I-Cubs Get Thumped by River Cats
Nate Spears and Brad Snyder smacked home runs, but it wasn't enough, as the Sacramento River Cats (the Oakland A's AAA affiliate) scratched out a 10-5 victory over the Iowa Cubs this afternnon at the Papago Park Sports Complex in Phoenix.
Spears missed several games after being hit on the hand with a pitch last Saturday, but he returned to the scene of the crime (and the lineup) with a bang today, hitting the first pitch of the game over the RF fence.
The first three I-Cubs pitchers struggled, as Randy Wells and Dumas Garcia had difficulty throwing strikes, while Ken Kadokura was just plain awful (five runs on eight hits--including three doubles and a triple, in just two innings of work), but Justin Berg and Jeff Stevens retired the last six batters they faced, Berg with an easy 1-2-3 nine-pitch 7th (eight strikes and only one ball, resulting in a 6-3, Ks, and P-3), and then Jeff Stevens struck out the side in the 8th.
In Iowa Cubs roster news, hard-throwing 26-year old RHP Rocky Roquet (who has been terrible since reporting to the Iowa Cubs) has been traded to the Oakland A's for a PTBNL (Roquet was an NRI to big league camp), LHP Edward Campusano (another NRI to big league camp who got sentt back to Iowa) has been released (couldn't throw strikes, never really recovered from April 2007 TJS), and OF Richie Robnett (acquired from OAK in the Michael Wuertz trade, and then outrighted off the 40-man roster last week) and IF-OF Matt Camp have been demoted to AA Tennessee. So the Iowa Cubs roster presently stands at 33 (16 pitchers, four catchers, eight infielders, and five outfielders), with nine cuts left to make by the end of the week (the AA and AAA regular season roster limits are 24, not 25).
Here is today's abridged box score (Iowa Cubs players only). Randy Wells batted twice (including once after he had already been replaced on the mound) because he is being prepped as a rotation starter for Iowa, and the Cubs wanted him to get a couple of ABs in addition to extending his pitch count up past 50 (he was used as a one-inning reliever in Cactus League games before he was optioned to Iowa from big league camp).
1. Nate Spears, DH #1: 1-3 (HR, 6-3, 4-3, BB - 1 R, 1 RBI)
2. So Taguchi, RF: 0-4 (F-8, F-9, 5-3, 4-6-3 DP)
3. Esteban German, 3B: 1-3 (1B, 5-3, BB, 6-3 - 1 R)
4a. Randy Wells, P-DH #2: 0-1 (3-U SH, F-8)
5. Jake Fox, 1B: 0-2 (Kc, HBP, BB, F-8 - 1 R)
6. Brad Snyder, CF: 1-3 (4-3, 3-U, BB, HR, 1 R, 1 RBI)
7. Jason Dubois, LF: 2-4 (1-3, 2B, Ks, 2B - 1 R)
8. Mark Johnson, C: 2-3 (1B, F-8, BB, 2B - 2 RBI)
9. Andres Blanco, SS: 0-4 (P-4, 6-3, 4-3, Kc -1 RBI)
10. Luis Rivas, 2B: 0-3 (6-3, 5-3, L-8)
1. Randy Wells - 2.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 1 WP, 51 pitches (26 strikes), 6/1 GO/FO
2. Ken Kadokura - 2.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R (6 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 43 pitches (27 strikes), 3/1 GO/FO
3. Dumas Garcia - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 46 pitches (22 strikes) , 1/4 GO/FO
4. Justin Berg - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, nine pitches (eight strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
5. Jeff Stevens - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 17 pitches (10 strikes)
Not as a major factor, but could be a tie-breaker. But, yeah, on performance and experience, it's Coghlan.
Arrieta’s 2.85 ERA would be good enough to lead 26 other teams. He's 3rd on #Cubs behind Hendricks (1.99) and Lester (2.28)
Meanwhile on the SouthSide
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.