Joe Mather clubbed a three-run home run, Brett Jackson slugged his second home run in two days, and Jay Jackson threw three perfect innings, as two squads of Cubs played to a 3-3 tie in a five-inning intrasquad game played under sunny skies this afternoon at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.
After reaching base four times yesterday on a solo a HR, a double, and two walks, B. Jackson picked-up right where he left off, ripping a HR into the upper bullpen beyond the RF fence off LHP Chris Rusin to give the Sveum Squad an early 1-0 lead. (B. Jackson’s HR yesterday also came off a LHP).
Joe Mather took Trey McNutt deep with a three-run dinger off the LF scoreboard in the bottom of the 4th to give the Sutcliffe Squad a 3-1 lead, but B-Jax drew a lead-off walk to spark a two-run rally in the top of the 5th that tied the score. Dave Sappelt (acquired from CIN in the Sean Marshall deal) followed Jackson’s base on balls with a line-drive RBI triple off the CF batter’s eye 410+ feet to straight-away center to score Jackson, and then after Adrian Cardenas walked, Anthony Rizzo lofted a sacrifice fly to left-center to score Sappelt with the tying run.
RHP Jay Jackson got the start for the Sveum Boys, and threw three innings of perfect baseball (1 K and a 4/4 GO/FO), efficiently mowing down the opposition on just 32 pitches (22 strikes).
The Sutcliffe Band of Brothers reversed their fortunes in the bottom of the 4th, however, as Tony Campana ignited the inning with a drag bunt single down the 1st base line. Campana just plain outran the defense, sliding head-first into 1st as 1B Anthony Rizzo made a desperation toss to 2B Bobby Scales covering at 1st base.
Once on base, Campana seemed to rattle pitcher Trey McNutt, eventually stealing 2nd base before Jim Adduci worked a walk on a 3-2 pitch. Campana was then caught red-handed halfway between 2nd & 3rd, but he somehow managed to survive the “hot box,” getting into a run-down before eventually jitterbugging past a defender and sliding into 3rd base amidst a cloud of dust. (Adduci moved-up to 2nd on the play), After Jae-Hoon Ha was called out on strikes on a close 3-2 pitch, Joe Mather sent a hanging McNutt slider high & far over the LF fence.
Matt Szczur followed up yesterday’s 3-4 six-RBI day by reaching base in both of his two plate appearances today, drawing two walks and showing a lot of patience and a good eye in the process.
No doubt the People’s Choice at HoHoKam Park right now is Tony Campana. The fans absolutely LOVE this guy. Besides his bunt single and the daring base-running, Campana also made a couple of eye-opening plays in the field this afternoon, running a half-mile and making a head-first diving attempt at catching a pop-up in foul territory down the LF line early in the game (a ball that Alfonso Soriano would not even have thought about chasing), and then rescuing CF Jae-Hoon Ha by running full-tilt to catch a fly ball in dead-center that Ha lost in the sun. I suppose it’s just his combination of hustle, spirit, and exuberance, but the fans cheer wildly every time Campana comes to the plate or gets on base.
I wouldn't be surprised if Campana ends up playing CF and hitting lead-off for the Cubs on Opening Day. What will happen to Marlon Byrd I cannot say, but Campana seems to be in the right place at the right time right now.
The Cubs play their first “official” Cactus League Spring Training game against the Oakland A’s in Mesa tomorrow afternoon. Rodrigo Lopez will is reportedly get the start.
There is no official scorer at Spring Training intrasquad games, so here is today’s unofficial box score:
SVEUM SQUAD LINEUP:
1. Dave Sappelt, CF: 1-3 (K, F-9, 3B, R, RBI)
2. Adrian Cardenas, 3B: 0-2 (F-8, L-7, BB)
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B: 0-2 (F-9, K, F-7 SF, RBI)
4. Steve Clevenger, DH: 1-2 (1B, F-8)
5. Micah Gibbs, C: 1-2 (5-4-3 DP, 2B)
6. Jonathon Mota: SS: 0-1 (BB, L-8)
7. Matt Szczur, LF: 0-0 (BB, BB)
8. Bobby Scales, 2B: 0-2 (K, L-9)
9. Brett Jackson, RF: 1-1 (HR, BB, 2 R, RBI)
SUTCLIFFE SQUAD LINEUP:
1. Tony Campana, LF: 1-2 (4-3, 1B, R, SB)
2. Jim Adduci, RF: 0-1 (4-3, BB, R)
3. Jae-Hoon Ha, CF: 0-2 (F-7, K)
4. Joe Mather, 1B: 1-2 (5-3, HR, R, 3 RBI)
5. Welington Castillo, C: 0-2 (F-7, 5-3)
6. Edgar Gonzalez: SS: 1-2 (6-3, 1B)
7. Alfredo Amezaga, 2B: 0-2 (L-8, 4-6-3 DP)
8. Blake Lalli, DH: 0-1 (K)
9. Matt Tolbert, 3B: 0-1 (F-7)
SVEUM SQUAD PITCHERS:
1. Jay Jackson: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 32 pitches (22 strikes), 4/4 GO/FO
2. Trey McNutt: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 1 GIDP, 29 pitches (19 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
NOTE: McNutt’s first inning was stopped with bases empty and one out when he reached his max pitch limit for that inning.
SUTCLIFFE SQUAD PITCHERS:
1. Chris Rusin: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 1 GIDP, 54 pitches (29 strikes), 2/4 GO/FO
2. Alberto Cabrera: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 0 K, 43 pitches (22 strikes), 0/4 GO/FO
NOTE: Cabrera’s final inning was stopped with runner on 2nd base and one out when he reached his max pitch limit for the game.
SVEUM SQUAD ERRORS: NONE
SUTCLIFFE SQUAD ERRORS: (1)
P Chris Rusin E-1 - errant pick-off attempt at 2nd base allowed runners at 1st & 2nd to advance a base.
Micah Gibbs: 0-1 CS
Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...
Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, AJackson, Castro, Montero, Hendricks, Russell
I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.
Awesome stuff, Phil.
listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.
That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.
it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?
sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.
HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).
Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.
I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.
One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players.
CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.
Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.
As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?
AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?
Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.
AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.
I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.
But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.