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)
The Cubs had some good runs and nice winning streaks that propelled them to the playoffs. Austin Jackson wasn't part of that. I don't quite understand what it is about Jackson that they are so enamored with.
I think the strike zone was very inconsistent, but it's hard to blame the loss on the ump. They had chances and mistake pitches and just couldn't cash in. Lackey ran the ball inside and outside very effectively.
Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.
Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell
if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.
I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth
Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.
Wtf is up w/that?!
Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...
I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.
Awesome stuff, Phil.
listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.
That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.
it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?
sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.
HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).
Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.
I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.
One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players.
CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.