Cubs Out-Fox Sox at Camelback Ranch
Jake Fox had three hits and drove in five runs with a two-run double and a three-run homer, Milton Bradley drove in three runs with a two-run home run and an RBI single, Alfonso Soriano drove in two runs with a solo HR and an RBI single, and Sean Marshall started the game and pitched five strong innings (getting ten ground balls), as the Cubs drubbed the White Sox 13-2 in Cactus League action at Camelback Ranch this afternoon
I was not at the game, but I can provide the scoring summary:
Top of the 3rd (Cubs batting versus LHP Mark Buehrle): Alfonso Soriano hit a solo HR and Ryan Theriot singled with one out, and then Milton Bradley hit a two-run HR with two outs.
Cubs lead 3-0
Bottom of the 3rd (White Sox batting versus Sean Marshall): Left-handed hitter Dewayne Wise singled with one out, and scored on a two-out double by left-handed hitter Chris Getz.
Cubs lead 3-1
Top of the 4th (Cubs batting versus LHP Mark Buehrle): Mike Fontenot singled leading off the inning, and scored on a two-out RBI double by So Taguchi. Alfonso Soriano singled to score Taguchi, and Ryan Theriot walked, advancing Soriano to 2nd. Then Reed Johnson singled scoring Soriano from 2nd, (RHP Jack Egbert relieved Buehrle). Milton Bradley singled, scoring Theriot. Jake Fox doubled, scoring R. Johnson and Bradley, and then Mike Fontenot singled, but J. Fox was thrown out at the plate by White Sox RF Brian Anderson trying to score frrom 2nd....
Cubs lead 9-1
Bottom of the 5th (White Sox batting versus Sean Marshall): Josh Fields hit a solo HR leading off the inning.
Cubs lead 9-2
Sean Marshall pitched five innings, allowing two runs (both earned) on five hits (two singles by Paul Konerko and one by Dewayne Wise, the Chris Getz RBI double, and the solo HR by Josh Fields), no walks, one HBP (Carlos Quentin), and a WP, while striking out three (Jim Thome twice and Alexei Ramirez once), with a phenomenal 10/2 GO/FO.
Top of the 6th (Cubs batting versus RHP Scott Linebrink ): Ryan Theriot singled leading off the inning, PH Micah Hoffpauir walked with one out, and Jake Fox hit a three-run home run.
Cubs lead 12-2
Top of the 7th (Cubs batting versus RHP Randy Williams): Koyie Hill singled leading off the inning, and then Andres Blanco and Bobby Scales singled with two outs, with Scales driving in K. Hill.
Cubs lead 13-2
The Cubs also loaded the bases in the top of the 8th with two outs versus RHP Lance Broadway (Estaban German and Mark Johnson singled and Joey Gathright walked to load the bases), but Nelson Perez (up from minor league camp) struck out.
Jeff Samardzija, Luis Vizcaino, Mike Stanton, and Chad Fox each worked one shutout inning of relief for the Cubs...
Samardzija allowed a one-out single to Jim Thome in the 6th before striking out Ben Broussard and A,. J. Pierzynski, Vizcaino pitched a 1-2-3 7th inning (striking out Gordon Beckham and Josh Fields and then getting Wise on a GO) Stanton allowed a one-out single to left-handed hitting Getz and a two-out walk to left-handed hitting Thome in the 8th with a 1/2 GO/FO (no strikeouts), and Chad Fox pitched the bottom of the 9th and allowed a two-out single to Fields and struck out two (Beckham and Wise).
I think it's fairly obvious that Jake Fox can hit, and he probably has the most power of any player in the Cubs minor league system. The problem is, his best position is DH, but if he stays in the N. L., his only chance to DH is a couple of weeks in June during interleague play and then (maybe!) in the World Series.
Fox is a defensive liability no matter where he plays, but it looks like the position where he might have a chance to become at least passably mediocre is 1st base, and so it appears that the Cubs have decided to get him as many reps as possible there, which is probably why he hasn't played any LF, RF, 3B, or catcher so far this Spring, even occasionally.
Fox will likely play 1B at Iowa in 2009,and perhaps could get a call-up for interleague play, where he can platoon with Hoffpauir at DH, and then again on September 1st, when he can spend the month of September hitting off the bench as the Cubs #1 RHPH (presuming he can handle that duty).
Unfortunately, Foxy's long-term future is probably not with the Cubs.
The Cubs (and Jake Fox) return to Mesa tomorrow to face the Seattle Mariners at Ho Ho Kam Park
2nd in defensive WAR, NL.
6th in NL in RBI
Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.
Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
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.