mesa.
The Cubs got on the scoreboard right away in the bottom of the first, as Cesar Salazar and Gian Guzman hit back-to-back singles, putting the Cubs in business with runners at 1st and 3rd and nobody out. Matt Craig followed with an F-8 sac fly to score Salazar.
Guzman then stole two bases (second and third), before scoring on a one-out RBI ground out. The Cubs added a third run in the bottom of the 3rd on a lead-off solo HR by Kemp that was hit over the LF fence and onto 8th Street. (For a guy who is maybe 5'6, Kemp is built like a Muscle Beach body builder).
Meanwhile, Hatley was mowing down the A's, striking out five and pitching perfect baseball into the 4th inning. But with two outs and nobody on base, the A's strung together two singles and a two-run triple (a line drive that was misplayed by Cesar Salazar, who is a butcher in CF, BTW) to get to within one run at 3-2.
The Cubs added another run in the 5th on a lead-off double off the LF fence by Junior Lake, a sac bunt, and a wild pitch that plated Lake with the Cubs 4th run of the day.
But RHP Jon Mueller (who has been rehabbing at Fitch Park since the start of minor league camp in March) surrenderd two hard-hit doubles and three-run HR (the fourth HR he has allowed in his last four outings) in the top of the 7th, as the A's took a 5-4 lead. (Pitching like has has been lately, Mule might not ever get out of Fitch Park!).
The Cubs came back in the bottom of the 8th to tie the game at 5, as Guyer worked a lead-off walk, advanced to 2nd on a sac bunt, and scored on a two-out RBI single lined to left by Salazar.
But then the A's scored two in the 9th off reliever Rogelio Carmona, capitalizing on a single, a FC sac bunt, two walks, and a sac fly.
The Cubs then went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 9th.
In EXST Cubs roster news, Jeffrey Rea (quad) and Matt Craig (bruised thigh) played in today's EXST game, both at the plate and in the field (Rea at 2B and Craig at 3B). Then Craig left to rejoin AA Tennessee after the game (actually he left amidst the usual hugs & kisses after the 6th inning).
Rea will apparently be remaining on his rehab assignment at Fitch Park a while longer.
And RHP Kevin Kreier (who has thrown the ball very well in his last three outings) has been promoted to Peoria, but based on the way they pitched today and in their recent outings, Marcus Hatley and Mark Pawelek could be following Kreier to Peoria very soon. While Kreier has looked good lately, Hatley and Pawelek have been every bit as good, if not better.
Here is today's EXST Cubs abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Cesar Salazar, CF: 2-4 (RBI, R)
2. Gian Guzman, SS-3B: 1-3 (R, BB, K, 2 SB)
3a. Matt Craig, 3B: 0-1 (RBI, SF, BB, K, SB)
3b. George Matheus, SS: 0-1
4a. Nelson Perez, RF: 0-1 (RBI, BB)
4b. Kevin Soto, RF: 1-2 (SB)
5. Carlos Perez, 1B: 0-3 (BB)
6. Jeffrey Rea, 2B: 0-4 (2 K)
7. Junior Lake, DH #1: 1-3 (2B, R, 2 K)
8. Brandon Guyer, DH #2: 0-1 (R, BB, SH, K)
9. Dwayne Kemp, LF: 1-2 (HR, RBI, R, SH, K)
10. Roberto Sabates, C: 0-3 (K)
1. Marcus Hatley - 3.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 5 K (2/4 GO/FO)
2. Mark Pawelek - 2.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K (1/2 GO/FO)
3. Jon Mueller - 2.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR (1/3 GO/FO)
4. Rogelio Carmona - 0.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 K
5. John Muller - 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K
Gian Guzman, E-5 missed catch
Roberto Sabates - 0-1 CS
WEATHER: Game-time temperature around 80, mostly cloudy, and far less breezy than it was yesterday
Theo inks five year extension
PC tonite at PNC
Not as a major factor, but could be a tie-breaker. But, yeah, on performance and experience, it's Coghlan.
Arrieta’s 2.85 ERA would be good enough to lead 26 other teams. He's 3rd on #Cubs behind Hendricks (1.99) and Lester (2.28)
Meanwhile on the SouthSide
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.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
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.