Hoff-POWER! Act Getting a Bit Old
Micah Hoffpauir hit a three-run homer and reached base three times, Mike Fontenot drove in four runs with a two-run homer and a two-run triple, and Sam Fuld smacked a solo home run, scored two runs, and threw a runner out at the plate, as the Cubs thrashed the Texas Rangers 10-4 at Surprise Stadium today.
Ted Lilly got the start, and worked two shutout innings, leaving unscathed thanks to a runner (Frank Catalanotto) being thrown out at the plate after a two out double by Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the bottom of the second.
The Cubs had taken the lead in the top of the frame, throwing up a seven spot on Rangers starter Scott Feldman.
Doug Deeds led off the Cubs second with a triple, and scored on an RBI single by Luis Rivas. So Taguchi then reached base on an error and Ryan Theriot singled to load the bases. After the runners advanced on an RBI ground out by Reed Johnson, Hoffpauir slammed a three-run blast, his second homer in three days. Geovany Soto singled with two outs, and then Fontenot followed with his two-run shot.
The Rangers came back with single runs off J. R. Mathes in the 3rd (a Ryan Theriot error followed by two singles) and 4th (a single, a double, and an RBI GO), before the Cubs took an 9-2 lead in the top of the 6th.
Reed Johnson reached base leading off the inning after being hit by a pitch, and pinch-runner Sam Fuld moved up to second on a two-out walk to Mark Johnson. Fontenot then followed with a two-run triple to plate Fuld and Johnson.
The Rangers scored two off Rocky Roquet in the 7th to narrow the Cub lead to 9-4, as Adam Melhuse smashed a one-out bases loaded double. But the potential third run was cut down at the plate.
Fuld led off the 8th for the Cubs with a solo HR, and Jake Fox followed with a double, but was left stranded when DH Jason Dubois struck out, Mark Johnson grounded out, and Bobby Scales struck out.
Cubs pitchers retired the last seven Rangers batters on three ground outs and four punch-outs, and Cubs pitchers racked up 12 strikeouts for the day. Andruw Jones struck out three times (not easy to do in a Spring Training game).
The Cubs return to Mesa tomorrow to play the White Sox.
BTW, I was not at today's game (Surprise is like half-way to California), so I was forced to follow the game via "live" box score.
I've been wracking my brain to work a "Room With a View" reference in there but I just haven't gotten it to work.
Bryant might be playing SS during an infield shift, no? Usually he is moved to 2B but it could happen.
I won't really be happy until I see Bryant at shortstop.
Yeah, Underwood impresses the internet scouts more than the opposing hitters. Blackburn and Williams have pitched well but they would be more interesting if they missed more bats.
Myrtle Beach has a couple of guys--Trevor Clifton and Jake Stinnett--worth keeping an eye on.
South Bend has the best record in the Midwest League but it's more about their bats than their starting pitching.
Thanks Steve, I always forget about that.
Maddon spins the wheel-o-lineups and Bryant is playing 1B.
The line-ups, by the way, appear in the Twitter box on the left and usually very soon after they are made available.
Looks like no Heyward or Rizzo in the lineup today.
HAGSAG: Kevonte Mitchell has shown some improvement in 2016. He takes a lot of walks, shows occasional power, and he's an athletic defender capable of making the big play in the OF.
However, he strikes out way too much, he doesn't always take the most-direct-route to get to balls hit into the air, and he sometimes runs himself into outs on the bases. He is still very raw.
E-MAN: I don't think Dallas Beeler has a long-term future with the Cubs, but (when healthy) he has gotten the call over the past couple of years as the "26th man" when the Cubs needed an extra starter in a doubleheader.
PHIL: Thanks for the wrap. A 2010 early-ish round Hendry draft pick, why do you surmise the new management team just doesn't cut bait on Beeler? Not shown that much as a starter. Does he have a power arm when right? Is he another Schlitter? Or, is he rosyer filler while the org waits out the lower-level arms to surpass him?
Ryan Kellogg is still a fringy prospect despite being very old for low-A. He's putting up very good numbers no matter who he's facihg.
Great article on Yosh and Nobe. Thanks for including it Trans.
Phil, it looks like Kevonte Mitchell has made some progress this Spring. Your thoughts please, thanks.
so far ryan williams (AAA) is the only system prospect on the "could be ready soon" horizon doing well...that said, he's not very exciting and he's assumed to be an end-rotation talent at best.
paul blackburn is getting great early returns in AA, but he's getting surprisingly low K numbers doing it. he throws lot of low/sinking stuff with good control...also assumed to be an end-rotation guy, but he's got room to be better, especially given his control as base to build on.
Speaking of pitching -- another ugly outing for Underwood at AA. Through 6 starts: 5.19 ERA, WHIP 1.69. Yikes!
Man, do we need starting pitching depth. Our best hopes are still hanging with AZ Phil in Arizona. Very scary.