Cubs Roll Nine Spot
Brad Snyder smacked a grand slam home run and Bobby Scales batted twice and drove in three runs with two singles to highlight a nine-run 7th, as the Cubs shutout the White Sox 13-0 before an all-time record crowd of 13,010 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park this afternoon in hot & sunny Mesa, Arizona.
The Cubs were held hitless through the first three innings, before they mounted a two-out rally in the bottom of the 4th against Sox right-hander Ehren Wassermann.
Mike Fontenot lined a single to center and Brad Snyder roped a single to right, before Koyie Hill slammed a double off the right field fence, driving in both runners and giving the Cubs a 2-0 lead.
The Cubs scored twice more with one out in the bottom of the 5th off Octavio Dotel, as Aaron Miles bounced a "seeing-eye" 15-hopper through box into centerfield, and Derrek Lee lined a "knucleball" single in front of Jermaine Dye in right. Micah Hoffpauir followed with a line single to right that plated Miles and sent D-Lee to 3rd, and then Lee scored on a 5-4 FC RBI by Aramis Ramirez.
The Cubs finished their scoring in the 7th, as Sox right-hander Adam Russell had one of those Innings from Hell a pitcher can experience sometimes in a Spring Training game.
Jake Fox got the inning started, as he was hit by a pitch. Hoffpauir then roped a single to right, before Aramis Ramirez reached base on an E-6 by Sox shortstop Brent Lillibridge on what should have been a "room service" DP ball. Bobby Scales lined a bases-loaded single to left-center to score Fox, and then Brad Snyder crushed a grand slam to deep right-center, giving the Cubs a 9-0 lead. (There is a contest in the bottom of the 7th, where some lucky fan can win $500 from one of the local Indian casinos if a Cubs player hits a grand slam...).
But the Cubs weren't done yet!
Welington Castillo drew a walk, and Sam Fuld and Doug Deeds singled to load the bases. Andres Blanco then singled to drive in two runs, and after Fox popped out and Steve Clevenger struck out, Luis Rivas drew a walk to reload the bases, and Scales followed with still another bases-loaded line-drive RBI single, this time driving in two runs.
All of the scoring overshadowed a fine group performance by the Cubs Pitchers.
Aaron Heilman got the start and was masterful, working two innings (22 pitches - 17 strikes - 2/0 GO/FO), allowing just one ground ball hit while striking out four and walking none. His sinker looked very good.
Kevin Gregg (19 pitches - 12 strikes 1/1 GO/FO) allowed a double while striking out one in his one inning of work, and Neal Cotts (20 pitches - 11 strikes - 0/3 GO/FO) labored a bit while allowing a hit (also a double) and a walk in his inning.
Rule 5 pick David Patton only threw nine pitches in the 5th, so Manager Lou Piniella sent him out for a second inning. Patton was (like Heilman) a strike machine today (26 pitches - 21 strikes), allowing just a harmless single while stiking out two
Ken Kadokura nibbled his way through the 7th (27 pitches - only 14 strikes), allowing a hit and a walk, but Jason Waddell got through the 8th in about two minutes, throwing only six pitches (resulting in one ground out and two fly outs).
Esmailin Caridad worked a scoreles 9th (17 pitches - 12 strikes - 1/1 GO/FO), although his outing was extended a bit longer than it should have gone when he committed a throwing error on an easy comebacker to the mound. But Caridad has good stuff and works fast, and he looks like he could be ready to pitch in the big leagues right now.
On defense, Doug Deeds made a fine catch crashing into the wall in LF in the 8th.
The Cubs are now 4-0 in Cactus League play, and will travel to Peoria tomorrow to play the San Diego Padres.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.
If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?
#Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.
Fun with FIP
- J. Hammel 3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
- J. Arrieta 2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
- J. Lester 2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
- K. Hendricks 2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
- J. Lackey 3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k
he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.
JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.
My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.
Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...