Cubs Dump A's 7-5 at Fitch Park

Matt Cerda drove in three runs on an RBI single and two sacrifice flies, leading the EXST Cubs to a 7-5 victory over the EXST A's in Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in Mesa.

In addition to Cerda's contributions to the offense, Logan Watkins reached base three times on two walks and an RBI triple, Alvaro Sosa had four singles, and Jose Valdez had two hits and stole three bases. 

RHP Josh Whitlock (2008 26th round draft pick out of the U. of West Virginia) made his first appearance with the EXST Cubs after getting demoted from Peoria yesterday, allowing two runs in two innings of work. He labored a bit and struggled with his command, essentially the same problem he had at Peoria.   

Also, RHP Robert Hernandez was virtually unhittable in his two innings, retiring all six hitters he faced on four strikeouts, an infield pop up, and a weak ground ball to 2B. Hernandez is at EXST rehabbing from a sprained ankle suffered while pitching for Daytona during the last week of Minor League Camp 

And RHP Cedric Redmond (rehabbing from broken finger) finally made his first game appearance of 2009, tossing a scoreless extra half-inning that was tacked onto the end of the contest after the Cubs had already won the game. 

While the Cubs and A's played on Field #3, six Cubs pitchers needing work (Yohan Gonzalez, Gian Guzman, Cody Hams, Marcos Perez, George Pineda, and Ryan Sontag) threw two innings a piece (15 pitches each inning) in a six-inning simulated game on Field #2, facing John Contreras, Sean Hoorelbeke, Jose Made, and Chris Weimer.

Hot-hitting INF Dwayne Kemp is out of action for a few days with a quad injury.    

Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only)...

LINEUP:
1. Jose Valdez, CF:  2-4  (4-3, 1B, 1B, K - 2 R, 3 SB)
2. Logan Watkins, DH #1:  1-2  (BB, 3B, BB, L-7 - 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB, 1 CS)
3. Matt Cerda, 2B:  1-1  (BB, F-7 SF, F-7 SF, 1B - 1 R, 3 RBI)
4. Jericho Jones, DH #2:  2-4  (1B, 6-3, 1B, 5-3 - 1 RBI)
5. Jesus Morelli, RF:  0-3  (F-9, HBP, F-8, 4-3 - 1 R, 1 SB)
6. Juan Medina, C-1B:  1-4  (1B, P-4, 4-3, K - 1 R)
7. Alvaro Sosa, 1B-C:  4-4  (1B, 1B, 1B, 1B)
8. George Matheus, 3B:  1-4  (6-4 FC, 6-3, 6-4 FC, 1B - 2 RBI)
9. Sean Williams, LF:  0-4  (6-3 GIDP, 6-3, 6-3, 1-3)
10. Robert Bautista, SS:  1-3  (1-3, K, 1B - 1 R, 1 SB)

PITCHERS:  
1. Jon Nagel - 3.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 5/0 GO/FO
2. Josh Whitlock - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 2/2 GO/FO
3. Josh Lansford - 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 4/1 GO/FO
4. Robert Hernandez - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 1/1 GO/FO
5. Cedric Redmond - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 0/2 GO/FO

ERRORS (2):
1. SS Robert Bautista - errant throw to 1st base (E-6) allowed batter to reach base safely with one out and nobody on base in the top of the 2nd inning.
2. 3B George Matheus - easy one hopper bounced off glove (E-5) allowing batter to reach base safely with two outs and the bases empty in the top of the 10th inning.

OUTFIELD ASSISTS:
RF Jesus Morelli threw out baserunner 9-5 trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on line-drive base hit to RF with two outs in the top of the 7th inning.

Comments

Thanks Phil -

Great as always. Question for you - did you get to see Starlin Castro last year in Arizona and if so, give us your impressions as he is really starting to perform well in A Ball. Also, I'm interested in your thoughts on our prospects with a month of the year under our belts. I've been pleasantly surprised by Vitters, Thomas, Jay Jackson and a few others recently. I'd love to get your thoughts on the top 10 or so since you know the system so well.

Thanks, Arizona Phil!

I'm disappointed to see Hernandez seems stuck as a reliever these days.

are they gonna give lansford all year to attempt this pitching thing?

his numbers look criz-appy so far...how he look in person?

Kevin Goldstein from baseball prospectus on Vitters:

Josh Vitters, 3B, Cubs (Single-A Peoria)
It's not easy being the only premium prospect in the system, but with three hits each game on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Vitters is hitting .407 in 16 games this year, and the power is beginning to show up in a major way, as the 2007 first-rounder hit his fourth home run of the year on Friday, and added a pair of doubles and his fifth homer on Sunday. Early on, scouts were calling Brett Lawrie the best young hitter in the Midwest League, but a few trips to Peoria have changed that assessment, and Vitters now holds the title.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?arti...

Nice.

And add to that Vitters just had his FOURTH straight 3-hit game, which included a double and his fifth HR this season.

The dude is strokin' it right now.

PHIL-- should we expect to see Vitters move up to Daytona? There's not really a Third Sacker there anyway, unless Jovan Rosa is considered one.

Once again, no attendance figures. How does Rob G tolerate these detail-less posts?????????? Is he getting paid off by Google? I'm flummoxed. Is detail-less a word? Or is it detailess? Is AZ Phil the Bizarro world of reporting?

AZ Phil....... I know we have a lot of pitchers, and in order to get them all some innings we have been sending out 5-6 pitchers per game. I assume that the other teams are doing the same thing so I guess it's unusual for our batters to face the same pitcher more than once in a game. I think that once these guys start playing in Boise and get to bat against a starting pitcher for 5-7 innings, we will see more power numbers (extra base hits & HRs )Is the biggest concern with this group in Mesa the poor defense that they have been playing? Thanks for your daily reports

Quick question, but can someone remind me what Carlos Perez is doing? I can't seem to remember.

Perez was released.

I forgot all about that - was rather intrigued by him.

Phil, thanks for all the reports and observations.

I know you mentioned Antigua pitching the other day, but he's appeared in many of your game reports. Does he look any bigger or faster than you've seen him in the past?

Do you know who went up to Peoria when Whitlock went down?

Also, are there any convert guys who throw notably hard? I'm recalling it didn't take long for some guys like Marmol and Dolis to stand out for their velocity. And I can recall some other converts who never turned into anything, but I recall reports on Oscar Bernard and Andy Mejia throwing very fast at times, even though they never went anywhere as pitchers.

You've mentioned that Quezada has looked good, and he had really nice numbers in DSL last year. Does he have a big fastball?

Submitted by crunch on Mon, 05/18/2009 - 7:00pm.
are they gonna give lansford all year to attempt this pitching thing?

his numbers look criz-appy so far...how he look in person?

==================================

CRUNCH: Josh Lansford has struggled in his last two or three outings at EXST, but I believe he will (like Jake Muyco last year) get assigned to Peoria in mid-June when EXST is over, and he will likely get invited to the AZ Instructional League post-season. Then it will be up to Lansford to show he has the talent to follow in the footsteps of Marmol, Wells, Parker, and Muyco. The Cubs will probably give him another year to prove it.

Submitted by craig on Tue, 05/19/2009 - 9:22am.

Phil, thanks for all the reports and observations.

I know you mentioned Antigua pitching the other day, but he's appeared in many of your game reports. Does he look any bigger or faster than you've seen him in the past?

Do you know who went up to Peoria when Whitlock went down?

Also, are there any convert guys who throw notably hard? I'm recalling it didn't take long for some guys like Marmol and Dolis to stand out for their velocity. And I can recall some other converts who never turned into anything, but I recall reports on Oscar Bernard and Andy Mejia throwing very fast at times, even though they never went anywhere as pitchers.

You've mentioned that Quezada has looked good, and he had really nice numbers in DSL last year. Does he have a big fastball?

========================================

CRAIG: Jeffry Antigua seems to have put on some bulk since last season, and he still looks like a decent prospect to me. He's in a two-inning slot right now, which means the Cubs are probably projecting him as a "piggyback" middle-reliever at this time, although he could get stretched-out to start, too. 

Kevin Kreier got reactivated from the Peoria DL when Josh Whitlock was sent down.

Andres Quezada throws hard and he also has a curve and a change-up that he can throw for strikes. The Cubs are slotting him as a rotation starter at EXST, and I would think (because of his age) that he will likely get moved up to Peoria or Daytona when EXST is over in mid-June.

Submitted by Romero on Tue, 05/19/2009 - 12:11am.
And add to that Vitters just had his FOURTH straight 3-hit game, which included a double and his fifth HR this season.

The dude is strokin' it right now.

PHIL-- should we expect to see Vitters move up to Daytona? There's not really a Third Sacker there anyway, unless Jovan Rosa is considered one.

================================

ROMERO: I would not be surprised if the Cubs move Josh Vitters up to Daytona after the MWL All-Star Game.

I would project Jovan Rosa as a corner 1B-3B or possibly even a corner IF-OF (LF & RF, too). He is not blocking Vitters at 3B. Nobody will block Vitters.

Phil, has Francisco Guzman been returned to Fitch with Tyler Colvin playing again at Daytona?

Yes has has been returned to EST.

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  • 2nd in defensive WAR, NL.

    6th in NL in RBI

    Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.

    The E-Man 11 hours 26 min ago view
  • Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.

    billybucks 12 hours 42 min ago view
  • Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.

    billybucks 13 hours 25 min ago view
  • There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!

    billybucks 13 hours 26 min ago view
  • Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.

    billybucks 13 hours 27 min ago view
  • Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.

    Jackstraw 13 hours 31 min ago view
  • Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.

    Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.

    billybucks 13 hours 31 min ago view
  • Baez still learning

    jacos 13 hours 59 min ago view
  • 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.

    crunch 15 hours 3 min ago view
  • 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.

    crunch 16 hours 9 min ago view
  • brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.

    crunch 16 hours 58 min ago view
  • 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.

    VirginiaPhil 21 hours 28 min ago view
  • video of Maddon.

    http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561343809737202839-4

    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.

    Rob G. 1 day 12 hours ago view
  • from Muskat:

    #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

    Rob G. 1 day 12 hours ago view
  • http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561339391889382475-4

    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.

    Rob G. 1 day 12 hours ago view
  • great defense

    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.

    Rob G. 1 day 13 hours ago view