Someone Left the Cash Out in the Rain
Carlos Pena crushed a three-run HR, Starlin Castro tripled, singled, scored a run, and knocked-in another, and Geovany Soto drove-in two runs with a wind-blown double, as the Cubs took a 7-4 lead after the top of the 4th inning in Cactus League action at damp and windy Tempe Diablo Stadium, in a game that was called due to rain after 3-1/2 innings before it was an official game.
Hoping to nail-down the 5th starter's job, Andrew Cashner got the start for the Cubs and pitched all three innings prior to the game being called. He allowed four runs (earned) on seven hits and two walks, with two strikeouts and a GIDP. He threw 67 pitches (only 38 strikes). needing 22 pitches to get through the 1st inning when the Angels scored twice, 20 pitches in a scoreless 2nd inning, and 25 pitches in another two-run Angel uprising in the 3rd. The damage could have been even worse (and the pitch count even higher), but the Angels ran themselves out of both the 1st and 2nd innings (runner thrown out trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on a two-out single in the 1st, and a strike-out & CS DP to end the 2nd).The Angels original lineup featured most of their starters (Aybar, Kendrick, Hunter, Wells, et al), but most of them left after only one AB, so Cashner actually struggled in the 2nd and 3rd innings against a minor leaguer lineup.
Cashner had all kinds of problems throwing strikes today, and while the gusty winds and light drizzle that fell for much of the game was probably a contributing factor, it really is not all that unusual for Cash to throw a high number of pitches-per-inning. The thing about Cashner is that he throws harder when he knows he is going to pitch just one inning, and can rely more on his high-velocity four-seamer to rack up strikeouts instead of throwing a two-seamer/slider/change-up combo that might or might not result in him throwing fewer pitches, but certainly will make him more hittable. Personally, I'll take the one-inning "let-it-all-hang-out" Cashner with the 98-100 MPH unhittable gas who goes aggressively after hitters, rather than the starter Cashner who tries to mix-up his pitches and induce ground balls like a hundred other run-of-the-mill MLB pitchers.
Given Cashner's performance today, I would say the jury is still out regarding the Cubs 5th starter. I guess it could be Cashner (although his high pitch counts will burn out a bullpen if it's not rested), or Carlos Silva or Braden Looper (despite neither pitcher looking like someone you would want on the hill starting a game every 5th day), or maybe Casey Coleman (who threw in a game at Minor League Camp last Saturday) will get the job by default.
The Cubs got on the scoreboard in the top of the 1st inning against Angels reliever Francisco Rodriguez (who made the start today, probably because of the wet conditions), as Kosuke Fukudome walked and Starlin Castro lined a single to left to start the game. After Marlon Byrd flied out to CF, Carlos Pena whacked a towering three-run HR high & far over the RF fence, with the ball last seen hopping merrily in the direction of eastbound I-10.
The Cubs scored twice more in the 2nd against RHP Kevin Jepsen when Darwin Barney reached on an E-4, and after Fukudome forced Barney at 2nd, Castro roped a triple into the left-center alley to score Fukudome, before Byrd singled to score Castro.
The Cubs finished their scoring in the 4th against RHP Rich Thompson. Fukudome blooped a single to short CF to lead-off the inning, and Pena walked with two outs, before Geovany Soto hit a sky-high wind-aided fly ball over the centefielder's head for a two-run double (although Soto was thrown-out inexplicably trying to stretch it into a triple).
Per Jesse Sanchez at mlb.com, Cubs reportedly have signed 20-year old Cuban OF Eddy Julio Martinez for $3M bonus.
BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).
TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.
TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.
Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.
Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.
Think Baby Maddux.
Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.
Kyle is on the far left.
I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.
Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.
That was good!
Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.
My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.
Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.
Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.
How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?
Call me lost.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.