A's Not Laughing at Ha Trifecta
CF Jae-Hoon Ha had three hits, scored three runs, and made three circus catches in the outfield, leading the EXST Cubs to a 13-5 drubbing of the EXST A's at the Oakland A's Minor League Complex at Papago Park in Phoenix this morning.
The 18-year old Ha singled and scored in the 1st, 5th, and 7th, and made a sliding catch in left-center in the 3rd, a dip-glove knee-high running catch in right-center in the 5th, and a leaping over-the-shoulder catch at the centerfield fence that took away a two-run home run in the bottom of the 6th. (On the latter play, Ha received a 9.9 from all the judges except the one from North Korea, who inexplicably gave him a 2.5).
The top five hitters in the Cubs lineup reached base an amazing 18 times (combined) today, scoring 11 of the Cubs 13 runs. Besides Ha's offensive contributions, lead-off hitter Logan Watkins reached base four times on a HBP, two walks, and a single, and scored three runs, DH Matt Cerda reached base four times on a double, a single, and two walks, scored three runs, and knocked in three more, clean-up hitter John Contreras had three hits, drove in three, and scored a run, and Sean Hoorelbeke reached base all four times he batted on a walk, two singles, and a double, and he also scored a run.
23-year old Dominican RHP Andres Quezada (converted from outfielder to pitcher a year ago) got the start for the Cubs and worked three solid innings, allowing just one run on three hits, while striking out two. I suspect Quezada could get a promotion to Peoria at any time.
And 20-year old Venezuelan RHP Robert Hernandez (at EXST rehabbing from a sprained ankle suffered the last week of Minor League Camp) worked two innings, but pitched a lot better than his line might otherwise indicate. Hernandez--pitching in front of friends and family from Venezuela--was the victim of shoddy Cubs defense in the bottom of the 5th, including two high pop ups that fell in the "Bermuda Triangle" between SS-LF-3B that SS George Matheus decided he just HAD to try to catch (even though an outfielder probably would have had an easier play) before losing both in the sun,,and a fielding miscue at 3B by the usually sure-handed Jose Made. (Made had an especially poor game, making two errors at 3B, and going 0-4 at the plate, including a strikeout and a GIDP).
Although he allowed two easy pop ups to fall for hits, Matheus did make one outstanding defensive play earlier in the game, ending the bottom of the 1st inning with a spectacular diving catch of a line drive headed toward CF, and then turning it into a 6-3 DP, saving Quezada a run.
18-year old RHP Adam Spencer (one of three teenaged Australian recruits at Cubs EXST) had a roller-coaster ride in the bottom of the 6th, allowing one run on a double and an RBI single, but (as Jack Brickhouse used to say) "It sure could have been worse!" Spencer was the beneficiary of the Ha HR take-away catch, plus another fine play, this one a running over-the-shoulder catch in right-field foul territory by the sometimes defensively-challenged 1B Sean Hoorelbeke.
RHPs Carlos Rojas and Manolin DeLeon each threw one inning, and while Rojas struggled to get through the 8th and allowed two runs (a walk, then a triple, and then an F-8 sac fly), EXST Cubs closer DeLeon had an easy 1-2-3 bottom of the 9th. Like Quezada, DeLeon could be the next pitcher to leave Fitch Park for Peoria (or Daytona).
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only). Note that Jose Guevara was assigned as the bullpen catcher, but he did get an AB in the top of the 8th as DH #3 (and lined a single to left).:
1. Logan Watkins, 2B: 1-2 (HBP, BB, BB, 1B, P-6 - 3 R, 1 PO)
2. Jae-Hoon Ha, CF: 3-5 (1B, F-7, 1B, 1B, 6-3 - 3 R)
3. Matt Cerda, DH #1: 2-3 (1B, BB, BB, 2B, K - 3 R, 3 RBI)
4. John Contreras, DH #2 - C: 3-5 (6-3, 1B, 1B, 1B, L-8 - 1 R, 3 RBI)
5. Sean Hoorelbeke, 1B: 3-3 (BB, 1B, 1B, 2B - 1 R)
6. Jesus Morelli, RF: 1-4 (1-U, K, 5-3, 1B - 1 R, 2 RBI)
7. Alvaro Sosa, C - DH #2: 1-3 (BB, 4-3, K, 3B - 1 R, 1 RBI)
8. George Matheus, SS: 1-4 (FC, 1B, 3-U, E-5 - 1 CS)
9. Sean Williams, LF: 1-4 (5-3, 1-3, 1B, K)
10. Jose Made, 3B: 0-4 (K, 6-3, 6-4-3 GIDP, F-9)
11. Jose Guevara, DH #3: 1-1 (1B + E-7)
1. Andres Quezada - 3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 3/4 GO/FO
2. Robert Hernandez - 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 2/2 GO/FO
3. Adam Spencer - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 2/3 GO/FO
4. Carlos Rojas - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 0 K 1/2 GO/FO
5. Manolin DeLeon - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 0/2 GO/FO
Two errors by 3B Jose Made, both while attempting to field grounders, and one of the errors resulted in an unearned run scoring.
ATTENDANCE: 10 (mostly The Robert Hernandez Fan Club)
Everytime I recall Szcur's bne marrow donation to a stranger, it makes me smile:
If Matt is out will Kawasaki get the call-up? Or "Shane"?
"Matt Szczur will undergo an MRI on his right hamstring on Tuesday."
One of the reasons I think Maddon is a great manager -- he has changed the conversation on Baez from HR & strikeouts to great defense, versatility and an all-around good ballplayer. He rarely talks about his offense, which is the only thing anybody used to talk about with Javy. He took a lot of pressure off the kid, and he seems to have responded.
Good pitching and some nifty D tonight -- nice win.
In case you didn't see it -- it was the Little League play where the guy on first gets caught in a rundown on purpose and the guy on third tries to score. It worked.
Gotta love the Pirates pitcher intentionally hitting Zobrist, then allowing Zobrist to score on a 2-out wild pitch.
Also, glad to see Zobrist coming around with RISP after my remarks last week. Heh!
ESPN reporting heyward day-to-day with an injured wrist
ESPN game tonight, btw.
Cardinal way #48
"negligent transmission of STDs"
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Twitterverse reporting that Heyward is dealing with a sore right wrist
Cardinal way #47
See ya on parrot chat
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.