5th Inning Funny Business Afoot at Fitch
Just missing a grand slam HR, 18-year old Korean OF Jae-Hoon Ha clubbed a bases-loaded triple high off the left-centerfield fence to cap a five-run 5th, and fellow 18-year old Korean Hak-Ju Lee (presently rehabbing from 2008 TJS at Fitch Park) doubled twice and drove-in two runs, as the EXST Cubs outlasted the EXST A's 10-7 at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in hot & sunny Mesa, AZ.
19-year old RHP Tarlandus Mitchell had the most-impressive outing of the four Cubs pitchers who worked today, tossing 2.2 IP of hitless ball. Mitchell may be only 5''8, but his mid-90's fastball really packs a wallop. The young Texan was an all-state football player (QB/DB) as well as a two-way star baseball player (P/OF) at Alto HS before getting drafted by the Cubs in the 22nd round of the 2008 Rule 4 Draft. He fell to the 22nd round only because he was considered a "tough sign" who was more-likely to play college football than pro baseball, but the Cubs are no doubt glad he chose a career in baseball.
Converted 3B Josh Lansford (son of Carney Lansford) also got an inning of work today and looked good, retiring the side 1-2-3 with one strikeout. Although his father and uncles were MLB third-basemen, his brother is a pitcher in the A's organization, and so maybe it's not surprising that Josh looks like a natural on the mound.
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Francisco Guzman, DH #1: 2-4 (L-5, K, 1B, BB, 2B - 1 R)
2. Jose Valdez, CF: 1-4 (F-8, BB, 1B, K, L-6 - 2 R)
3a. Matt Cerda, C: 1-1 (BB, 1B, BB - 2 R, SB)
3b. Juan Medina, C: 0-2 (L-8, 4-3)
4. Ryan Keedy, 1B: 1-3 (1B, BB, BB, 4-3, 1-3 - 1 R, 1 RBI)
5. Logan Watkins, 2B: 0-3 (K, FC, BB, F-9 - 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB, 1 CS)
6. Jesus Morelli, RF: 0-4 (6-3, 6-3, K, F-9)
7. Jae-Hoon Ha, LF: 1-3 (HBP, 6-3, 3B, 5-3 - 1 R, 3 RBI)
8. George Matheus, 3B: 1-4 (F-9, 1B, K, 6-3 - 1 R)
9. Robert Bautista, SS: 1-3 (1B, F-8 SF, K, 4-3 - 1 R, 1 RBI)
10. Hak-Ju Lee, DH #2: 2-4 (2B, K, 2B, 4-3 - 2 RBI)
1. Jon Nagel - 3.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 2 GIDP, 1 WP, 1 PO, 5/3 GO/FO
2. Josh Lansford - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/FO
3. Tarlandus Mitchell - 2.2 IP, 0 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 3 WP, 1/4 GO/FO
4. Eduardo Figueroa: 1.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R (4 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 1/2 GO/FO
NOTE: Figueroa's innings in both 8th & 9th were stopped before three outs after he reached the maximum pitch count for that inning ("roll it!").
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.
If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?
#Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.
Fun with FIP
- J. Hammel 3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
- J. Arrieta 2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
- J. Lester 2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
- K. Hendricks 2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
- J. Lackey 3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k
he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.
JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.
My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.
Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...
joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1
not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.
really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.
Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.
Classic Scully - great stuff.
Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)