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.
2nd in defensive WAR, NL.
6th in NL in RBI
Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.
Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.