Cubs & Brewers Fit to Be Tied
Francisco Guzman singled three times, stole three bases, scored two runs, and drove-in another, but it wasn’t quite enough, as the EXST Cubs and EXST Brewers played to a 6-6 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Maryvale Park Field #7 in Phoenix this morning.
The Cubs have added a lot of speed to the organization over the past three years, and 22-year old lefty swinging Francisco Guzman (55 SB in 130 career minor league games) is just one example. Batting in the lead-off slot today, he reached base on a bunt single to the shortstop on the first pitch of the game, stole second, and then scored on a two-out RBI double by Brandon May. Then with the scored tied 2-2, Guzman led-off the top of the 6th with a line single back through the box that almost emasculated the Brewers pitcher, stole 2nd, advanced to 3rd base on a fly out, and scored on a wild pitch. And then finally with runners at 2nd & 3rd and two outs in the top of the 7th, Guzman pushed a picture-perfect bunt up the 3rd base line to score Rafael Disla from 3rd with the Cubs fourth run of the game. Guzman also made a fine running catch in CF.
In addition to Guzman’s fine day, Brandon May smacked two doubles, and Jonathan Mota (who is at Extended Spring Training learning to catch) reached base three times on a single, a double, and a walk, scored a run, and drove one in. On the negative side, Mota was doubled-off 1st base on a line-drive to the 2nd baseman and picked-off second base by the catcher, and he committed a throwing error while trying to nab a Brewers baserunner who was trying to steal 2nd base, allowing the runner to advance to 3rd.
Matt Spencer (acquired from OAK in the Jake Fox deal) saw his first Extended Spring Training game action today, hitting 3rd in the order as a DH and getting four ABs. Spencer, who is rehabbing from a broken toe suffered in Minor League Camp last month, hit the ball hard three times (F-8, a line single to CF, and a line-drive out to the 2nd baseman), and also walked once. He ran just fine, too, showing no evidence of any lingering negative after-effects of the toe injury. So I would think that he will probably be reporting to AA Tennessee very soon.
RHP Tarlandus Mitchell got the start for the EXST Cubs today, and struggled with his control, although he walked only one and gave up only one run. But he had a three-ball count on several hitters. RHP (ex-SS) Gian Guzman was even wilder than Mitchell, walking the bases loaded in the 7th, with all three runners eventually scoring.
LHP Austin Kirk (the Cubs 2009 3rd round pick out of Owasso HS in Oklahoma) threw two innings and allowed a run on two hits (a double followed by an RBI single), but he also struck out four (including the first three men he faced) and didn’t walk anybody. And LHP Marcos Perez and RHP Rogelio Carmona (who also threw an inning on Monday) retired nine of the last ten Brewers to preserve the tie.
Here is today’s abridged box score (EXST Cubs players only):
1. Francisco Guzman, CF: 3-4 (1B, K, 1B, 1B, 2 R, RBI, 3 SB)
2. Runey Davis, RF: 0-4 (5-3, F-7, F-8, K)
3. Matt Spencer, DH #1: 1-3 (F-8, 1B, BB, L-4)
4. Brandon May, 3B: 2-4 (2B, F-9, F-9, 2B, R, RBI)
5. Bobby Wagner, 1B: 0-4 (K, K, F-8, P-5)
6. D. J. Fitzgerald, LF: 1-3 (K, 5-3, BB, 1B, R, RBI)
7. Jonathan Mota, 2B-C: 2-3 (BB, 1B, 2B, F-8, R, RBI, PO)
8a. Jae-Hoon Ha, C: 1-2 (L-4 DP, 1B)
8b. Rafael Disla, 2B: 0-1 (BB, K, R)
9. Albert Hernandez, DH #2: 0-3 (BB, 4-3 GIDP, 5-3, K, CS)
10. Wes Darvill, SS: 1-3 (1B, 4-3, BB, K, SB)
1. Tarlandus Mitchell – 2.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 4/0 GO/FO, 51 pitches (30 strikes)
2. Austin Kirk – 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 30 pitches (22 strikes)
3. Gian Guzman – 1.1 IP, 1 H, 4 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP, 1/2 GO/FO, 35 pitches (16 strikes)
4. Marcos Perez – 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 3/2 GO/FO, 16 pitches (12 strikes)
5. Rogelio Carmona – 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 15 pitches (12 strikes)
2B Rafael Disla E-4 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base)
RF Runey Davis E-9 (overthrow at 3rd base allowed baserunner to score)
C Jonathan Mota E-2 (throwing error on stolen base attempt at 2nd base allowed baserunner to advance to 3rd base)
Jae-Hoon Ha: 1-4 CS
Jonathan Mota: 0-1 CS, 1 E (see above)
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 70’s
He'll be fine. He's not some wimpy young pup.
In all seriousness the Cubs have the fewest amount of games played in the NL which means they're gonna be facing quite the grind later on including 24 games in a row at the end of June and beginning of July so I hope he does get a few days off.
Meh. He only got one hit today. Maybe give him a rest?
Good thing the Cubs have five left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties [edit - doesn't seem to faze Bryant!]
ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.
cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/
HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC.
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.
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).
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.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
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.
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.