A's Not Laughing at Ha Trifecta
CF Jae-Hoon Ha had three hits, scored three runs, and made three circus catches in the outfield, leading the EXST Cubs to a 13-5 drubbing of the EXST A's at the Oakland A's Minor League Complex at Papago Park in Phoenix this morning.
The 18-year old Ha singled and scored in the 1st, 5th, and 7th, and made a sliding catch in left-center in the 3rd, a dip-glove knee-high running catch in right-center in the 5th, and a leaping over-the-shoulder catch at the centerfield fence that took away a two-run home run in the bottom of the 6th. (On the latter play, Ha received a 9.9 from all the judges except the one from North Korea, who inexplicably gave him a 2.5).
The top five hitters in the Cubs lineup reached base an amazing 18 times (combined) today, scoring 11 of the Cubs 13 runs. Besides Ha's offensive contributions, lead-off hitter Logan Watkins reached base four times on a HBP, two walks, and a single, and scored three runs, DH Matt Cerda reached base four times on a double, a single, and two walks, scored three runs, and knocked in three more, clean-up hitter John Contreras had three hits, drove in three, and scored a run, and Sean Hoorelbeke reached base all four times he batted on a walk, two singles, and a double, and he also scored a run.
23-year old Dominican RHP Andres Quezada (converted from outfielder to pitcher a year ago) got the start for the Cubs and worked three solid innings, allowing just one run on three hits, while striking out two. I suspect Quezada could get a promotion to Peoria at any time.
And 20-year old Venezuelan RHP Robert Hernandez (at EXST rehabbing from a sprained ankle suffered the last week of Minor League Camp) worked two innings, but pitched a lot better than his line might otherwise indicate. Hernandez--pitching in front of friends and family from Venezuela--was the victim of shoddy Cubs defense in the bottom of the 5th, including two high pop ups that fell in the "Bermuda Triangle" between SS-LF-3B that SS George Matheus decided he just HAD to try to catch (even though an outfielder probably would have had an easier play) before losing both in the sun,,and a fielding miscue at 3B by the usually sure-handed Jose Made. (Made had an especially poor game, making two errors at 3B, and going 0-4 at the plate, including a strikeout and a GIDP).
Although he allowed two easy pop ups to fall for hits, Matheus did make one outstanding defensive play earlier in the game, ending the bottom of the 1st inning with a spectacular diving catch of a line drive headed toward CF, and then turning it into a 6-3 DP, saving Quezada a run.
18-year old RHP Adam Spencer (one of three teenaged Australian recruits at Cubs EXST) had a roller-coaster ride in the bottom of the 6th, allowing one run on a double and an RBI single, but (as Jack Brickhouse used to say) "It sure could have been worse!" Spencer was the beneficiary of the Ha HR take-away catch, plus another fine play, this one a running over-the-shoulder catch in right-field foul territory by the sometimes defensively-challenged 1B Sean Hoorelbeke.
RHPs Carlos Rojas and Manolin DeLeon each threw one inning, and while Rojas struggled to get through the 8th and allowed two runs (a walk, then a triple, and then an F-8 sac fly), EXST Cubs closer DeLeon had an easy 1-2-3 bottom of the 9th. Like Quezada, DeLeon could be the next pitcher to leave Fitch Park for Peoria (or Daytona).
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only). Note that Jose Guevara was assigned as the bullpen catcher, but he did get an AB in the top of the 8th as DH #3 (and lined a single to left).:
1. Logan Watkins, 2B: 1-2 (HBP, BB, BB, 1B, P-6 - 3 R, 1 PO)
2. Jae-Hoon Ha, CF: 3-5 (1B, F-7, 1B, 1B, 6-3 - 3 R)
3. Matt Cerda, DH #1: 2-3 (1B, BB, BB, 2B, K - 3 R, 3 RBI)
4. John Contreras, DH #2 - C: 3-5 (6-3, 1B, 1B, 1B, L-8 - 1 R, 3 RBI)
5. Sean Hoorelbeke, 1B: 3-3 (BB, 1B, 1B, 2B - 1 R)
6. Jesus Morelli, RF: 1-4 (1-U, K, 5-3, 1B - 1 R, 2 RBI)
7. Alvaro Sosa, C - DH #2: 1-3 (BB, 4-3, K, 3B - 1 R, 1 RBI)
8. George Matheus, SS: 1-4 (FC, 1B, 3-U, E-5 - 1 CS)
9. Sean Williams, LF: 1-4 (5-3, 1-3, 1B, K)
10. Jose Made, 3B: 0-4 (K, 6-3, 6-4-3 GIDP, F-9)
11. Jose Guevara, DH #3: 1-1 (1B + E-7)
1. Andres Quezada - 3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 3/4 GO/FO
2. Robert Hernandez - 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 2/2 GO/FO
3. Adam Spencer - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 2/3 GO/FO
4. Carlos Rojas - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 0 K 1/2 GO/FO
5. Manolin DeLeon - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 0/2 GO/FO
Two errors by 3B Jose Made, both while attempting to field grounders, and one of the errors resulted in an unearned run scoring.
ATTENDANCE: 10 (mostly The Robert Hernandez Fan Club)
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.
a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...
it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.
soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.
he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.
j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.
so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.
im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.
That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.
9 pitches in and this game already rules.
HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).
...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.
First time I saw Herrera was yesterday. He took like 100 pitches, fouled off a ton off Lester.
Very nice young player and perfect leadoff guy.
Obviously not Phil. But he mentioned this on Wednesday.
"Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day is Saturday June 4th, so probably about 8-10 pitchers and position players presently at EXST in Mesa will be sent to the Cubs Dominican Academy (probably sometime this week) and be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2."
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