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May 23rd, 2016

Game 43 Recap: Cubs 3, Cardinals 4

A(nother) tough loss.

Box Score, Play Log, Game Graphs

W - Rosenthal (2-1), late-inning drama, Cubbery, Cardinals pinch-hitting

L - Warren (3-1), wasting great starts, confidence

Things to Take from This Game

1. Lackey makes it look easy, until...

 Lackey worked briskly, threw strikes, and had a good fastball and swing-and-miss slider--he K'd five consecutivey, early in the game. This was the sort of bulldog or workhorse mentality, take your pick, that we were promised with his off-season signing. For the first 6.3 innings it looked like RBI singles by Montero and Rizzo, and an RBI fielder's choice by Russell would hold up. Lackey finished with 4 hits and 1 walk allowed, and 9 strikeouts.

2. ... Adams continues Cards pinch-hit heroics

Take a look at the game graph, which nicely illustrates the late-inning drama. See that jagged move upward? Adams's pinch-hit game-tying home run moved the Cards' Win Expectency from 15.8% to 52%. It was really quite stunning, in the context of how effortlessly Lackey had been cruising along.

3. Grichuk saddles Warren with the loss.

Continuing the theme set by Lackey, Warren looked dominant for his first five batters, only to jar us out of whatever remaining sense of confidence we might have had. He rolled a slider, and the badly slumping Grichuk hit out to right for the game-winning home run.

Ademan Blast Leads Cubs to Victory

Aramis Ademan (2015 IFA - Dominican Republic - $2M bonus) blasted a three-run home run high over the RF fence and onto the south bank of the Red Mountain Freeway to cap a four-run sixth inning, as the Cubs rallied to defeat the Diamondbacks 5-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #5 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

Acquired by the Cubs from the Oakland A's for OF Chris Coghlan after the Cubs re-signed CF Dexter Fowler in February, RHSP Aaron Brooks (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL since Spring Training with a hip contusion) made his first Cactus League EXST game appearance, throwing one inning  (12 pitches - 8 strikes), and allowing no runs on two hits (a single and a double). His fastball velocity was 91-92 MPH, and he displayed a hard breaking ball.   

RHP Dylan Cease followed Brooks to the hill and worked three innings (63 pitches - 63% strikes), allowing three runs (all three earned) on five hits (two doubles and three singles) and two walks, with four strikeouts, and a 2/3 GO/AO. He also committed a two-base throwing error attempting to pick a runner off 1st base.  

Cease's fastball velocity sat consistently at 96-98 MPH, but he touched 99 twice and 100 once in the top of the third when he struck out the side (his only 1-2-3 inning). He also threw about a dozen curves (79-81 MPH) and about a half-dozen change-ups (82-84 MPH). He had trouble commanding his change-up (he bounced most of them), he hung a couple of curves that were hammered for line-drive hits, and he had trouble keeping his fastball at knee level (which is when it's virtually unhittable), leaving too many of his high-velocity offerings belt-high.  

Dylan Cease combined 2016 Cactus League EXST line (thru 5/23): 
6 games
2.95 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, .246 OppBA 
18.1 IP, 16 H, 6 R (6 ER), 9 BB, 25 K, 1 HBP, 0 HR, 2 WP, 2 PO, 1 BALK, 2 GIDP, 17/7 GO/AO, 307 pitches (61% strikes), 16.7 PITCHES-PER-INNING 

Prior to the EXST game on Field #5, RHSP Dallas Beeler (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL since Spring Training with right shoulder inflammation) and RHRP P. J. Francescon threw "live" BP on Field #4 (one inning and 25 pitches each).

Beeler was throwing in Cactus League EXST games last month and appeared to be close to moving-up to AAA Iowa, but then he was shut-down (mid-AB) in what was supposed to be his next-to-last rehab start on April 30th. So now it's back to square-one, with today's "live" BP outing his first step to get back to where he was last month. Barring any further medical setbacks, Beeler and Brooks should be in the Iowa starting rotation within about three weeks. 

Francescon was the closer at AA Tennessee last year and it looked like he would get a shot at advancing to AAA Iowa in 2016, but then he received a 50-game Drug of Abuse suspension from MLB last January that has left him throwing "live" BP, "sim" games, and intrasquad games at Extended Spring Training while he completes his "sentence." Francescon reminds me a bit of Rod Beck, with a pedestrian 88-90 MPH fastball used to set-up a dive-bomb splitter (his "swing & miss" pitch).   

Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only): 

May 22nd

May 21st

All That Jazz at Talking Stick

Jazz Chisholm (2015 IFA - Bahamas - $200K bonus) drilled two triples and an RBI single and scored a run and RHSP Pierce Romero tossed three innings of shutout ball, as the Diamondbacks edged the Cubs 3-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action Saturday morning on Ramada Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.

Marcus Mastrobuoni doubled twice, walked, and scored a run and Kevonte Mitchell singled twice, stole a base, and scored a run for the Cubs in a losing cause. 

Mitchell also turned-in the Defensive Play of the Game, an inning-ending run-saving diving catch on the warning track in right-centerfield in the top of the 3rd. He also started an 8-6-2 relay that cut-down a runner at home who was attempting to score from 2nd base on a double off the CF Batter's Eye (the runner went back to 2nd base to tag up before realizing that the ball was carrying over Mitchell's head, thanks to a nice catch-fake by one-time HS hoops star Mitchell). 

On the negative side, Mitchell was thrown out 7-5 attempting to advance from 1st to 3rd on a line-drive single to LF with two outs in the top of the 1st, thus making the third out of the inning at 3rd base.

So I guess you have to take the good with the bad.  

EXST Cubs RBI leader Isaac Paredes (2015 IFA - Mexico - $800K bonus) started his second consecutive game at 3B (he also played there in the intrasquad game on Thursday). It's very likely that he will eventually move to 3B (one scout who has been following the EXST Cubs projects Paredes as a catcher!), so the process to move him from SS to 3B may already have started. Paredes (who just turned 17 in February) is a VERY slow runner, but he has plus-HR & XBH power, he doesn't strike out a lot for a power-hitter (10% K-rate), and he has soft hands and a strong arm at SS (committing only one error so far in 15 Cactus League EXST games).   

Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only): 

Game 40 Recap: Cubs 8, Giants 1

Oh, dear god.

Box Score, Play Log, Game Graphs

W - Arrieta (8-0), Outfield Walls (Countless-1), rebuilding our run differential, staying up late

L - Peavy (1-5), Heyward's torso (1 of 1), Balls in McCovey Cove (1 of 104), getting up early

 

Things to Take from The Game

1. Cubs lose Heyward to probably-serious injury on certainly-best catch of the year.

Jason Heyward made a Jason Heyward catch running full-speed before making a leaping, twisting, belly-flop dive. He hit hard with his right side just before his left shoulder and face smashed into the outfield wall. He appeared to be in a lot of pain and was helped off the field by a couple of trainers. Early reports identified it as a "right torso and abnominal area" injury.

2. Soler has a very encouraging game.

Soler showed a good approach in his at bats, and was rewarded with a single and a home run, coming right after Zobrist put one in the Cove. Soler also had an extra-base-hit-robbing catch at the wall, and then an also helpful, if less-than-graceful, catch on another deep drive.

3. The pitching duel is exactly what we thought it would be.

Peavy looked every bit as bad as his line, and it could have been worse. The big damage was a Kris Bryant three-run home run. Arrieta had to wait through long Cubs half-innings, a replay challenge, and an injury delay, and didn't look like Peak Arrieta early on. He settled in though, and gave up just one run through seven, looking steadier the deeper he went in the game.

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  • Per Fangraphs...

    Bryant took over NL lead in WAR after yesterday's effort. 3.9. Rizzo's at 2.8 and 9th in the league. Rizzo actually with better offensive numbers (161 wRC+ versus 146 for Bryant), but Bryant gets a good bump because of defense and position(s) played.

    Fowler with a 2.8 WAR as well.

    M. Carpenter actually leads NL with 163 wRC+ just ahead of Rizzo who is 2nd.

    Rob G. 28 min 46 sec ago view
  • Amen

    jacos 1 hour 17 min ago view
  • @jonahkeri Joe Maddon living out Joe Maddon fanfic IRL tonight

    Rob G. 1 hour 38 min ago view
  • yes. I was at the Sean Marshall game in LF. Lou Piniella was managing. StL won 4-2, so I guess it didn't help but it was zany. Soriano/Reed Johnson and Marshall were the LF's.

    http://m.mlb.com/news/article/5854550/

    7-12-09

    http://scores.espn.go.com/mlb/boxscore?id=290712316

    On a 6 degrees of separation note: Cubs got Travis Wood in the trade that sent Sean Marshall to Cincy.

    Cubster 1 hour 48 min ago view
  • Make that 1-7, 4 RBI.

    billybucks 1 hour 48 min ago view
  • i like how strop played LF with his "crooked cap" look...that's not just for the mound.

    crunch 2 hours 34 sec ago view
  • let baez pitch the 15th, he earned it.

    crunch 2 hours 11 min ago view
  • Forget the save, finally Javier!!

    cubbies.4ever 2 hours 11 min ago view
  • Can a pitcher get more than one hold in a game? Or a Win and a save?

    cubbies.4ever 2 hours 14 min ago view
  • Didn't they do this sort of thing with Sean Marshall years back? Sticking him in LF to save him to face others, but without a pitcher replacing him in LF.

    cubbies.4ever 2 hours 23 min ago view
  • This is the most beautiful thing ever.

    Transmission 2 hours 27 min ago view
  • all i wanna know is...when's d.ross gonna pitch?

    crunch 2 hours 31 min ago view
  • Maddon is over-managing the shit out of this game.

    Rob G. 2 hours 33 min ago view
  • yeah. ...or not...

    i was a bit more confused why the guy who gave up a HR to votto last night was facing him with 2 men on.

    ...now that wood is coming in to pitch the following inning, the whole thing gets weirder. so like, okay.

    crunch 2 hours 33 min ago view
  • Javy 0-6. At least he's consistent.

    The E-Man 2 hours 42 min ago view
  • Sweet play.

    What's with the Travis Wood stuff? Is it because he pitched the last 2 games?

    Rob G. 2 hours 43 min ago view