Errors & Walks Doom Cubs in Maryvale
The Brewers took advantage of four errors and seven walks to defeat the Cubs 10-1 at Maryvale Baseball Complex Field #7 in AZ Instructional League action this afternoon in Phoenix.
While the main purpose of "Instructs" is to provide lots of coaches and instructors and a less-pressurized, more low-key environment that allows pitchers to work on a new pitch or on their secondary stuff and position players to try a new position, make adjustments as a hitter, or improve their baserunning, the fact is somedays the Cubs youngsters look better than they do on other days. And today was just not one of the good days.
18-year old Venezuelan RHP Larry Suarez got the start for the Cubs, and had an easy 1-2-3 1st inning with two strikeouts and a 3-1 ground out. But the big right-hander gave up three runs in the second on a lead-off first-pitch single, a walk (3-2 pitch just missed), and a line single to CF that was misplayed into a three-base error by Tony Campana, allowing all three runs to score (only one of the runs ended up being earned, however). Suarez actually looked OK, throwing an 88-91 MPH "heavy" two-seamer with an effective breaking ball and change.
RHP Tommy Mejia (2008 NDFA out of Dominican College in New York) followed and didn't even last one inning. In fact, the only two outs he got were baserunners caught stealing by catcher Carlos Perez. Otherwise Mejia had a very poor outing (four consecutive hits).
2008 11th round pick RHP Toby Matchulat (Wabash Valley CC) wasn't much better, allowing three runs (one earned) on two singles and a walk mixed together with his own throwing error on a pick-off attempt at 1st base and a costly two-out fielding error by SS Carlos Morales (the first of two errors by the lanky Dominican infielder).
RHPs John Muller and Brian Schlitter (the former a converted college SS and the latter acquired from the Phillies last month for LHP Scott Eyre) and Daytona LHP Dustin Sasser then combined to throw four scoreless innings of one-hit relief, before converted OF (now LHP) Luke Sommer gave up two runs in the bottom of the 9th on two doubles and a triple. (Even though the Brewers were victorious in 8-1/2 innings, the game was extended one additional half-inning to allow Sommer to get his scheduled one inning of work).
The Cubs scored their only run in the bottom of the 6th on a lead-off single by Carlos Perez, a one-out double to left center by Josh Harrison (2008 6th round pick out of the U. of Cincinnati), and an RBI sac fly to medium-deep RF by converted infielder (now catcher) Robinson Chirinos.
Starlin Castro had three singles and a stolen base.
Brandon Guyer (who hit a HR in each of the Cubs first two games) had the day off.
And still no sign of 3B Josh Vitters and OF Dylan Johnston.
Here is the abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Tony Campana, CF: 1-4 (K, CS)
2. Josh Harrison, LF: 2-4 (2 2B, SB, CS)
3. Robinson Chirinos, DH-C: 0-2 (SF-RBI, BB)
4. Jericho Jones, RF: 0-4 (K)
5. Michael Brenly, 1B: 0-2 (2 BB, K)
6. Jake Opitz, DH #2: 0-2 (2 BB)
7. Starlin Castro, 3B: 3-4 (SB)
8. Logan Watkins, 2B: 0-3 (BB)
9. Carlos Morales, SS: 0-3 (K)
10. Carlos Perez, C-DH: 1-3 (R)
1. Larry Suarez - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 2 K (2/2 GO/FO) - 33 pitches (17 strikes)
2. Tomy Mejia - 0.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 0 K - 23 pitches (13 strikes)
3. Toby Matchulat - 1.1 IP, 2 H, 3 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP (1/2 GO/FO) - 19 pitches (11 strikes)
4. John Muller - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K (1/1 GO/FO) - 24 pitches (11 strikes)
5. Brian Schlitter - 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K (0/1 GO/FO) - 31 pitches (19 strikes)
6. Dustin Sasser - 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (1/1 GO/FO) - 16 pitches (10 strikes)
7. Luke Sommer - 1.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 1 K (0/2 GO/FO) - 17 pitches (13 strikes)
1. Tony Campana, E-8, overran line drive single to CF allowing batter to run all the way around the bases and score (three-base error)
2. Toby Matchulat, E-1, overthrew pickoff attempt at 1st base, allowing runner to advance to 2nd base
3. Carlos Morales, E-6, fielding error with two outs allowed batter to reach base & runners to score from 2nd and 3rd
4. Carlos Morales, E-6, misplayed ground ball allowing batter to reach base
Carlos Perez: 2-3 CS
Robinson Chirinos: 1-1 CS
LF Josh Harrison, threw out batter-runner 7-4 trying to stretch a single into a double
WEATHER: 100+ again, occasionally breezy, but mainly just plain very hot
ATTENDANCE: 16 (mostly scouts)
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.