Cubs Cactus Comeback a Real Prick for Angels

Bryan Lahair drilled a walk-off single off the right-centerfield fence to drive-in Fernando Perez from third-base with the winning run, as the Cubs rallied from a ten-run deficit to edge the Los Angeles Angels 14-13 in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in warm and sunny (and VERY breezy) Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.

box score

Carlos Silva got the start for the Cubs today, and he had nothing, allowing eight runs on ten hits (and a HBP) in just 2.1 IP (54 pitches - 41 strikes), including surrendering eight hits in the top of the 3rd (and all of the hits were smacked right on the button, too). I have seen coaches throwing batting practice who had better stuff than Silva did today. At least Silva threw strikes, so the carnage passed fairly quickly.

And it could have been even worse, if not for Howie Kendrick getting thrown-out trying to score from 1st base on a single with two outs in the top of the 1st (Marlon Byrd had fielded the ball awkwardly and made a blind, off-balance throw toward the infield, but Blake DeWitt recovered nicely and gunned-down Kendrick easily at the plate), and Alberto Callaspo getting squelched by five steps (an absolute laser throw by Welington Castillo) while trying to steal 2nd base after being hit by a pitch in the top of the 2nd inning. But even with the Angel baserunning escapades, Silva could not hope to survive the 3rd. Chris Carpenter relieved Silva with one out, five runs in, and runners on 2nd and 3rd, and while the rookie right-hander did record the last two outs in the inning, he wasn't able to do it before surrendering a two-out two-run RBI single to Chris Pettit that gave the Angels a commanding 8-0 lead.

Meanwhile, Angels starting pitcher Dan Haren was masterfrul, throwing three innings of no run, no hit ball at the Cubs,

James Russell worked the middle three innings for the Cubs, and he wasn't fooling anybody (especially Mark Trumbo), either. Among other things, he allowed a Trumbo solo home run that sailed over the LF scoreboard, and a Trumbo double that almost cleared the 40-ft high batter's eye "Green Monster" in dead CF. Russell was battered in each of his three innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits (two singles, two doubles, a triple, and a home run). Russell is being stretched out as a starter this spring (he threw 54 pitches - 39 strikes today), but he'll probably be getting his starts in the Pacific Coast League. 

After being held hitless by Haren, the Cubs started their comeback in the bottom of the 4th against Angels closer Fernando Rodney. Marlon Byrd lined a single with one out, and Aramis Ramirez followed with a line-drive double into the LF corner. The Cubs were down nine runs at the time, but that didn't stop 3rd base coach Ivan DeJesus from waving Byrd home, and (sure enough) Byrd was out by three steps. Not giving up, the Cubs kept up the pressure as Carlos Pena, Alfonso Soriano, and Welington Castillo strung together consecutive two-out singles to net two runs, and cut the Angels lead to 9-2. 

Down 12-2 in the 6th, the Cubs scored seven times. Facing fireballin' RHP Ysmael Carmona (older brother of ex-Cub minor league pitcher Rogelio Carmona), Bryan Lahair led-off the inning with a single. After Carmona blew Matt Camp and Max Ramirez away with high-octane gas, Augie Ojeda and Steve Clevenger drew walks, loading the bases. That was all for Y. Carmona, as RHP Ryan Braun (the Angels pitcher, not the Brewers outfielder) was called into the game and (presumably) ordered to THROW STRIKES. And essentially he did that, as Scott Moore immediately ripped a two-out grand slam HR over the RF fence. But the Cubs weren't done. Lou Montanez singled to left, Fernando Perez also singled, and Josh Vitters sliced an RBI double down the RF line, scoring Montanez. Bryan Lahair walked to load the bases, and then Matt Camp drilled a two-run single to center to score Perez and Vitters, cutting the L. A. lead to 12-9. That finisihed Braun, as Chris Junge came into game. And with Max Ramirez representing the tying run, Junge did indeed restore order and get out of the inning with no further damage. At least in the 6th.

Kerry Wood threw a 1-2-3 7th (with two punch-outs), and Scott Maine worked a scoreless 8th, allowing just a single.

Then the Cubs actually took the lead (temporarily) in the bottom of the 8th. With one out, Fernando Perez walked, and Josh Vitters and Bryan Lahair ripped singles to load the bases. Matt Camp came through again (hitting with two strikes), driving-in Perez with a single, with Vitters holding at 3rd. Max Ramirez then laced a bases-clearing three-run double into the left-centerfield power alley, scoring Vitters, Lahair, and Camp, and giving the Cubs a 13-12 lead.

Jeff Samardzija came into the game in the 9th, trying to protect the one-run lead and record the save. But Brandon Wood wasted no time tying the game up at 13, hitting a solo HR over the right-centerfield fence. The Shark did retire the next three men he faced, but the game was tied. 

Lou Montanez led off the bottom of the 9th with a double. Then Fernando Perez tried to move Montanez (representing the winning run) to 3rd with a sacrifice bunt, and it was a good bunt, too. Pitcher Ryan Brasier had no play on the speedy Perez at 1st base, so he took a shot at getting Montanez at 3rd. And Montanez should have been safe at 3rd base, except he overslid the bag and was tagged out. Brasier was very concerned with Perez at 1st base, and made several attempts to hold him close with pickoff throws. But on the first throw home, Perez stole 2nd base easily. (Perez can really fly). Vitters flied out to deep CF for the second out of the inning, although Perez did take 3rd on the out.

Now remember... the Angels had no more pitchers left beyond Brasier, and so the game was going to end after nine innings whether the Cubs scored or not. But thanks to Bryan Lahair's big two-out hit, the Cubs walked-off the field with an improbable comeback victory.

The Cubs defense made two more errors today. RF Tyler Colvin made his third error in ten days on exactly the same type of play, a one-hop line-drive single to right where Colvin bobbles the ball, allowing the runner or runners to move up an extra base. And Augie Ojeda rushed a throw to 1st base with two outs in the top of the 6th, allowing an unearned run to score from 3rd base on the E-6.

Today was the mandatory reporting date for pitchers & catches at Minor League Camp at Fitch Park.

The Cubs have just recently re-signed catcher Mario Mercedes (post-2010 Rule 55 minor league FA) and he was catching at Fitch Park today. Mercedes will probably be one of the two catchers at Daytona in 2011 (Luis Flores should be the other one). Also, 18-year old Venezuelan Hector Suarez was brought up to Fitch Park from the Dominican Academy, and Engel Santana (who was at post-2010 AZ Instructs) is not present and presumably was replaced at Fitch Park by Suarez (with Santana apparently remaining in the Dominican Republic). And utility IF-OF David Macias is learning the art of catching, probably a good idea for a player who is squarely "on the bubble." So expect Macias to remain at Extended Spring Training at Fitch Park at the close of Minor League Camp (just as Jonathan Mota diid last year), giving him a couple of months to get some EXST game experience behind the plate.

Other catchers present at Minor League Camp at Fitch Park are Michael Brenly, Sergio Burruel, Luis Flores, 2010 3rd round pick Micah Gibbs, Jose Guevara, Max Kwan, Blake Lalli, Chad Noble, Jonathan Mota (also a utility IF-OF), and Carlos Romero. Recently-signed Cuban defector Yaniel Cabeza is not at Fitch Park at this time, and 16-year old Alberto Mineo will be remaining at the MLB European Academy in Italy until he graduates from high school. Cubs 2010 22nd round draft pick Jeff Vigurs retired after one season of pro ball season (in which he hit 165/235/233 with a 25% CS at Boise) and will be a Grad Assistant Baseball Coach at Northeastern U.

While only pitchers & catchers were required to be at Fitch Park today, 16 infielders and/or outfielders not required to be in camp have reported over the past week. 

Most of you know about D. J. Lemahieu's walk-off HR yesterday at HoHoKam Park, and he is in fact one of the 16 early arrivals. Lemahieu mainly played 2B at Daytona last year, but he was working out exclusively at 3B today. Also present early are OF-1B Michael Burgess (acquired from WAS in the Tom Gorzelanny trade), OF Kyler Burke, OF Tony Campana, 3B Matt Cerda, OF Evan Crawford (acquired from SF last year for Mike Fontenot), SS Wes Darvill, IF-OF Ryan Flaherty, 2010 2nd round draft pick OF Reggie Golden (who needs to lose some weight), IF-OF Marwin Gonzalez, OF Jae-Hoon Ha, 1B Rebel Ridling, OF Matt Szczur, 1B John Urick (29-year old signed out of an independent minor league and functioning as a player-coach today, Urick is the grandson of Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog), 2B-SS Logan Watkins (who was working out at both 2B and SS today), and OF Ty Wright (who is restricted to Limited Activity Only while rehabbing from an injury).  

2010 1st round draft pick RHP Hayden Simpson is assigned to the Peoria group, and he is cleared to participate in all drills, including throwing. (Simpson was unable to make his pro debut last season while battling mononucleoisis).


i thought alberto mineo was going to the aussie academy.

he's an interesting 16 year old boy...wait, i want to take that back.

2010 2nd round draft pick OF Reggie Golden (who needs to lose some weight)

AZ Phil, how hefty is Golden?

Submitted by QuietMan on Mon, 03/07/2011 - 9:45pm.
2010 2nd round draft pick OF Reggie Golden (who needs to lose some weight)

AZ Phil, how hefty is Golden?


QUIET MAN: Right now he looks like a younger, smaller version of Prince Fielder. He must not have worked-out much during the off-season. He really should have attended Club Colvin.

I had thought after seeing him in AZ Instructs that Golden would have a good chance to start the season at Peoria, but now I suspect he will be left behind at Extended Spring Training, no matter how much he hits in Minor League Camp.

Michael Burgess needs to lose weight, too. Despite a plus-arm, the Cubs have been working him out exclusively at 1B so far.

Thanks for telling it straight.

"Club" Colvin--it started out as boot camp but must have gotten less intense lately.

Thanks for the info, Phil.

Hate to hear that Golden is battling weight already at such a young age. Doesn't bode well for the future - weight has a way of cutting into a few of the five tools.

Local Mesa concierge mistakenly booked Golden and Burgess into Camp Hendry instead of Camp Colvin.

On the brightside, their donut 40 times are outstanding.

nice headline Phil

Its great to see Az Phil's minor league reports. Spring is here!

Fabulous story, Phil!

Thanks as always AZP.

Thanks Phil. No sightings or rumors of Burke moving to the mound yet?

Submitted by The Real Neal on Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:13am.
Thanks Phil. No sightings or rumors of Burke moving to the mound yet?


REAL NEAL: Not yet. He's still playing outfield.

Kyler Burke is eligible to be a Rule 55 minor league free-agent (6YFA) post-2012, so maybe he'll wait until then to decide to try pitching again (as happened with Ryan Harvey last year).

Z, Looper, Marshall, Dolis, Coello slated to pitch today vs. Rockies

the best chance of ever seeing a female GM, leaves the Dodgers to work for MLB and Joe Torre.

Kim Ng, who has been the Los Angeles Dodgers' assistant general manager since 2002 under three different general managers, is leaving the organization to accept a senior vice president's position with Major League Baseball, the commissioner's office announced on Tuesday morning.

That's a shame, I wanted to see her get a GM job somewhere, she can't do worse than some of these idiots and she's always gotten a lot of praise.

Taking a job in the MLB office doesn't mean she won't still be a GM.

But she moves away from day to day operations of a team.

forgot to link to the article but she says she still wants to be a GM and hopes this will make her a more well-rounded candidate

She had been with the Dodgers a long time, so probably best to move on and make some more connections around the baseball world.

Sandy Alderson just started with the Mets after a stint in MLB's offices. This may be a good move if her ultimate goal is a GM.

Edit: of course, Alderson was previously a GM, so the comparison may not be apt.

Why is it a shame? Nothing's stopping her from interviewing for future GM openings. Ng used to work for the American League. That didn't cost her an assistant GM job. No doubt it helped.

Derrek Lee still experiencing soreness in his wrist, off to see a specialist.

E. Volquez stuck in the Dominican trying to sort out his work visa...three cheers for red tape.

E-Patt still trying to be a major leaguer, now with the Padres.

... and John Grabow is...?


Asking random questions for $300 Alek.

$300... that's old school. :)

And John Grabow is...?
In Maine?

for all we know, he's floating face down in the clubhouse jacuzzi.

(jumps in)... and Leon's getting larger! (jumps out)

+1 as the kids like to say

Part of the problem with Volquez's visa is his PDA suspension according to... something I read over the weekend.

Derrek Lee still experiencing soreness in his wrist, off to see a specialist.

Scott Eyre isn't in O's camp, is he?

I still hate Eyre for that, along with his bragging to Chicago reporters at the time how he never worked out and ate McMuffins everyday.

And how he would retire on a big pile of money because of his investments.

interesting article on mechanics by Verducci, do wish he named everyone in the majors who has the "glitch".

The problem is the timing associated with that move, not the move itself. When Strasburg gets his elbows above his shoulders and the baseball is below or about even with his right shoulder, his stride foot is hitting the ground. The ball should be in the loaded position at that point, but because Strasburg uses the funky "high elbow" raise, he still has to rotate his arm above his shoulder to get it there. The energy from landing on his stride foot has passed too early to the shoulder and elbow -- before the joints are ready to use it.

No one around here will be surprised to learn that Prior apparently did.

(Some guys, such as Carlos Marmol of the Cubs, lead with their raised right elbow and may appear to be symptomatic, but manage to have the arm rotated up and into the loaded position by the time of foot strike. Young guys who get to the loaded position late who bear watching include Aaron Crow of Kansas City, Kyle Drabek of Toronto and Mark Rogers of Milwaukee, who already has had shoulder problems this spring.)

the HOF by wWAR (not that I can tell you which version of WAR that is)

Santo being the 5th best 3b-men of all-time

The chart suggests that wWAR is BRef's WAR weighted to give extra credit for good seasons and more extra credit for great seasons.

Whether that's necessary, YMMV.

Z goes 3 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 K, 0 BB and 0/1 with a K at the plate

Lineup was F. Perez, Castro, Colvin (0/2 with 2 K's), Soto, Baker, Fukudome, DeWitt, Moore, Z

against the lefty De La Rosa

B. Looper being B. Looper

3 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 3-run HR by someone named Pacheco

watching the dbacks kill cle pitching on MLB Network...16-3 after 8.

got to see paul goldschmidt (one of my favorite power hitters ive ever seen) get a little action, too. he K's too much to get hype or make prospect lists, but he can destroy a baseball and is built like a california redwood. i'm talking bonds/mcgwire roid-core shots off his bat.

Freddy Pacheco the fight doctor?

lulz...z.greinke broken rib...should miss the first month of the season.

broke it playing basketball.



evidently it was broken a "couple weeks ago" and he tried pitching on it without knowing he had that bad of a rib injury.

after it still being sore he got checked he's shut down for "at least" 2 weeks before he can restart his spring strength/endurance buildup to get ready for the season.

The good lord smites again


my fantasy team is very unhappy with this thing called basketball.

The problem with Wells last year wasn't BABIP, per say, it was BABIP in a single (first) inning. It comes down to a very sabermatic vs old school discussion on whether or not a pitcher has an control on how much damage they allow on balls in play.

I just wanted to feel good about the team for a while. The article is equally discouraging about the front office's decisions on the Garza trade. There was a comment about the FO being able to make the same chart that gave me a laugh

Since I was "stuck" with being at games when Wells pitched last year, including one where he gave up like 112 runs by the 2nd inning, I very non-sabremetrically believed that he had Angel-Guzman-itis where, after getting either two quick outs, or two strikes, he just would fall apart and not be able to seal the deal. This is one of the reasons why I truly admire a successful closer or set-up guy.

Those late outs are really tough to get.

In Wells' case, they were hard to get with the above scenario.

BTW - OT: Just launched the CHROME browser (Mac) yesterday. WOW! Speed!

Better than Firefox on Mac?

Much faster. Not sure about better, but much faster.

Though I haven't yet tried FF4.

I updated it. I'll give it another try. I had it before and hated the bookmark/tabs so I went back to firefox.

Recent comments

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  • Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?

    Hagsag 14 min 52 sec ago view
  • It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.

    Still impressive.

    John Beasley 16 min 39 sec ago view
  • Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.

    He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.

    billybucks 7 hours 11 min ago view
  • Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.

    Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.

    billybucks 7 hours 15 min ago view
  • 101 wins...most since 1910 (104).

    neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.

    crunch 7 hours 31 min ago view
  • Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?

    billybucks 7 hours 34 min ago view
  • Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump

    jacos 7 hours 38 min ago view
  • Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.

    billybucks 7 hours 42 min ago view
  • j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.

    felix pena, your turn.

    crunch 7 hours 44 min ago view
  • it's been a while since joe's over-managed a's gotta feel good for him to be back in the saddle making people's scorecards look like their pens blew up.

    crunch 8 hours 30 min ago view
  • Fuck a bench spot on the playoff roster, Coghlan is competing to bat cleanup.

    John Beasley 10 hours 46 min ago view
  • barely any...especially for an evening game. place looks 1/2 full at best to start the game.

    crunch 11 hours 8 min ago view
  • Listening on the radio. Are there any fans in the stands at all?

    Brick 11 hours 17 min ago view
  • "An MRI taken Monday on the right side of Jorge Soler showed no major damage."

    crunch 12 hours 18 min ago view
  • rare air though if he can keep it under 2. Sounds like Maddon already made up his mind though and Hendricks seems like the sort that would want to earn it. Guessing he gets a quick hook if he's still under 2 after 5 innings.

    Fwiw, he can give up 1 ER in 5 innings (or more) and still be under 2. If he gives up 2 ER, he would need throw 9 IP to keep it under 2. 1 ER in 4 IP would give him an ERA of exactly 2.

    In terms of WAR, it's still Scherzer by a lot (6.4), then Cueto (5.6), Lester (5.5), Kershaw (5.5), Roark (5.4), and then Hendricks (5.1)

    Rob G. 13 hours 32 min ago view
  • Boring lineup tonight in terms of guys trying to reach milestones -- no KB (40 HR), Addy (100 RBI) or JHey (can he keep it going?), and Lackey isn't really going for anything, plus the team has already reached 100 wins. I get the "rest" thing, although they will have 4 days off after Sunday, but....bleh.

    billybucks 14 hours 16 min ago view