Cubs 9th Inning Rally Falls Short at Papago
Logan Watkins reached base four times (three singles and a HBP), scored twice, and drove-in a run, and D. J. LeMahieu blasted a two-run double and a solo HR, but a 9th inning Cub rally fell short as the potential tying run was thrown out at the plate, giving the A's a 10-9 decision over the Cubs in AZ Instructional League action at the Papago Baseball Complex in Phoenix this afternoon.
The Cubs got off to a quick 3-0 lead in the top of the 1st on a Kyler Burke RBI ground out with the bases loaded and a two-out, two-run RBI single by Rebel Ridling, and then scored three more times in the top of the 5th on a two-run double by D. J. LeMahieu and a Ryan Flaherty triple to take a 6-0 lead, before the roof caved in the 5th and 6th as the A's scored nine unanswered runs to take a 9-6 lead.
LeMahieu narrowed the gap to 9-7 in the top of the 8th, hitting a solo HR over the LF fence, the LSU Tigers' first professional HR. (LeMahieu is probably the best hitter at Instructs, but most of his hits are rockets hit to CF or RF, and while he hits the ball very hard, he doesn't have much elevation in his swing... at least until today, when he turned on the ball like HR hitters do, and launched one out of the yard).
The A's added an insurance run in the 8th on a lead-off solo HR, but the Cubs threatened to tie the game in the top of the 9th.
Rebel Ridling led-off the 9th for the Cubs by lining a single to right. Then with one out, Richard Jones reached safely when the A's second-baseman dropped a pop fly in short right for an error. Brandon May walked to load the bases, and Kyung-Min Na blooped a single into short left, scoring Ridling, and keeping the bases jammed. Logan Watkins then roped what appeared to be a sure-fire game-tying two-run single to right-center, and while Jones did score easily from 3rd, May got a late break off 2nd base and was thrown out at the plate. Then LeMahieu popped up to the second-baseman to end the game, leaving runners stranded at 2nd & 3rd.
19-year old LHP Austin Kirk (Cubs 2009 3rd round draft pick out of Owasso HS - Owasso, OK) got the start today and worked three shutout innings. He escaped trouble in the bottom of the second when he walked the first two hitters, before getting out of the jam with a 6-4 FC grounder, and a 6-4-3 DP. Kirk retired the last six men he faced.
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Logan Watkins, 2B: 3-4 (1B, HBP, 1B, 1-3, 1B), 2 R, RBI, CS
2. D. J. LeMahieu, SS: 2-5 (3-U, 5-3, 2B, HR, P-4), R, 3 RBI
3. Ryan Flaherty, 3B: 2-4 (1B, 4-3, 3B, F-7), 2 R
4. Brandon Guyer, LF: 1-2 (HBP, BB, 6-3, 2B), R
5. Kyler Burke, RF: 0-3 (6-3, L-8, BB, 6-3), RBI
6. Rebel Ridling, 1B: 2-4 (1B, E-9, K, 1B), R, 2 RBI
7. Justin Bour, DH #1: 0-4 (6-U FC, K, 4-6-3 DP, L-7)
8. Richard Jones, DH #2: 1-4 (4-3, 4-3, 1B, E-4), R
9a. Jovan Rosa, C: 1-2 (5-3, 1B), R
9b. Brandon May, PH-C: 0-0 (BB, BB)
10. Kyung-Min Na, CF: 1-4 (K, K, 4-6-3 DP, 1B), RBI
1. Austin Kirk - 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 4/4 GO/FO, 49 pitches (30 strikes)
2. Eduardo Figueroa - 2.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R (4 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 3/4 GO/FO, 46 pitches (26 strikes)
3. Hector Mayora - 0.1 IP, 5 H, 5 R (5 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 21 pitches (11 strikes)
4. Julio Pena - 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GO/FO, 22 pitches (14 strikes)
5. Steve Grife - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 1/1 GO/FO, 15 pitches (11 strikes)
D. J. LeMahieu (E-6) - errant throw to 1B with two outs in the bottom of the 5th allowed batter to reach base safely, but then the runner at 2nd base was thrown out 3-2 trying to score on the play for the third out of the inning.
Jovan Rosa - 0-2 CS, 1 PB
1. D. J. LeMahieu - was thrown out 9-4-5 trying to stretch two-run RBI double into triple with one out in the top of the 5th.
2. Brandon May - was thrown out 8-2 trying to score tying run from 2nd base on single to right-center with bases loaded and one out in the top of the 9th.
WEATHER: 90's, hot & 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.