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.
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.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.
O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already.
I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.
I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.
Enjoyable read on David Ross.
Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.
With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined).
BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.
If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).
As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).
I want my baseball team to win by playing better baseball. I don't want umps, fields, or fans to have anything to do with it.
Just with the chanting thing it worked to rattle Cueto last year where he dropped a ball and gave up a HR next pitch so you can't really hate on the fans for trying it again in this important of a game.
I felt the same way, too, but...
I was very disappointed with Pittsburgh fans. At Wrigley a few weeks ago, they were very obnoxious guests, the cockiness on Twitter, and what's the deal with chanting Arrieta's name during the game? Very bush league. Add that up with Rodriguez's poor sportsmanship and you quickly have a team that you don't mind beating 4-0 in a do or die game.