Marshall Works Into 5th As Cubs Drop Mariners
Sam Fuld and Andres Blanco slammed home runs and Sean Marshall took a shutout into the 5th inning, as a Cubs "split squad" drubbed a Seattle Mariners "split squad" 8-1 in front of 10,910 happy fans at sunny Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park this afternoon in Mesa
The Cubs got off to a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st inning versus Mariners RHP Gaby Hernandez. Sam Fuld (who was on base three times today) walked with one out and stole second, and then after Derrek Lee lined out to LF, Aramis Ramirez walked. Mike Fontenot then rapped a single through the middle of the infield to score Fuld from second base and send Ramirez to third, and then A-Ram scored on a two-out wild pitch.
Sam Fuld homered over the RF fence into the Cubs bullpen leading off the bottom of the third to make it 3-0, and then Andres Blanco virtually duplicated Fuld's poke, sending another solo dinger into the Cubs bullpen with two outs in the bottom of the 4th. (Both home runs were hit off Gaby Hernandez).
Sean Marshall got the start for the Cubs and worked into the 5th, allowing one unearned run on three hits and a walk, along with three strikeouts in 4.1 IP (56 pitches - 38 strikes, 5/4 GO/FO).
Marshall had little trouble with the Mariners through the first four inning, retiring ten of the first twelve men he faced.
With the Cubs leading 4-0, Marshall started the 5th, allowing a lead-off single to Prentice Redman. The next batter tried to bunt and lined the ball right at Marshall, who made a nice play coming off the mound to nab the ball. But then the lefty tried to do too much, as he wheeled blindly toward first and whipped the ball right at the bag to try and double Redman off. Unfortunately, second-baseman Mike Fontenot hadn't gotten there yet, so the ball bounced past first-base and into the stands, as the runner was awarded third base on the overthrow.
That was it for Marshall, as RHP Luis Vizcaino (who had been warming up in the bullpen since the start of the inning) came into the game, with a runner at third and only one out. The next batter (Oswaldo Navarro) hit a sharp bouncer back at Vizcaino, but the ball bounced off the pitcher's glove for an RBI infield hit, as Redman scored from third. Vizcaino then retired the next two hitters on a F-7 and an infield pop up to end the inning (17 pitches - 10 strikes).
Mike Stanton worked a quick 6th (10 pitches - seven strikes), and while he did not allow a run, he didn't fool anybody, either, allowing two hard hit singles to the outfield (one by a left-handed hitter) to go along with two ground outs and an F-7.
The Cubs posted another single run in the bottom of the 6th off Mariners reliever Mark Lowe, as James Adduci (up from Minor League Camp for the day) drew a lead-off walk, and advanced to second and third on consecutive wild pitches. Then Mike Fontenot walked, before Reed Johnson chopped a single over the third-baseman's head to drive in Adduci with the Cubs 5th run.
Kevin Hart pitched the 7th for the Cubs, and had his best outing of the Spring, striking out the side on 17 pitches (14 strikes).
LHP Jason Waddell worked the 8th, and had mixed results (17 pitches - 11 strikes), allowing two singles to the outfield (one of which was a rope to RF by lefty-swinging Russell Branyan), but also striking out a right-handed hitter for the first out of the inning and then getting out of trouble with an inning-ending 5-3 DP.
The Cubs put the game away in the bottom of the 8th, scoring three runs off Mariners reliever Tyler Walker. James Adduci and Nate Spears (another invitee from Minor League Camp) led off with infield singles (and Adduci showed good speed down the line while beating the throw on his dribbler), and Jason Dubois was hit by a pitch on the upper left arm to load the bases with no outs. Koyie Hill then smoked a line single to RF that was hit too hard to score more than one run, and after Darwin Barney and Esteban German struck out, Richie Robnett (who had been optioned to Iowa earlier in the day) hit a fly ball into short LF where the Seattle left-fielder and shortstop collided (nobody was hurt and no error was charged, though), allowing the ball to drop for a cheap double and giving the Cubs their final two runs of the day. .
Jose Ascanio continued his fine Spring, throwing a 1-2-3 9th (6-3 GO, F-7, and strikeout swinging) to finish off the game, but he actually got four outs in the inning, because Koyie Hill failed to catch a foul pop up behind home plate (although no error was charged).
Veteran IF-OF Esteban German (signed to a minor league contract this morning after getting released by Kansas City last week) made his Cubs debut today, entering in mid-game at 3rd base. He had two poor ABs, popping up weakly, and then striking out (flailing wildly at strike three on an outside pitch in the dirt) with one out and the bases loaded in his second PA. He also didn't make much of an effort to stop a bouncer hit to his left that ended up in LF. All in all, it was not an impressive debut for German.
While the Cubs were thumping the Mariners in Mesa, the other Cubs squad traveled to Tempe Diablo Stadium and lost to the Angels, 8-2
I was not at that game, but I can tell you that Cubs starter Chad Gaudin apparently got racked up pretty good, allowing six runs on five hits and four walks in just 1.2 IP, including a 2nd inning grand slam by Kendry Morales.
The Cubs got their two runs on a two-out two-run 4th inning RBI double by Bobby Scales, although Scales (playing 2B before later moving to 3B) also made two errors in the game.
I suspect the Cubs may try to trade Gaudin and his $2M 2009 salary before Opening Day, but they also could just release him (presuming he is signed to a non-guaranteed contract).
CHILDERS: Dylan Cease and Bryan Hudson are probably the Cubs top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80'sslider), but has trouble commanding his stuff.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17, and his fastbball sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!
given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.
i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.
Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?
He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.
My guess? Toronto.
PHIL: It seems as if Paniagua has always played 1B with the Cubs. At 6'2 and 180#, what is his frame like? String bean? Have you seen him bulk up? Where do you project him? Thanks.
Phil, what's your thoughts on which position players are going to Eugene and who is staying in AZL?
Ahhh...way to bring me down BB.
Still - a win tomorrow will be an acheivement regardless.
Don't mean to spoil your mood, but with tonight's win the are 3-5 on the trip with one to play.
While I'm bringing the room down -- Richard comes in to pitch the 9th with a 12-1 lead...and can't finish the game. Woof.
For some reason