EXST Cubs Fall to Angels at Fitch Park
The EXST Angels scored three runs in the top of the 6th to break a 1-1 tie, and went on to defeat the EXST Cubs 4-2 at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.
RHP Robert Hernandez got the start for the Cubs and worked four innings, allowing only one unearned run on one hit, while walking one and striking out three. Hernandez completed his 50 game suspension this past Sunday, and so he can be assigned back to Peoria at any time.
Ex-OF (now LHP) Luke Sommer (2007 30th round pick out of the University of San Francisco) got into his first professional game action as a pitcher today, working one shutout inning (one K). As I've mentioned before, Sommer was a P-OF in high school, so for him it's just a matter of getting acclimated back to pitching. He has a nice curve & sinker combo, and he also has very good command of his pitches.
LHP Michael Bunton (2007 26th round pick out of the College of Charleston) got into his first game action of 2008 after being sidelined for the last couple of months with a sore shoulder (no surgery, just rest). The left-hander worked one shutout inning, issuing a lead-off walk, followed by a 4-6-3 GIDP and a strikeout. He looked OK, considering his long lay-off.
On offense, the Cubs missed two golden scoring opportunities, one in the 2nd inning when Kyler Burke was picked off 3rd base with one out, and another in the bottom of the 5th when Drew Rundle struck out with a runner on 3rd and one out (Rundle also struck out with a runner on 3rd and no outs in the 8th, but the runner eventually scored on an error). And Nelson Perez was called out on strikes three times.
Prior to the game, RHPs Chris Huseby and Jake Muyco pitched a two-inning simulated game on Field #2. Muyco looked fine, but Huseby continues to struggle with his control, throwing only six of his 30 pitches for strikes (and some of the balls missed the strike zone by three feet). New catcher (ex-infielder) Robinson Chirinos got quite a work-out! Huseby is scheduled to pitch in an EXST game on Saturday after a bullpen side session on Thursday.
In EXST news, 2B-SS Starlin Castro has returned to action after missing several days with a finger injury, 2B Jeffrey Rea (quad) is taking BP but can't run or play defense, and 3B Josh Vitters (tendinitis in his hand) is only able to take infield practice right now (no BP).
Also, Angel Guzman, Mark Pawelek, John Muller, and Rogelio Carmona threw a four-inning simulated game yesterday (Memorial Day) on Fitch Park Field #2, as the Phoenix area was still drying out from the weekend rain that caused Cubs EXST games to be canceled on Friday and Saturday. Guzman threw one inning (20 pitches), and Pawelek went four innings (60 pitches).
A "simulated game" is where a pitcher throws a fixed number of pitches (usually 15-20) in a given "inning," and the hitter remains at the plate until he either strikes out, walks, or puts the ball in play. Ideally, at least two hitters participate (preferably one left-handed hitter and one right-handed hitter), but there are almost always four to six hitters involved (and all of them hit for both "teams").
There are no hits or runs, and no baserunners (unless the coaches want the pitcher to pitch with men on base). There is a catcher, but infielders and outfielders are not necessary, except a couple or three off-duty pitchers to shag fly balls and return the balls back to the infield. The inning is terminated as soon as the pitcher reaches his pre-planned pitch limit for that inning.
If a pitcher is to throw more than one inning (as Pawelek did yesterday), he returns to the bench while the other pitcher throws his inning, just as he would in a "real" game. And the pitcher does NOT throw from behind a portable screen, as he might do in a "live" BP session.
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Cesar Salazar, LF: 0-4 (K)
2a. Alvaro Sosa, DH #1: 0-3 (K)
2b. Jose Made, PH: 0-1
3. Robinson Chirinos, DH #2: 1-4
4. Nelson Perez, CF: 1-4 (3 K)
5. Carlos Perez, C: 2-4 (R)
6. Kyler Burke, RF: 1-2 (2B, BB, K, PO)
7. Junior Lake, 3B: 1-2 (R, 3B, BB)
8. Drew Rundle, 1B: 0-2 (RBI-SF, 2 K)
9. George Matheus, SS: 0-3 (RBI)
10a. Starlin Castro, 2B: 0-2 (2 K)
10b. Dwayne Kemp, 2B: 0-1 (K)
1. Robert Hernandez - 4.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 1 GIDP (6/3 GO/FO)
2. Luke Sommer - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (2/0 GO/FO)
3. Carlos Rojas - 1.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP (0/2 GO/FO)
4. Michael Bunton - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP
5. Israel Camacaro - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (3/0 GO/FO)
Robert Hernandez, E-1, overthrew 1st baseman on sac bunt attempt, allowing runner to score from 2nd base
WEATHER: Clear skies, temperature in the 80's, light breeze from the south.
I love winning! It's, like, better than losing?
You lollygag the ball around the infield. You lollygag your way down to first. You lollygag in and out of the dugout. You know what that makes you? Larry!
Its too bad Warren didnt get to pitch. He would have saved us.
Whoa -- that Contreras play in the 8th looked too much like a "Schwarber" -- nearly crashed into the wall going full speed, with Heyward doing the same.
New rule: if you are a catcher playing LF, and find yourself sprinting after a fly ball in the gap -- stop, let the CF go after it and get ready to play it off the wall.
Cubs have no spark and no life. Pretty boring to watch these days.
I thought trips to Miami were supposed to be fun. This one sucked.
The bottom half of the bullpen now turns close games into blowout losses. Not good.
Once Fowler went to the DL, the team went into the tank. Wonder if he'll get any love this offseason? Probably not.
6IP, 2ER. The last one scored because of another botched Zobrist DP turn.
And now, a bad throw by KB. Sloppy.
What is it with Hammel always starting well and sucking after a couple months?
Ahhh...sad. Lke a few of you here, I saw him play during the '69-'71 seasons. He was the "hot Zobrist" for the club in August/September of '69 while everyone else was fizzling out...
I predict: "They will play hard and if they give the same effort every day, they'll win a lot of games."
OK, boys -- find a way to win today.
There's some BA is missing too, here's all signing bonus BA doesn't have some:
-6 Hockin $241,000 (slot price), 7 Cruz $75,000 (saved $110,00), 8 Ridlings $120,000 (saved $53,800), 9 Robinson $30,000 (saved $132,300), so far the Cubs have saved an extra $297,100
Zobrist (2B), Hayward (CF), Bryant (3B), Rizzo, Contreras (LF), Montero, Russell, Coghlan (RF), Hammel
Also -- despite losing 6 of their last 10, the Cubs picked up a game on both STL and PIT during that period. Weird, given that they swept PIT and were swept by STL.
Also, I'd like to know if there are numbers to back up my suspicion that there are a lot more fast starts than late June romps. This seems like a time where everybody not named Willson Contreras is looking a little tired and/or banged up a bit.
For once, the Cubs got off to a fast start. Seems like I've been waiting for that for 50 years.Everybody is really gunning for this team, too. It's their playoffs.