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
I think Javy is learning--but he's learning to make contact, not learning to lay off pitches out of the zone. A quick glance at his plate discipline numbers on Fangraphs shows that his contact rate is up, especially his contact rate out of the zone, but his swing rate is up too, especially his swing rate out of the zone.
I definitely saw ballpark radar guns go up to 102 on Kerry Wood back when he was still a starter, but who knows how accurate they were.
They've mentioned Henry Rodriguez (2013), Chris Carpenter, and Andrew Cashner as Cubs who have gone 100+. They said Rodriguez was tops at 100.8. Who knows before 2008?
He'll play regardless of what he does, just like Soriano played for seven years before they finally ditched him.
What can they do? All I can think of is they can keep hiring and firing hitting coaches until they find one who can get him to stop hitting balls with the handle of the bat.
(All those broken bats added to his paycheck is just a bit much.)
Lester will probably be all right.
I think Arrieta might have added too much muscle preparing for that butt-naked ESPN photo shoot. Pitchers are supposed to be loose, not muscled up.
I have basically written off Heyward for this year -- if you are working on major swing changes in late July, you are going to struggle. Hopefully, he can be more productive at the plate next year. It will be interesting to see what they do with him if the Cardinals keep winning and close the gap. Heyward is dead last in the NL in slugging and in the bottom 5 in OPS -- yet still has a positive WAR. Hunh.
Has anybody in a Cub uniform ever thrown a ball 103 before?
He certainly looks better, no doubt, and is a different player than what we saw when he first came up. Full credit to him for changing his approach and saving his career.
But he has zero walks in 35AB since the break, and 10 in 251 AB all year. He does seem to be able to hit some pitches out of the zone, but, a guy with his pop should be drawing more walks. However, it's easy to forget he is still only 23, and probably trying to make an impact to prove he should be an everyday player.
The usual suspects, Molina and Wong. Gyorko drew a walk with two outs, none on. I recall us (particularly Szczur and Bryant) swinging at everything Familia threw.
Yup. Thanks Q
Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTNekUcY-XM
I for one hope that Sosa comes back soon.
O/B interesting you should mention that. Google ESPN Science Aroldis Chapman and you'll be treated to how his mechanics and delivery are possibly historic. It's the 120% of his body stretch plus the torque. They compare him to the Unit and NRyan.
Amazing how much lower the production gets when Bryant runs into a mini-cold streak. He doesn't stay cold for long. If just one of Zobrist or, gulp, Heyward, gets hot, they oughta have one more really nice winning streak in them. Having a closer that you have absolute confidence in can't hurt.
I hope they hold onto Jimenez. Outfield depth is questionable, especially with McKinney, who struggled this year but still, gone.
You don't think he's improved? He looks completely different out there than he did when he first came up. The last I checked his K rate was in the low 20% range - 22-23 or so. When he came up it was 40%+.
To me, what is scary about him if I'm the other guy is that he IS learning the strike zone. This guy could easily be the MVP someday.