A's Drop Cubs at Papago

The EXST A's defeated the EXST Cubs 6-1 in Extended Spring Training action at Field #2 at the Papago Baseball Complex in Phoenix this morning.

RHP Jon Nagel got the start, and struggled with his command for his second start in a row (and the lart one was one the exact same field, too). He managed to get through his pre-scheduled three innings, but it took him 56 pitches (only 33 strikes) to do it.

The Cubs offense was sluggish today, only scoring one run, a two-out RBI single grounded through the box into CF by John Contreras that scored Hak-Ju Lee from 2nd base.

Lee was the only Cub to have as many as two hits today, one an infield hit and one a bunt single, giving the 18-year old Korean bonus baby a chance to show off his blazing speed.

Also, Matt Cerda reached base three times, the first time on a double hammered off the left-field fence, and the other two times on walks.  

Most Extended Spring Training games are interesting and some are even down-right exciting, but this one was real clunker. Fortunately there were only four civilians in attendance, although only one of us stayed for the entire game.

Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):

1. Jose Valdez, CF:  0-4  (5-3, 6-3, P-1, 4-3)
2. Hak-Ju Lee, SS-DH:  2-4  (L-8, 1B, 1B, 3-U + 1 R, 1 SB)
3. Matt Cerda, DH #2:  1-2  (2B, 4-3 GIDP, BB, BB)
4. John Contreras, 1B:  1-4  (4-3, E-7, 1B, 6-4 FC + 1 RBI)
5. Sean Hoorelbeke, LF:  0-3  (K, BB, F-8, 6-3)
6. Logan Watkins, 2B:  0-3  (3-U, K, 5-3)
7. Dwayne Kemp, 3B:  1-3  (P-4, 1B, K)
8. Juan Medina, C:  1-3  (1B, 1-6-3 GIDP, 5-3 + 1 SB)
9. Jesus Morelli, RF:  0-3  (K, P-3, 5-3)

10. Robert Bautista, DH-SS:  0-3  (P-6, F-9, K)

1. Jon Nagel - 3.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 4/2 GO/FO
2. Miguel Sierra - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 2 GIDP, 4/2 GO/FO
3. Josh Whitlock - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 3/0 GO/FO
4. Yohan Gonzalez - 1.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 2/1 GO/FO
5. Ryan Sontag - 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1/2 GO/FO


1. 2B Logan Watkins - ball bounced out of his glove, allowing batter to reach base safely, and eventually resulting in unearned run to score.
2. 3B Dawyne Kemp - errant throw allowed batter to reach base safely, eventually resulting in unearned run.

3. 1B John Contreras - pick-off attempt bounced off his glove, allowing runner to take 2nd base.
4. CF Jose Valez - ball caromed off his glove into right-centerfield on line drive single to center, allowing batter to take 2nd.

Juan Medina - 1 PB

WEATHER: Hot & Sunny, tempersature in the mid 90's, headed for 100+   



Az Phil -

The cubs seem to have some interesting SS prospects......all in the raw w/ interesting skill sets in the lower part of the system. Give me your thoughts on Castro, Lee, Barney (more polish), and any one else I am missing. Although I like Theriot, I'd much prefer sliding him over to 2nd base in a few years as it is a bit painful on the eyes to watch him when compared against true plus SS in the bigs.

Thanks Phil!
Do you think that Hak Ju Lee is going to be spending the summer there in AZ, or do you think he may see some time with Boise?

People in the know say that the best player in the Cubs org. is Starlin Castro

Do you mean "people into blow"?

Vitters is the best player in the Cubs minor league organization.

what's not to love?

Soriano: "Goodbye May"

so much for bumknee and his loss of power

Soriano now #2 in leadoff HR behind Rickey

Randy Wells with a lead?

...be still my heart.

FIVE PITCH 1st inning for RW!

might actually be good at this pitching thing...

Yea! Fukudome runs his ass off and gets DePleted Lee a rare RBI!

Reed Johnson in

Bradley strains calf muscle. Len says he's "day to day"

I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house down. Works if your house is straw.

Day-to-day for Bradley means like 2 months. Not like we would be missing much if he is out.

If Wells throws a no hitter, would he be the most unlikely pitcher of a no hitter ever?

Go Wells!

Way to jinx it...

And there have been plenty of unlikely guys, e.g. Bud Smith.

MANNY: I don't get that. No-no's have a great deal of luck involved, in addition to pitching skill.

If you've been watching Wells this season, you'd know he has movement and control of the zone. 7k's and 6 hits in a 2-1 loss against the Dodgers.

Why is he any more "unlikely" than other guys?

He would be unlikely in my opinion because he is a 26-year old unheralded rookie who was drafted in the 38th round.

Who'd have thought two of the Cubs best pitchers were catchers? Both Wells and Marmol. I don't think we'll have to worry about that with Soto.

Marmol sucks.

- sigh -

he sure does as of late.

They finally made an error. What an amazing run though...

Whoo Hooo!!

Way to try and blow it bullpen!

A pitching gem by the starter and he has to watch this SHIT!


5-3 now, tying runs on, Braves with 2 hits the whole game.

MArmol for closer?!

I am going to PUKE!!!!!!!!!!



This team is going nowhere with this bullpen.

5 runs on three fucking hits. Unbelievable.

I'm done.

Why do the Cubs hate Randy Wells?

Gregg threw the only pitch that could cost them the game -- a grooved fastball to the last power hitter in the Braves lineup. Simply unbelievable.

Bad or stupid -- he seems to be both.

What a turd of a season.

Bradley and Gregg -- did anyone have a worse off-season than Hendry?

Wells is cursed. Trade his ass for Dusty Baker and Lenny F. Harris and finish this season off all proper like.

Heilman with a sigh of relief -- someone else finally blew it for Wells tonight besides him.

Man...why does the bullpen hate Randy Wells so fucking much?

Kidding aside, a loss here makes it really hard for me to believe in this team.

If Hendry escapes firing this year, it will not happen at all.

To go from no-hitter to 5-5 in two and a third innings - its just NOT our year.

Sorry. Just how I have felt since A-Ram went down.

I have come to expect Hendry to be the GM forever. I don't think we will ever get rid of him. Remember he is Teflon Jim!! :)

It's not just the runs, it's how the Cubs handed them to Atlanta.

An error on the most routine play possible...a wild pitch strikeout..walks, HBP, then a grooved fastball to the last power hitter who could beat you. Bad baseball.

Hendry? He didn't cause Marmol to fail to fix his mechanics, Gregg to fix to think when he pitches, or Soto to fail to maintain the weight that led to his break-out the last two years. Wood and DeRosa wouldn't fix this team this year. There's just something missing. I think they just figured they'd coast through the season and then they'd focus on not choking in the playoffs. It just doesn't look like guys prepared themselves for the season. Maybe that's partially the coaching staff, but Hendry put this team in position to make the playoffs two years in a row and win 97 games this year.

Sorry - that would be "last" year....

When you acquire the league leader in blown saves (while pitching in a low stress environment) to be your closer, you are asking for trouble. And Gregg has delivered!

Don't forget the 4-run lead he blew a while back -- doesn't count as a blown save.

To beat the dead horse -- how you throw Francoeur a fastball in that situation, on that count, is beyond me. The guy is sitting on a fastball. Walk him, and pitch to Blanco. Simple, really.

I agree that Gregg has been bad at times, but tonight it wasn't just him. Marmol walks Francouer? I didn't think that was possible. Soto can't catch a third strike? It's not like he's producing anything at the plate, and now his defense appears to be suffering. Blowing the lead was certainly a team effort, and I don't know how you trace that to firing Hendry. The Cubs have been in the race for each of the last 6 years, with the exception of 2006. That's better than any Cubs GM reign in my lifetime. Granted, a lot of that has to do with the team spending more money, but still.....

fire everyone

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Well I guess I can't blame the Board and former CEO of GM for continuing to force gas-hog suv's down our throats for way to long, while the Japanese were building well-designed, fuel-efficient cars. Its not their fault for putting the mechanism in place.

Hendry is fully to blame and he will be telling us so wjen tje team fails to male the playoffs.

No single person is every fully to blame. So far this turd is big enough that everyone's stinky ass has contributed a bit to it.

I would like to know why some years teams are injury free and some years are like this. I mean seriously, is it all just random, or what the hell happened with their conditioning from October-March?

Soto - fat and bum shoulder
Lee - neck spasms
Miles - DL
Ramirez - DL
Bradley - chronically day-to-day
Soriano - bum knee
Zambrano - DL for hammy
Harden - DL for back

It's pathetic.

Looking at your list:

- Lee has had neck spasms before
- Miles sucks anyway
- A-Ram is on the DL every year (although usually it's his legs). We had a guy who used to fill-in at third (and RF), but decided we didn;t eed him any more.
- Bradley was a well-documented injury-prone head case.
- Soriano has missed time every year with the Cubs
- Zambrano was on the DL last year
- If you are surprised that Harden is injured, you haven't been paying attention.

So, other than Soto, none of these should be a shocker, and we're not sure Soto is hurt.

No, none is a shocker individually, but having them all at once is, in my opinion. And Hill started for a stretch of games earlier this season for a reason, Soto had shoulder soreness that kept him out.

I've been here many times. This season is like 20th on my hate list. Just saying.

That was fun.

Gregg is good.

Poor Wells.

Wow, I'm with Eman. This team is dead in the water. Who can you turn to in the bullpen? Marmol walks a guy per inning, and he is far and away our best reliever! We have a closer who can't close, sitting on a 6ish era! Teams with bullpen's this bad don't make the playoffs, and if they do, it is for a brief cameo only. And don't shoot me bullpen era stats, I know they have improved from the start of the year, but my eye test tells me that it is going to be a heck of a long summer with these relievers.

what's not to hate.

for me, I'm on the get rid of HeLLman bandwagon. Can't stand him. Don't want to see him pitch EVER again.

Hendry has the budget to outspend everyone in the division by a lot. He thought Bradley and Gregg were good ideas. Wrong, and Very Wrong.

I fear this game starts a painful slide that ends with the Cubs too far back to catch up.

One of the worst losses I can remember. Up 5-1 in the 8th, a routine grounder to the SS...then the Cubs forget how to play baseball.

Bah...bring back Kerry and DeRo. At least we liked them. If Bradley and Gregg never play again for the Cubs -- OK by me.

"One of the worst losses I can remember. Up 5-1 in the 8th, a routine grounder to the SS...then the Cubs forget how to play baseball."

With TWO HITS by the Braves at the time!

A complete embarrassment.

It would be a miracle if they make the Playoffs.

As I said, personally, I am looking forward grudgingly to 2010.

...and if they don't DL Bradley they're nuts.

Stop playing with a 23 man roster because day-to-day injuries and a rule 5 pick they use once a month. This team is challenged enough without that as another handicap.

and Bobby Scales failing to lay down a bunt...for a career minor leaguer, he sure didn't get his fundamentals down.

but it's the entire team that is consistently poor in execution.

I just saw a replay of the Franc. HR. Belt-high, flat-as-hell fastball. Perfect. I hate KEvin Gregg and he will go down with some of our worst closers the last 10 years.

Kind of early to tell that. He's still got a long way to go before he gets close to being as terrible as Mel Rojas (I know -- he was more than 10 years ago -- 12, to be exact -- but he's my personal standard for level of suckitude vs. expectations).

i wonder what lous comments are after game know is the time to rip them wells has been are best starter last month and nothing to show for it.
soto i am glad lou yanked him
lee always makes that play except tonite
scales bunt sucked
soriano sucks with men on base
blanco will stay scales will go
bradley i like in the three hole
but injuries keep out to often dl him.
fukodome his defense was suberb tonite i think.
all this and i had to listen to pat and ron all game
am all for hoffpauer and fox platoon in right
marmol walks about 1 per inning worked
derrick lowe tomorrow nite we suck vs him that is why tonites game was so important i see no more then 2 runs
tomorrow niteand that wont do it.

I am sure glad we signed Milton Bradley to anchor our offense.

The left-handedness is really paying off -- Bradley and Fontentot have been simply delightful.

With 2 outs and Blanco up next, Gregg's meatball was just ridiculous.

Recent comments

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  • HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC. 

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 17 min ago view
  • ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels. 

    M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores)  the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating. 

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 20 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.  

    Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).  

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 30 min ago view
  • PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.

    The E-Man 2 hours 13 min ago view
  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 6 hours 58 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 6 hours 59 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 16 hours 40 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 19 hours 38 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 19 hours 50 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 19 hours 59 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 20 hours 4 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 20 hours 23 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 20 hours 59 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 21 hours 17 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 21 hours 18 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 21 hours 36 min ago view