Cubs Flush Royals at HoHoKam

Alfonso Soriano belted a two-run home run, Mike Fontenot drove in two runs with a homer and a double, So Taguchi drove in three runs with a bases-loaded triple, Joey Gathright scored three runs and drove in one, and Derrek Lee had an RBI double, as the Cubs drubbed the Kansas City Royals 9-1 in afternoon Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa this afternoon, before 8,987 fans under overcast skies and in mid-60's temperatures

box score

The Cubs got off to a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st off Royals starter Brian Bannister, as Mike Fontenot walked with one out and scored on a Derrek Lee RBI double roped to left-center.

The Cubs scored three more in the bottom of the 2nd. Micah Hoffpauir pulled a line single to right, was sacrificed to 2nd base by Aaron Miles on a pretty 1-3 SH, advanced to 3rd on a ground out, and scored on an RBI single to center by Joey Gathright. With Royals pitcher Bannister somewhat distracted by Gathright breaking off 1st, Alfonso Soriano took the opportunity to drive a home run far over the LF fence to the base of the scoreboard, giving the Cubs a 4-0 lead.

After the Royals scored in the 3rd, the Cubs put another run on the board in the bottom of the 4th, Gathright reached base on a 4-6 FC following a lead-off single by Miles, and advanced to second when new Royals pitcher Jamey Wright overthrew 1st base on a pick-off attempt. Gathright then came around to score on a two-out opposite-field near-HR double sliced off the left-centerfield wall by Fontenot.

Fontenot hit a solo HR over the rightfield fence leading off the bottom of the 7th to put the Cubs up 6-1, and then the Cubs really broke the game open in the bottom of the 8th, scoring their final three runs off ex-Cub Kyle Farnsworth.

With one out, Aaron Miles and Paul Bako blooped singles to the outfield, and Gathright drew a walk. So Taguchi then smoked a liner to the wall in left-center, driving in all three runners, and giving the Cubs a 9-1 lead. 

In addition to the various scoring scenarios, Micah Hoffpauir had two hits, the 2nd inning single and then a two-out opposite-field double in the bottom of the 5th that just missed going out over the left-centerfield fence. (Hoffpauir was left stranded).

While the Cubs offense was unusually productive today, the pitching was just as good. 

RHP Chad Gaudin got the start, and had his best outing of the Spring. He worked two shutout innings (28 pitches - 17 strikes, 3/2 GO/FO), allowing just one harmless single, (rubbed out by a nifty 4-6-3 DP turn), with no walks and one strikeout (Willie Bloomquist)  

Jeff Samardzija entered the game in the top of the 3rd, and had a solid outing. The Shark  did allow a run on two singles and a wild pitch in the 3rd (when he needed to throw 23 pitches to get out of the inning), but then he settled down and got through the next two innings on just 17 pitches (combined), retiring the last seven batters he faced, and putting up a final line of 3.0 IP, 2 H,1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K. and 1 WP,.40 pitches - 28 strikes, 5/2 GO/FO.

Kevin Gregg worked a 1-2-3 6th (two ground outs and a strikeout-swinging), throwing 16 pitches (nine strikes).

LHP Jason Waddell pitched the 7th and had another fine outing, racking up a couple of strikeouts (including lefty swingers Shane Costa and Mike Jacobs), while allowing just one harmless single to right-handed swinging DH Billy Butler, before retiring another lefty hitter (Alex Gordon) on an infield pop up. Waddell once again worked EXTREMELY fast, almost "quick-pitching" the KC hitters. He remains in the running for a possible bullpen job in Chicago, although he is still a "long-shot." But at least he appears to be claiming the #1 lefty bullpen job at AAA Iowa, while making a very favorable impression on Manager Lou Piniella and Pitching Coach Larry Rothschild.

Esmailin Caridad had a nine-pitch (seven strikes) 1-2-3 8th (an infield pop up and two 1-3 comebackers to the mound), and Randy Wells got through the 9th on only seven pitches in still,another 1-2-3 inning (a 4-3 GO, a 6-3 GO, and an L-7). And Caridad broke a couple of bats in his inning of work.

Defensively, Mike Fontenot made an outstanding over-the-shoulder catch in short-RF in the top of the 1st inning, and Aaron Miles made a couple of nice plays, one deep in the hole at SS, and then another really nice back-handed stop & throw from behind the third base bag. (He started the game at SS, and then moved to 3B). Miles showed he has PLENTY of arm from both deep in the hole at SS and from behind the 3B bag. It would appear he is perfectly capable of being the #1 back-up at both SS and 3B, although I certainly wouldn't say he is an upgrade over Mark DeRosa as a possible long-term Plan "B" at 3B should something bad happen to Aramis Ramirez in 2009. (I still wish the Cubs hadn't traded DeRosa, especially since it turned out that trading DeRo had no connection to the Cubs acquiring Jake Peavy).

The Cubs will travel to Peoria tommorow to play the Seattle Mariners, before the club gets a rare day off on Wednesday.

Team Japan (featuring the likes of Ichiro Suzuki, Kosuke Fukudome, Kenji Johjima, and Daisuke Matsuzaka) will play the Cubs at HoHoKam on Thursday, in preparation for the start of the WBC semi-finals in San Diego on Sunday. It should be interesting to see so many high-quality Japanese players together on the same team. I'm looking forward to it!

Comments

Netherlands pitcher deflects a sure double play...bases now loaded with 1 out instead.

didnt score on wild pitch
nice tension for a March baseball game

Ryan Theriot at third base or something, ball gets away and he stays at third.

pop up made looked hard

Holy shit they got out of the bases loaded one out situation.

1-0 Dutch masters.

Today could be the day of untelevised upsets in the WBC. Italy beating Canada 5-2 in the 7th, the Netherlands beating Puerto Rico 1-0 in the 8th, Korea beat Japan 1-0 early this morning. Watch out, Mexico.

Netherlands/Puerto Rico is on MLB Network, isn't it?

Okay. Untelevised for those of us still on basic cable who don't get ESPN Deportes or MLB Network.

yes...and i can't believe this SHIT netherlands pitching is unscored upon. some of these kids marched out tonight (besides literally being kids...one dude was 19) would have a hard time making a AAA roster.

PR just took the lead, barring a 9th inning comeback, Netherlands will lose.

The WCC championship game is on. Patty Mills and the St. Mary's Gaels. Come on guys watch something cool at least! (jealous I don't have MLB Network/Deportes)

Luckily both were on MLB.com, and I already purchased access for the non-WGN Cubs games this summer. Both were pretty good games, especially for March.

Corey Koskie, your flight to Phoenix departs in an hour...

I say the Cubs send AZ Phil to the Netherlands for some scouting.

In an unsurprising turn of events Mexico beat South Africa 14-3. Adrian Gonzalez hit two 2-run HR's & a 2B with 6 RBI. Ex-Cub Factor is in effect - Jerry Hairston 1-3 2BB 2R & Augie Ojeda 0-4 with a BB.

By my count, RSA has exactly one affiliated player, and that's Mariners Hi-A SS Anthony Phillips. Here's your clear sign of their talent level - career 1.42 WHIP Elmer Dessens, who is close to 3 BB/9, got through a FULL SIX INNINGS while staying under the 70 pitch limit.

AZ, thanks for the positive words about Miles. I'm about half sick and tired of all these yahoos comparing him to Neifi. Last time I checked, Crusty is in Cincy. In Lou and Jim I trust.

I have no problem whatsoever with Miles being the primary back-up. Here are the lines so far in ST:

Fontenot: .367/.406/.800 (30 AB)
Miles: .222/.276/.222 (27 AB)

I think we can stop the "400 ABs for Miles" silliness now.

On an unrelated note, I have a daily desktop Cubs calendar, and the Cubs fact for yesterday read:

"In between games of a Memorial Day doubleheader at Cubs Park in 1922, Chicago and St. Louis traded outfielders. The two players, Max Flack (1916-22) and Cliff Heathcote (1922-32) simply switched uniforms and ended up playing for two different clubs in a single day."

How wild is that?

Totally agree

Miles has a career line of 289/329/364 OPS of .693

Neifi had a career line of 267/297/375 OPS of .672

Obviously these guys are night and day difference!!!!

Not to mention the grit,scrap,hustle and fundamental soundness that Miles brings to the table on top of everything else.

What a sparkplug!!!

Neifi was actually a real good defensive player too...not sure you can say that about Miles.

Neifi wasn't ever coming off a year with a 99 OPS+, either.

In fact, if you're curious what that was, it was a 75 when he was a Cub in 2005 - 274/298/383.

The thing to keep in mind is that (assuming Lou doesn't lose his marbles and actually try and get Miles 400 ABs) we didn't trade DeRo's numbers for Miles' numbers, we traded DeRo's numbers for Fontenot's numbers, and since DeRosa had a career year last season, that shakes out to be:

DeRosa - .285/.376/.481 (.857 OPS in 505 ABs at 33 yrs old)
Fontee - .305/.395/.514 (.909 OPS in 243 ABs at 27 yrs old)

Barring injury, Miles should be a true back-up, and we used the savings from trading DeRosa to also improve RF by getting Bradley. If we were ever going to give Fontenot a chance to play regularly, this would be the season. I will go to my grave thinking that when the DeRosa trade was made, Hendry thought he could still get the Peavy deal done. He just had too many balls in the air at once... trading DeRosa away won't make or break us, but it sure makes a lot more sense in the context of getting PV...

I'd take Derosa over Fontenot any day of the week, including Sunday.

IMO, the only thing DeRosa has going over Fontenot is versatility. You can write it down now - DeRosa will NEVER match the numbers he put up last season again.

I'd rather have Fontenot at 2B and Bradley in RF than DeRosa at 2B and Fukudome in RF, to be sure...

"I'd rather have Fontenot at 2B and Bradley in RF than DeRosa at 2B and Fukudome in RF, to be sure..."

Well, esentially you're replacing Pie with Bradley (since Fuku appears he's going go get most of the starts in center). So, obviously that's a not a choice at all.

I'd rather have DeRosa AND Bradley w/Fonte coming off the bench (instead of Miles) and that was possible, except management wanted to spend 2 M on Miles instead of 6 M on DeRosa.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, 4 million dollars to the Cubs organization is nothing. Don't play the "save money" card if you're the Cubs. I refuse to buy it. "Let's throw 800K at Joey Gathright even if he gets cut" nonsense tells me otherwise.

I would argue that it wasn't 4 million dollars at the time DeRosa was traded, though - I assume we were still in heavy dealings to get Peavy here, and that would have been a lot bigger contract to take on. In that context, along with Fontenot's upside versus the gamble that DeRosa could repeat his career year at 34, I can see why DeRosa was traded. Since we didn't get Peavy, the whole DeRosa trade seems a little silly...

"we used the savings from trading DeRosa to also improve RF by getting Bradley."

Last year Cub rightfielders scored 100 Runs and drove in 71 if I recall correctly.

I'm gonna go out on a limb and predict that DH Bradley won't match that in RF this year.

I'm assuming you used the stats for all 162 games started by Cubs players in RF last season to get the 100 runs and 71 RBI

If so, it's not at all a stretch to think that Cubs RFs this season can exceed those totals, especially if Bradley plays 120 games.

AZ Phil......Will you be venturing over to Fitch to check on the minor leagers who started workouts today? Do they post the rosters and the spring schedules in the clubhouse? Any info you post is greatly appreciated.

Recent comments

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  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 4 hours 58 min ago view
  • 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.

    johann 7 hours 55 min ago view
  • 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.

    crunch 8 hours 8 min ago view
  • 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.

    The E-Man 8 hours 17 min ago view
  • 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.

    The E-Man 8 hours 22 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 8 hours 40 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 9 hours 16 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 9 hours 34 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 9 hours 36 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 9 hours 54 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 10 hours 1 min ago view
  • so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.

    im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.

    crunch 10 hours 57 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 11 hours 14 min ago view
  • 9 pitches in and this game already rules.

    HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).

    ...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.

    crunch 11 hours 19 min ago view
  • First time I saw Herrera was yesterday. He took like 100 pitches, fouled off a ton off Lester.

    Very nice young player and perfect leadoff guy.

    The E-Man 12 hours 29 min ago view
  • Obviously not Phil. But he mentioned this on Wednesday.

    "Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day is Saturday June 4th, so probably about 8-10 pitchers and position players presently at EXST in Mesa will be sent to the Cubs Dominican Academy (probably sometime this week) and be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2."

    In the comments here: http://www.thecubreporter.com/05242016/cub-power-d...

    QuietMan 13 hours 8 min ago view