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.

Recent comments

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  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 1 hour 7 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 1 hour 8 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 10 hours 49 min ago view
  • 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.

    johann 13 hours 47 min ago view
  • 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.

    crunch 13 hours 59 min ago view
  • 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.

    The E-Man 14 hours 8 min ago view
  • 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.

    The E-Man 14 hours 13 min ago view
  • 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...

    crunch 14 hours 32 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 15 hours 8 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 15 hours 25 min ago view
  • 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.

    The E-Man 15 hours 27 min ago view
  • 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.

    crunch 15 hours 45 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 15 hours 52 min ago view
  • 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.

    crunch 16 hours 48 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 17 hours 6 min ago view
  • 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.

    crunch 17 hours 10 min ago view