9th Inning PH HR Drives Cubs to Victory

Richard Jones slammed a pinch-hit tie-breaking home run over the RF fence with one out in the top of the 9th, and the Cubs held-on to defeat the Angels 2-1 in AZ Instructional League action at Diablo Park Field #3 in Tempe this morning.

Jones, the Cubs 2009 9th round selection out of The Citadel, was drafted as a catcher, but his #1 attribute is raw power. In fact, after signing with the Cubs in June, Jones hit seven HR in just twelve games for the AZL Cubs (Mesa), before moving up to Boise. (Jones ended up tied for 3rd in the AZL in HR, while playing there only two weeks!). And remember, he did all that while playing in the AZL's huge minor league complex ball parks with 25-ft high fences, where it's almost easier to hit a triple than it is to hit a HR.  

While Jones was a catcher in college, he appears more comfortable at 1B (or DH)  But if he can remain a catcher, his value will be greatly increased, since power-hitting catchers who bat left-handed are always in demand.

Besides working on his defense behind the plate, Jones is also at Instructs to try and learn to make better contact at bat (56 K in 174 PA at Mesa and Boise combined in 2009).    

Today's game was scoreless through five innings, before the Angels broke-through with a run off RHP Nick Struck (Cubs 2009 39th round pick out of Mt. Hood CC) in the 6th, on a walk, a sac-bunt, and an RBI double. (Struck dropped to the 39th round only because he was considered a virtual "lock" to transfer to the University of Hawaii, but the Cubs came up with some additional money and were able to sign him just before the August deadline).  

The Cubs came back to tie the score in the top of the 7th with two outs, when Brandon Guyer (yesterday's hero) lined a single to left (his second hit of the game), and scored on a near-HR RBI triple smashed high off the RF fence by Ryan Flaherty.

23-year old polished college LHP Chris Rusin (2009 4th round pick out of U. of Kentucky) got the start for the Cubs today, and he hardly broke a sweat, allowing just a lead-off bunt single in the 1st (and then he immediately picked the runner off), throwing just 15 pitches (12 strikes) combined over two innings of work. He was on the field maybe seven minutes.

RHP Chris Archer followed Rusin with three shutout innings, allowing two hits and a walk on 43 pitches (26 strikes). while retiring the last five men he faced.

One of three pitchers the Cubs acquired from Cleveland for Mark DeRosa last off- season, Archer throws a 92-94 MPH  fastball, a curve, and a change-up, and was 4th among Cubs minor leaguers in strikeouts in 2009 (trailing only Jay Jackson, Mitch Atkins, and Chris Carpenter). But he is at Instructs to work on his command & control (he led the Cubs minor leagues in walks in '09), and he has indeed shown some progress with his strike-throwing in his last two outings, allowing just one walk over six innings. Of course he also has only one strikeout in those six innings, but he's not down here to rack up the punch-outs. The Cubs already know he can do that. He's down here to improve his control and cut-down the number of pitches he throws per inning.  

Today's game also featured three really nice defensive players by the Cubs, including a sliding catch of a pop up in short CF by 2009 #1 draft pick Brett Jackson in the 4th, a full-speed running shoestring catch by 17-year old Korean LF Kyung-Min Na on a pop up in short left-center in the 8th, and a probable game-saving running catch in RF foul territory (and then a flawless a spin & throw to 3rd to keep the base-runner at 2nd base) by 2009 2nd round pick D. J. LeMahieu with no outs in the bottom of the 9th.

LeMahieu played SS at LSU, but I think it's fairly obvious that the Cubs think that the athletic LeMahieu's future is at 2B. He has spent many hours at Instructs working with minor league infield instructor Franklin Font on his DP footwork from the second-baseman's side of the bag (which requires different footwork and an altered rhythm than is the case when turning the DP from shortstop), and hopefully he will take what he has learned at Instructs into the 2010 season, where he will probably begin the year at Daytona. 

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

LINEUP:
1a. Logan Watkins, DH #1: 1-3 (1B, L-9, L-1 DP)
1b. Richard Jones, PH: 1-1 (HR), R, RBI
2. D. J. LeMahieu, 2B: 1-4 (4-6-3 DP, 1B, F-9, L-8)
3. Brett Jackson, CF: 0-4 (F-8, F-8, F-8, F-7)
4. Brandon Guyer, RF: 2-3 (1B, F-8, 1B), R, CS
5. Ryan Flaherty, SS: 1-3 (F-7, 4-3, 3B), RBI
6. Michael Brenly, C-DH: 0-3 (P-3, P-6, P-8)
7. Jovan Rosa, DH-C: 0-3 (K, 6-3, K)
8. Matt Cerda, 3B: 1-3 (P-2, 1B, 4-3)
9. Justin Bour, 1B: 2-3 (1B, 1B, 4-3)
10. Kyung-Min Na, LF: 0-3 (F-9, K, L-6)

PITCHERS:
1. Chris Rusin - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 PO, 2/1 GO/FO, 15 pitches (12 strikes)
2. Chris Archer - 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 4/5 GO/FO, 43 pitches (26 strikes)
3. Nick Struck - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 1 BALK, 2/2 GO/FO, 30 pitches (19 strikes)
4. Jose Rosario - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 15 pitches (7 strikes)  
5. Steve Grife - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP, 2/1 GO/FO, 18 pitches (9 strikes)

ERRORS: NONE

CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Michael Brenly - 0-1 CS
Jovan Rosa - 1 PB

WEATHER: 70's & overcast first-pitch, then mostly sunny by noon 

ATTENDANCE: 21

 

Comments

Hey Phil a couple questions. Any ideas on why Brenly and Falherty are in instructs? Are the Cubs already decided on Cerda as a utility guy, or are they trying to find his best position?

 

Hey Phil a couple questions.

Any ideas on why Brenly and Falherty are in instructs?

Are the Cubs already decided on Cerda as a utility guy, or are they trying to find his best position?

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

REAL NEAL: Michael Brenly is at Instructs to work on his hitting with Dave Keller and possibly to develop a power-stroke (he looks like an offensive tackle, which is why you'd think he would be a HR hitter). No question Brenly is a first-class defensive catcher, but there are still questions about how much he will hit at the higher levels.  

Ryan Flaherty is a big kid who has developed into a LH power-hitter in search of a position. He played SS at Vanderbilt, 2B with Team USA, and most recently, 3B and SS at Instructs, but I think he will eventually end up a corner IF-OF (3B-1B-LF-RF). Flaherty needs to work on his throwing and versatility, and he also needs to find a better approach versus LHP. Because of his improvement at the plate the second-half of 2009, Flaherty could get jumped to AA at the start of the 2010 season, although I'm not sure what position he would play there (probably 3B if Vitters starts out at Daytona, or else 2B or 1B or maybe a corner OF spot if Vitters starts out at AA)

I think with Cerda it's a matter of trying to find a position he can play at Peoria next season, and with Logan Watkins the likely starting 2B for the Chiefs in 2010, 3B could be the only other possibility for Cerda. So far, Cerda has been very slow to react to hard-hit balls at the hot corner, although he makes all other plays just fine.

Beyond next season, I believe Cerda's future will probably be as an offensive-first utility player (probably 2B-3B-LF-C), which is why the Cubs might want Cerda to revisit catcher eventually somewhere down the line. I still don't see what the Cubs saw in Cerda to rate him a 4th round draft pick, though.

Thanks as always. Hopefully Cerda shows you something here in this next few weeks - hard not to root for him.

bob gibson on TV...about f'n time. don't see/hear enough of him. good to hear him again.

on players wearing armor today: "oh, i think i could break that." ha.

Cardinals swept by Dodgers....

oh, the irony!

On the bright side, the St. Louis Dispatch published the article titled "These Cards are Playing Like Cubs" before the season officially ended. There's something for them to hang their hats on.

"I'd rather be the one to tell him because of my relationship with Dick" - dusty baker

*6th grade giggling*

At some point that sentence surely was supposed to include a "Neifi Perez's".

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs...

speaking of Phil Rogers hears Dusty could be on the block too....which means Dusty's job is perfectly safe.

Hey Phil a quick question --

Who do you project as starting at Double A next year?

shows the obvious (what else is PRogers good for?), that really bad teams don't draw (except for KC)
---
Empty seats: The final numbers are in, and MLB was down almost 6.7 percent in total attendance.

The relative lack of playoff races was the final blow in a season in which the down economy made life challenging for marketing directors and advertising salesmen.

The biggest total decreases were in New York, where smaller stadium capacities contributed to drops of 22 percent for the Mets and 12.7 percent for the Yankees. On a percentage basis, nine teams were down at least 15 percent, including the Blue Jays (21.8), Nationals (21.7), Padres (20.8), Tigers (19.8), Indians (18.6), A's (15.4), Reds (15.1) and Diamondbacks (15.0).

Nine teams picked up attendance. The biggest gain was in Kansas City,...up 13.9 percent.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/whit...

http://twitter.com/TBrownYahoo/status/4740356969

Rays will only consider acquiring Bradley if Cubs eat so much salary Rays could release him at any time without financial hit.

Isn't that exactly what every GM is going to say when Hendry first calls? It's not like a team is going to leak "we're willing to pay $5 million for Bradley over the next two years", when they know retardo has already just about destroyed his trade leverage.

Not saying that it's not true, but did their opinion of Bradley really change so much that a guy they were willing to give $8 million to a year ago they'd only commit $800K to now?

Just keep him Hendry. Paint a yellow spot at the end of the bench and tell him to stay there during games. Surround him with shrinks and masseurs. Use him for what he's suited for, a part time outfielder and bat boy. Let him do his little take-me-out-of-the-ball-game stat packing routine and by mid-season he'll be tradeable.

This may be 3/44 but it's in today's Sun Times

"I never thought so, but this year it's kind of obvious."

-- Shortstop Ryan Theriot, on whether one player can disrupt the clubhouse chemistry for an entire team

See? All you Andres Blanco defenders had better be eating your words right about now. How do you live with yourselves?

lol, poor poor Andres Blanco. Don't get his due because he can't put up offensive numbers. With fans these days if you don't have numbers you ain't shit. If you do have numbers you can get away with nearly anything.

Wait...huh??

Keep expecting Torii Hunter to say "we would have never got here if we had Milton Bradley" in this post-game interview.

A whole lot of Cubbery going on in these playoffs so far. What odds could you have gotten on a Nathan, Paplebon and Franklin 0-3 in save opportunities trifecta?

well bradley's problem isn't what he's doing on the field. no one wants to get rid of fukudome or bench him.

Wrong. I want to get rid of Fukudome. He sucks, I'm tired of his whirling dervish act and frigid, ice-cold, month-long streaks of ineptitude. He doesn't drive in runs, he has just barely enough speed to be a liability on the base paths when he decides to steal, and overall he is just a very middling player. $13MM a year for nice defense and a OK-ish OBP for three months out of the year is a joke.

But of course, fat boy Hendry in all his wisdom gave Dome a NTC, so fat chance he goes anywhere. Nice move (again), Jimbo.

The Cubs have had a hole in RF since Sosa left and still haven't fixed it, but CF has been a hole for this franchise FOREVER, jeez. Four decent years from Rick Monday, some nice play from Eric Young and Brian McRae briefly, one excellent year from Bobby Dernier and two great months from Kenny Lofton. That's it since the 60s, awful.

fine, everyone but this guy...and probably some others, too.

Ryne Sandberg played some pretty good CF for us too.

Glanville and CP had a couple nice seasons between them. Walton won a ROY.

I have been working on the Sosa to Cubs right fielders = Santo to Cubs third basemen. Hopefully it won't be 25 years, though.

"Ryne Sandberg played some pretty good CF for us too"

What?

When did Sandberg play CF for the Cubs?

Just before EY did.

Are you kidding?

Four decent years from Rick Monday, some nice play from Eric Young ...

[Edit: Nevermind, I see what you did there. It just wasn't funny enough for me to identify it as humor at first.]

Ah I missed that.

baserunning fail...

http://www.tampabay.com/sports/baseball/rays/tampa...

Unless the Rays find a taker for Burrell and his $9 million salary (a chatted-about deal with the Cubs for Milton Bradley appears unlikely)

and

The Cubs may want it thought otherwise to stir interest, but there has been little recent talk and slim chances for a Bradley-Burrell deal.

who the hell is carlos gonzalez and what is he doing hitting a home run and going 7 for 12 so far

rockies vs angels ?

Billy goats, black cats, Bartmans and last year....Mark DeRosa?

The New York Times says DeRosa is hexed.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/12/sports/baseball/...

DeRosa translates from Spanish to "Of the goat".

dero sure loves him some press. more than a 2nd base option the team lost a media-team leader when he was traded, imo. he could give the press enough blurbs to fill 2 deadlines all within a few minutes of chatting.

Davey Martinez was decent in '87 I believe. Bill North would have been good but Phil Wrigley wasn't comfortable with the combination of North's manner and skin color. Tuffy Rhodes had a monster nine innings.

Dave Kaplan engages and taunts Cardinals fans on his blog and in the comments.

After the "These Cards are Playing Like Cubs" article I found this to be glorious. Yes, I have a double-standard. Fuck Cardinal Nation.

This is pretty good: "They have had tremendous success in St. Louis but that is not enough for them. They wish their city was a world class city like Chicago but that will never happen. Instead, they cling to their pathetic jealousy of the Cubs and their great fans."

Nice goin' "Kapper"

Can you comment on progress of 7th round draft pick Blair Springfield for Cubs? Also, how can I search and track progress for him and other cub minor league players in lower minor leagues? thanks

Blair's stats are here:

http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stat...

You can find all minor league stats at that site. If you are looking for scouting reports, you have to query Phil when he is around.

maybe Brad Hawpe will be available this offseason

Recent comments

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  • Eloy Jimenez and Jeimer Candelario named to Futures Game...

    See past Cubs' participants here. Let me know if you see a mistake or any other info that may prove useful and I can add it.

    http://wiklifield.thecubreporter.com/Cubs_that_Played_in_Futures_Game

    Rob G. 42 min 58 sec ago view
  • Now pitching for the Cincinnati Reds:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwbUCI9bEvA

    QuietMan 59 min 9 sec ago view
  • Sorry if I made it sound like a Schwarber for Sale straight up deal was reasonable, obviously Cubs would need to give up more than that. You don't trade Sale unless you're rebuilding and if you're rebuilding you want more than one piece. Easily 3-4 pieces with Schwarber being the main one...but that type of an ace arm or All-star talent with a few years of control is the type of return the Cubs should look for if they move Schwarber. I don't think they'll move him until he's healthy though. TheJedi are pretty good at maximizing trade value.

    Rob G. 1 hour 2 min ago view
  • I think you're very much overvaluing Schwarber if you think he can fetch Sale by himself. An unproven rookie with demonstrable offensive flaws he hasn't had the chance to show he can overcome and with no defensive upside will never fetch an ace of the quality of Sale in today's market where pitchers are fetching insane prices, especially with Sale's team friendly contract. You'd for sure need to throw in a pitching prospect in return at least.

    johann 1 hour 54 min ago view
  • best relievers in baseball tend to not be the best relievers for very long though...

    also, when you start just trading away guys for marginal benefits, that window will shrink. The window is easily through 2021, just have to look how long Rizzo is signed for and how long they have rights to Bryant, Russell and so on down the line.

    Can't say I'm too worried about the SP, they've done nothing but land guys on the cheap and on the expensive since they've arrived. TheJedi will figure that out.

    Rob G. 2 hours 31 min ago view
  • Not sure I agree with this logic. The Cubs are one of the best teams in baseball, they have spent heavily on the team over the past couple of seasons, have more hitting prospects than they have places for them to play (and more on the way), a clear weakness in the bullpen, and have a 1.5 year window with Arrieta (to say nothing of the likely declines of Lester and Lackey).

    Unless you think (maybe even if you do think) Schwarber is the next coming of Babe Ruth, I would certainly consider trading him if it brought back a couple of the best relief pitchers in baseball.

    Rob Richardson 5 hours 13 min ago view
  • Miggy was going to sit anyway with Lester starting.

    In related news, do any of the Cubs pitchers want to throw to Contreras?

    Rob G. 5 hours 25 min ago view
  • Only Russell and Miggy failed to reach base yesterday. Both sit today.

    billybucks 5 hours 34 min ago view
  • Trading Schwarber actually makes a lot of sense because his actual position is currently being taken by Anthony Rizzo, unless they vote in the DH this offseason.

    Trading him for a reliever is never going to happen though. I don't think you can trade Schwarber unless you get a CF'er for a few years (presume Fowler finds his multi-year deal next offseson) or a couple of high end young starters...or an established starter...a good one like Chris Sale.

    Rob G. 5 hours 45 min ago view
  • I don't see what the Yanks have that the Cubs need.

    Ryno 5 hours 50 min ago view
  • peter gammons on MLB network pushing the yanks/schwarber angle...says insiders from the yanks say brian cashman highly covets him.

    unless that conversation starts with a.miller (2/18m left on contract) i dunno how you even start that conversation given the "not trash, but no stars" state of the yanks minor league system.

    they got corner OF'r aaron judge, C gary sanchez, RHP james kaprielian's questionable elbow, RHP domingo acevedo...all interesting, none expected to impact the game like schwarber's power potential.

    crunch 6 hours 23 min ago view
  • Zo, Heyward, KB, Riz, Contreras (LF), Baez (SS), Szczur (CF), Ross, Lester

    Cubster 6 hours 31 min ago view
  • damn. low sample size blah blah whatever, but that slash got sneaky good. 10 hits, 4 walks, 2hr, 1 double through 39 PA...nice

    crunch 6 hours 51 min ago view
  • Buddy Ryan takes his place alongside George Allen as the great Bear head coaches who never were.

    VirginiaPhil 9 hours 46 min ago view
  • Well, at least he can still hit: Jake slashing .294/.368/.868. Forget hitting 8th -- he should hit 6th.

    billybucks 10 hours 4 min ago view
  • Curious to see today's lineup vs. a LHP: Ross needs to catch Lester, Joe likes Javy at 3B when Lester pitches. Heyward with back-to-back good games at the plate, and is actually hitting a little better against LHP (.247/.341) than RHP (.232/.321), although neither is much to write home about. But, tomorrow is an early day game, so some regulars will probably sit either today or tomorrow.

    Maybe Willson in LF, KB in RF and Almora in CF? If so, Albert Jr., assume every ball is yours.

    billybucks 10 hours 9 min ago view