Wells, It Could Have Been Worse
Ryan Cuneo homered and doubled (and just missed another HR when a long fly hooked foul at the last second), Pin Chieh Chen had three hits (a single, a double, and a triple), and Randy Wells saw his first game action since April 4th, but the EXST Angels got hits when they counted and induced three rally-killing double-plays, edging a split squad of EXST Cubs 5-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.
The game was extended an extra inning to allow all of the Angels and Cubs pitchers due to throw today to get their scheduled work.
Making his first appearance in a game since being placed on the 15-day DL on April 5th with a right forearm strain, Wells threw two innings (40 pitches), allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits (three singles, a double, and a triple), with no walks and two strikeouts, and a balk.
Wells retired the first man he faced on a fly out to left on a 2-2 pitch, before allowing a triple into the right-centerfield alley. A spectacular diving catch by CF Kyung-Min Na on a pop fly to short-center saved a run and another base-runner, but the next two batters ripped consecutive two-out RBI hits (a single and a double) to plate the Angels first two runs Wells then recorded the third out of the 1st inning on a 3-1 GO (where Wells had to double-time it to 1st base to just barely beat the batter to the bag).
Wells found himself in trouble again right at the outset of the 2nd inning when a fielding error put the Angels lead-off man on 1st base. A ground out moved the runner up to 2nd, before two singles (on consecutive pitches) drove-in the Angels third run. The big right-hander then got it together and struck out the final two batters he faced, both looking. (Of Wells 28 strikes, ten balls were put into play, three were fouled-off, 11 were called strikes, and four were of the swinging variety).
RHP Andrew Cashner (rotator cuff) is a bit behind Wells in his rehab, and was limited to throwing a "two-inning" (30 pitch) pre-game "live" BP session on Field #2. One of Cash's pitches hit Augie Ojeda on the foot, sending the diminutive veteran infielder to the clubhouse and knocking him out of the starting lineup of the game on Field #3. For Augie, Fitch Park must be starting to feel like The Hotel California.
While one squad of Cubs was playing the Angels at Fitch Park, the other squad (known as Squad “A”) traveled up the 101 Pima Freeway to the Talking Stick Resort to play the EXST Rockies at Salt River Fields. Unfortunately I can provide no information about that game.
Here is today’s abridged box score from the game played at Fitch Park (Cubs players only):
1. Pin-Chieh Chen, 2B: 3-4 (1B, 3B, 4-3, 2B+E9, R, RBI)
2. Dustin Geiger, 3B: 0-4 (6-4-3 DP, 6-3, K, K, RBI)
3. Ryan Cuneo, DH #1: 2-4 (HR, F-8, 2B, F-7, R, RBI)
4. Reggie Golden, RF: 0-4 (6-3, K, 1-3, 5-3)
5. Brian Inoa, DH #2: 2-4 (1B, F-7, 4-3, 3B, R, CS)
6. Eduardo Gonzalez, LF: 1-2 (F-7, BB, 1B, F-7 SF, RBI)
7. Johan DeJesus, C: 2-4 (2B, 5-4-3 DP, 6-4-3 DP, 1B)
8. Xavier Batista, 1B: 1-4 (K, 1B, K, K, CS)
9. Wes Darvill, SS: 0-3 (P-4, K, K)
10. Kyung-Min Na, CF: 1-3 (F-8, 6-3, 1B, R)
1. Randy Wells: 2.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 BALK, 40 pitches (28 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
2. Jose Rosario: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 5 K, 53 pitches (30 strikes), 4/2 GO/FO
3. Yilver Sanchez: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 37 pitches (24 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
4. Manolin DeLeon: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 16 pitches (10 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
1. SS Wes Darvill - E6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely – eventually scored unearned run)
2. SS Wes Darvill - E6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
3. SS Wes Darvill - E6 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)
4. 1B Xavier Batista - E3 (missed catch on what should have been a 6-3 GO allowed batter to reach base safely)
Johan DeJesus: 3-3 CS
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80’s
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.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.