Yes, We Have No Banana Break (Today)
As many of you know by now, Thursday is usually Camp Day at Cubs Extended Spring Training.
And so it was in fact today, as the EXST Cubs first had some fielding drills & took BP on Fitch Park Fields 1, 2, and 4, followed by a three-inning intrasquad game on Field #3 (and with no Banana Break in between, either!).
As is often the case in the somewhat more-informal EXST intrasquad games at Fitch Park, the pitchers throw for one squad or the other, but the position players rotate from the field to the bench each inning or half-inning (whatever), without regard to teams (squads) or batting order.
Also, innings are sometimes terminated early if a pitcher reaches his pitch limit for that inning prior to three outs being recorded, and innings are sometimes extended if a pitcher gets three outs without getting anywhere close to his pitch limit for that inning (and if pitch counts ever become any more important than they already are, this may be the way baseball will be played someday).
Here is today's abridged box score (such as it is):
Kevin Soto, CF: 2-2 (R, 2B, RBI)
Junior Lake, SS: 2-3
Carlos Perez, 1B: 0-1 (SF-RBI)
John Contreras, 3B: 0-2
Starlin Castro, 2B: 1-2
Cesar Salazar, LF: 1-2 (SB, K)
George Matheus, SS: 0-1 (K)
Dwayne Kemp, 2B: 0-1 (SH)
Nelson Perez, CF: 0-2 (K)
Bryan Jost, 1B: 0-1
Marwin Gonzalez, RF: 1-1 (R, SB)
Kyler Burke, RF: 2-2 (2B, 3B, RBI, R)
Drew Rundle, LF: 0-2
Jose Made, 2B-SS: 0-2 (K)
Alvaro Sosa, C: 0-1 (CS)
Robinson Chirinos, C: 0-1
Josh Vitters, 3B: PLAYED DEFENSE ONLY - NO AB...
(and Roberto Sabates was the bullpen catcher - NO AB)
Rogelio Carmona - 2.1 IP, 2 H. 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (1/4 GO/FO)
John Muller - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (1/1 GO/FO)
Miguel Sierra - 3.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 1 K (4/3 GO/FO)
1. Bryan Jost, E3, missed catch on ground ball that went under his glove.
2. John Contreras, E5, overthrow at 1st base on infield hit with no outs that allowed runner to score from 2nd base.
Robinson Chirinos: 1-2 CS
Alvaro Sosa: 0-1 CS
WEATHER: Hot with temperature in the 90's, calm winds, no clouds to be seen.
ATTENDANCE: 2 civilians, plus the University of Oklahoma Sooners baseball team that had a work-out on Field #1 during the Cubs intrasquad game, in preparation for their opening game in the NCAA Tempe Regional tomorrow afternoon at Packard Stadium versus Vanderbilt. (Arizona State plays Stony Brook in the other game)
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.