Cubs Punch-Out Giants in Scottsdale
Brandon Guyer had two hits and two RBI, Justin Bour had two hits and three RBI, Kyler Burke reached base four times on two doubles, a single, and a walk, and five Cubs pitchers threw a combined four-hitter with 14 strikeouts, as the Cubs defeated the Giants 6-2 in AZ Instructional League action at Indian School Park Field #2 in Scottsdale this afternoon.
The Cubs scored three in the 1st and three in the 3rd.
Brett Jackson led off the game with a walk and stole second, and D. J. LeMahieu also drew a walk. Then the runners were moved up to 2nd and 3rd on a Ryan Flaherty sacrifice bunt, before Brandon Guyer lined an RBI single to RF, scoring Jackson, with LeMahieu holding at 3rd. Guyer then stole 2nd, and Kyler Burke walked to load the bases. Michael Brenly popped up to short center for the second out, but then Justin Bour rapped a two-run single to CF, scoring LeMahieu and Guyer.
With the Cubs lead narrowed to 3-2, LeMahieu singled with one out in the 3rd, and advanced to 3rd base on a WP and a ground out, before Guyer drove him in with a two-out RBI single. Burke and Brenly followed with singles (Brenly's hit knocked-in Guyer), and then Justin Bour reached base on an RBI infield single, scoring Burke.
RHP Thomas Diamond got the start for the Cubs, and struggled with his command (39 pitches, only 19 strikes in just two innings of work). Diamond actually had an easy 1-2-3 1st inning, but then couldn't find the plate in the bottom of the 2nd, walking two batters, and both runners came around to score on an RBI single.
RHP Alberto Cabrera worked innings 3-4-5, and was virtually unhittable (just one hit allowed, and four strikeouts), although he did walk three.
21-year old LHP (and ex-OF) Drew Rundle made his debut as a pitcher in the bottom of the 6th, and he looked like The Natural, throwing a 1-2-3 inning (L-3, Ks, F-8), and doing it on only nine pitches (six strikes).
Rundle was the Cubs 14th round draft pick out of Bend HS - Bend, OR in 2006, getting $500,000 ("3rd round money") to give up a chance to play college baseball at the University of Arizona. (2006 was the year the Cubs had no picks in rounds 2-3-4, and so they had extra cash available to select players with "signability" issues in lower rounds, paying "over-slot" bonuses to Jeff Samardzija, Cliff Andersen, Chris Huseby, Kevin Kreier, Nate Samson, and Rundle).
An athletic defender with a plus-arm, above-average speed, and occasional power, Rundle was a patient hitter who never really developed, striking out 258 times in just 941 PA, while hitting a combined 227/338/380 with 16 HR, 55 2B, 9 3B, and 21 SB (16 CS) in 278 games played over four seasons.
Prior to Instructs, Rundle hadn't pitched since his junior year in HS,
Eduardo Figueroa worked the 7th and 8th innings, allowing two harmless singles while striking out five, and Corey Martin had a "rocking-chair" five-pitch 1-2-3 9th (two 1-3 come-backers to the mound and a line-drive to left).
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Brett Jackson, CF: 0-3 (BB, F-8, 4-3, F-8), R, SB
2. D. J. LeMahieu, SS: 1-3 (BB, 1B, 4-3, 4-3), 2 R
3. Ryan Flaherty, 2B: 0-3 (1-3 SH, 4-3, K, F-8)
4. Brandon Guyer, LF: 2-4 (1B, 1B, L-8, K), 2 R, 2 RBI, SB
5. Kyler Burke, RF: 3-3 (BB, 1B, 2B, 2B), R, PO
6a. Michael Brenly, C-DH: 1-3 (P-9, 1B, F-9), RBI
6b. Rebel Ridling, PH: 0-1 (K)
7. Justin Bour, 1B: 2-4 (1B, 1B, F-8, F-9), 3 RBI
8. Matt Cerda, 3B: 1-3 (2B, P-5, 4-3), CS
9. Jovan Rosa, DH-C: 0-3 (K, 6-3, K)
10. Richard Jones, DH #2: 0-3 (4-3, F-9, K)
1. Thomas Diamond - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 4 K, 2/0 GO/FO, 39 pitches (19 strikes)
2. Alberto Cabrera - 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K, 1 GIDP, 2/3 GO/FO, 51 pitches (29 strikes)
3. Drew Rundle - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 0/2 GO/FO, 9 pitches (6 strikes)
4. Eduardo Figueroa - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 0/1 GO/FO, 35 pitches (26 strikes)
5. Corey Martin - 1.0 IP - 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 2/1 GO/FO, 5 pitches (4 strikes)
1. D. J. LeMahieu (E-6) - bobbled ground ball at SS allowing batter to reach base
2. Matt Cerda (E-5) - overthrow at 1st base allowed batter to reach base safely
1. Michael Brenly - 0-3 CS
2. Jovan Rosa - 0-1 CS
WEATHER: 80's & mostly sunny
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.