It's May Day in Maryvale
Brandon May had a double and two singles, three RBI, and a run scored, and Arismendy Alcantara cranked a solo home run, leading the EXST Cubs to a 9-2 drubbing of the EXST Brewers in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Maryvale Park Field #7 in Phoenix this morning.
While Brandon May had a big day at the plate, he had a bad day in the field, committing errors on consecutive at bats resulting in an unearned run scoring against John Mincone in the 5th. (Mincone surrendered just a bunt single in three innings of work). The two errors were May’s first of the year, ending his consecutive-games errorless streak at 17. May has been (and remains) the EXST Cubs most-reliable and versatile infield defender, capable of playing 1B, 2B, and 3B equally well (he also has played LF).
Bobby Wagner has been donning the “tools of ignorance” in recent days, warming up pitchers in the bullpen when he isn’t playing 1B or 3B. (In fact his slot in today’s lineup was skipped in the 9th inning because he was busy warming up Carlos Rojas in the bullpen). This could be a pre-cursor to Wagner making the full conversion to catcher, since he has yet to find a permanent defensive position (he played 3B in college, mostly LF last year at Boise, and mostly 1B so far this year at Minor League Camp and Extended Spring Training). Wagner is presently tied with Arismendy Alcantara for the EXST Cubs team lead in home runs (both have two).
Here is today’s abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Vismeldy Bieneme, 2B: 1-4 (F-7, BB, 1B, 4-3, 6-3, RBI)
2. Alvaro Ramirez, CF: 3-5 (1B, 1B, 1B, K, E-4, R)
3a. Jesus Morelli, RF: 1-2 (1B, HBP, HBP, 4-3, 2 R, SB)
3b. Carlos Romero, 1B: 0-1 (K)
4. Brandon May, 3B: 3-5 (2B, K, 4-6-3 GIDP, 1B, 1B, R , 3 RBI)
5. Runey Davis, LF-RF: 1-3 (F-8 SF, BB, 1B, F-9, F-7, R, RBI)
6a. Bobby Wagner, DH #1: 1-3 (F-8, P-2, 3B, RBI)
6b. SLOT WAS SKIPPED IN THE TOP OF THE 9th
7. Luis Flores, C: 0-3 (P-2, F-9, BB, F-9)
8. Albert Hernandez, 1B-LF: 0-4 (K+WP, 6-3, F-9, 6-3, R, SB)
9. Wes Darvill, SS: 1-4 (1B, K, 4-3, K, RBI)
10. Arismendy Alcantara, DH #2: 1-4 (HR, E-3, K, E-1, 3 R, RBI)
1. Marcus Hatley – 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 2/0 GO/FO, 16 pitches (10 strikes)
2. Luis Liria – 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 4/2 GO/FO, 46 pitches (32 strikes)
3. John Mincone - 3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 2/4 GO/FO, 30 pitches (20 strikes)
4. Jose Rosario - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 10 pitches (8 strikes)
5. Carlos Rojas - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1/2 GO/FO, 8 pitches (6 strikes)
1. 3B Brandon May E-5 (overthrow at 1st base on bunt single allowed batter to reach 3rd base – eventually scored unearned run)
2. 3B Brandon May E-5 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely – did not score)
Luis Flores: 1-1 CS
BASERUNNING MISADVDENTURES: Wes Darvill was thrown out 9-6 trying to stretch a single into a double, and Vismeldy Bieneme was thrown out 8-5 trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on a two-out single to CF.
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80’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.