At Least Carlos Marmol Got Some Work
The Cubs split versus the best team in the league and head out for a 9-game road trip, where they've played ever so well.
Why the Cubs Lost: Sean Marshall spotted the Dodgers a five spot in the first and the Cubs never mounted much of a rally. Marshall didn't get particularly hit hard until Mark Loretta doubled in the third and fourth runs. In Lou's in-game interview he said he noticed Marshall wasn't throwing his curveball and sent Rothschild out there to tell Marshall as much and if Pitch F/x data on Gameday is accurate, it took Marshall 22 pitches before throwing arguably his best pitch. He managed to survive to the fifth inning but ended up with 4.2 IP and 7 ER, 8 total and his ticket firmly punched to the bullpen once Rich Harden returns.
The offense managed a little more than nothing against Eric Milton. John Miller - desperate to keep people tuned in to ESPN after the top of the first - was quick to point out that Eric Milton is something like the active leader in giving up home runs, but the Cubs didn't manage even one and will enter June just a game over .500.
It Wasn't All Bad: Just most of it...
Reed Johnson had three hits and kept up his hot-hitting and Soriano reached base twice in-between 2 strikeouts.
Jason Waddell struck out the first two lefties he faced (okay, one was Eric Milton) and worked a scoreless inning.The bullpen remained unscored upon since Monday for a streak of 15.1 IP (if my math is right) although Jose Ascanio gave up an inherited run on a stolen base by Matt Kemp with a seven-run lead that let James Loney score from third. With a 6-run lead in the seventh inning, Russell Martin also stole a base.
In the top of the 8th, Carlos Marmol drilled Brad Ausmus of all people. I guess that was to retaliate. I'm not sure that really sends the intended message other than, "if you embarrass us, we'll go after your inconsequential back-up catcher".
Sometimes You Just Get Beat: Reed led off the second with a double on a ball Matt Kemp laid out for and missed. A nice hustle play. The scrap was on full display as he advanced to third on a deep fly to left field and ran on Juan Pierre's arm. Then a short fly out to right that Jamie Hoffmann had to dive for and Johnson decided to run. With Fontenot due up next and then the pitcher(although probably a pinch-hitter), it was probably the right decision as they'd probably work around Fontenot, plus with Hoffman laying out to make the catch, you have to think he'd have problems getting on his feet and making an accurate throw, but that is exactly what he did, nailing Johnson easily.
Armchair Managing: In the top of the first with runners on second and third and one out and the eight place hitter up in Hoffmann, Lou decided to bring in the infield and pitch to him, rather than the intentional walk to face a pitcher that hasn't played in two years. Hoffman hit a long fly to center to score the final run of the inning. I think you have to walk him there and try to get the K or double play ball from the pitcher.
I also think you shouldn't let the team bat around in the first.
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!
given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.
i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.
Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?
He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.
My guess? Toronto.
PHIL: It seems as if Paniagua has always played 1B with the Cubs. At 6'2 and 180#, what is his frame like? String bean? Have you seen him bulk up? Where do you project him? Thanks.
Phil, what's your thoughts on which position players are going to Eugene and who is staying in AZL?
Ahhh...way to bring me down BB.
Still - a win tomorrow will be an acheivement regardless.
Don't mean to spoil your mood, but with tonight's win the are 3-5 on the trip with one to play.
While I'm bringing the room down -- Richard comes in to pitch the 9th with a 12-1 lead...and can't finish the game. Woof.