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!").
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.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?