Let's Play Twelve!
The EXST Giants defeated the EXST Cubs 4-1 in a pre-planned 12 inning Extended Spring Training game at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in Mesa.
Prior to this season, the EXST Cubs had one "Camp Day" per week (usually on Thursday), where the team would have a special workout to practice various drills, followed by an intrasquad game. This gave pitchers needing work an opportunity to throw as many innings in a game setting as deemed necessary.
But there are no "Camp Days" this season (EXST games are now scheduled every day Monday through Saturday, and players get Sundays off), so it's been a bit of a struggle to get all 24 of the EXST pitchers (plus rehab guys) enough opportunities for game action. Therefore, we have seen such things as simultaneous double-headers played on adjoining fields, or games extended beyond nine innings to allow a pitcher from one of the two teams to get an inning of work, or (like today) a pre-planned "extra inning" game.
Among the pitchers getting work today were two position players turned pitchers, RHP (ex-3B) Josh Lansford and LHP (ex-OF) Ryan Sontag. Also, RHP Julio Pena threw two inning of relief, since he was working on only three days rest after starting one of the games in Scottsdale last Monday. (So that means Su-Min Jung will probably get the start tomorrow).
Dwayne Kemp got a start at 3B today (the third different position he has played in his last three games), an indication that he is likely being groomed as a "super-sub" utility guy. Unfazed by constantly getting moved around in the field, Kempy continued his hot hitting, smashing a triple off the right-centerfield fence, although he followed that with a brain-fart baserunning gaffe, getting thrown out at the plate 4-2 trying to score on a grounder to 2B with no outs.
And Iowa Cubs RHP Justin Berg (at Fitch Park rehabbing from a sore shoulder the last couple of weeks) left EXST today, presumably en route to rejoin the I-Cubs. Berg looked good throwing an inning yesterday in Phoenix, getting four ground balls (his bread & butter).
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Hak-Ju Lee, DH #1: 1-5 (4-3, F-7, 2B, 1-3, K)
2. Jose Valdez, LF: 1-5 (5-3, 1B, F-7, 4-3, K - 1 R)
3. Matt Cerda, DH-C-2B: 1-4 (K, E-7 SF, 1B, F-9, F-8 - 1 RBI, 1 CS)
4. Jericho Jones, 1B: 0-5 (K, 6-5 FC, K-DP, F-9, K)
5. Logan Watkins, 2B-SS: 1-3 (E-4, 1B, BB, BB, 4-3)
6. Jae-Hoon Ha, CF: 2-5 (1B, 6-4 FC, 1B, 6-4-3 GIDP, 3-U - 1 SB)
7a. Jesus Morelli, RF: 0-2 (1-3, BB, K)
7b. Sean Williams, RF: 0-1 (K)
8. Alvaro Sosa, C-DH: 0-4 (3-U, 4-3, K, 4-3)
9a. Dwayne Kemp, 3B: 1-3 (3B, F-9, E-5)
9b. Jose Made, 3B: 0-0
9c. Juan Medina, C: 1-1 (1B)
10a. Robert Bautista, SS: 0-2 (4-2 FC, F-8 - 1 CS)
10b. George Matheus, SS-3B: 0-2 (K, 1-3)
1. Jeffry Antigua - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 1/4 GO/FO
2. Josh Lansford - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 2 GIDP, 4/1 GO/FO
3. Ryan Sontag - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 1 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1/3 GO/FO
4. Cody Hams - 1.0 IP, 0 H,0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 0/3 GO/FO
5. Julio Pena - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 1/1 GO/FO
6. Rogelio Carmona - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 1/1 GO/FO
7. Eduardo Figueroa - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 3/2 GO/FO
1. C Alvaro Sosa threw ball into CF (E-2) while trying to nab runner advancing to 2nd base on Passed Ball in top of the 5th allowing runner to advance to 3rd base, and runner eventually scored unearned run on SF.
2. 3B George Matheus made errant throw to 1st base allowing batter to reach safely with two outs and bases empty in the top of the 9th, and runner scored unearned run on RBI double by next batterr.
1. Alvaro Sosa - 1-1 CS, 1 PB, 1 E-2
2. Matt Cerda - 1-1 CS
3. Juan Medina - 0-4 CS
1. Dwayne Kemp led off bottom of the 3rd with a triple, and then was thrown out on a 4-2 FC trying to score on ground ball to 2B with no outs. Kemp also was thrown out at 2B trying to take an extra base after reaching on an E-5 throwing error with one out in the bottom of the 7th.
2. Matt Cerda was thrown out on a 6-5 FC while trying to advance trom 2nd base to 3rd base on a ground ball to SS with no outs in the bottom of the 4th.
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?