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
Cardinal way #47
See ya on parrot chat
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.
It looked like the baserunner might have screened Russell some though it's still a play he should have made.
I wasn't thrilled with the use of Rondon in that situation. In save situations opponents have a 77 OPS. In non-save situations it's a 116 OPS. We had other relievers for that spot we could have used.
I'm not sure if it's his normal swing but it's obvious he can hit and he's always hit for power just not HRs so if it is his normal swing there's something else going on.
This article from spring training said he was trying to pull the ball a lot more:
Oh, thanks. I guess I should actually look at the schedule. Yay, 3-game road trip!
Good call, indeed. This ought to be a good series.
Sorry to nit-pick -- but the games against the Nats this week are at home.
Can't remember a worse weather-start to a season. Yuck.
Basically Russell booted a slam dunk DP grounder letting a run score. But he drove in the tying run in 9th. Just not their day, Rondon notwithstanding.
Didn't see the game, but it sounded like the Cubs gave away 2 runs with poor fielding. Bummer.
Well, it's been a fun diet of Reds, Brewers and Braves, but now the Cubs have to play real teams in May (Pirates, Nationals, SF, Cards and Dodgers) -- hope we are all still smiling when we wake up on Memorial Day.
He does seem out of synch. His body seems to start forward, then his arms sort of try to catch up -- if that's his normal swing, he will never hit for power. It's an all-arms slasher swing, but the timing seems off.
He is currently slugging .256 -- I realize the weather has been bad, but that's epically bad. Currently 92nd out of 94 qualified NL batters. Yikes.
Weird home stand -- 3-1, with 2 rainouts, vs. two teams that will lose 100 games. Feels oddly disappointing.
Miserable baseball weather all week -- hopefully better weather will get the bats going. Not just walking, but actually hitting.
That strike call on LaSterlla was terrible