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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  • "The Boston Red Sox were banned from signing any international players for the next year and had five of their teenage prospects declared free agents on Friday after a Major League Baseball investigation showed they circumvented signing-bonus rules last year, a source familiar with the situation told Yahoo Sports."

    https://www.yahoo.com/sports/news/source-red-sox-b...

    Rob Richardson 9 min 24 sec ago view
  • The thing with Heyward is its not just free agency. He is way under performing his career #s. He's making the same % of contact but his soft contact is much higher and hard contact much lower than all his previous years so there is something very specifically going on this year causing the issues. Chances are he will eventually get back to his previous #s and it's better to get the slump now and get that hot run later but I wish I knew what is different about this year. He's either just not seeing the ball as well or a swing change is causing it.

    johann 24 min 41 sec ago view
  • Only 3 pitches for Leathersich. Not much of a rehab outing.

    Thanks for the reporting Phil.

    QuietMan 36 min 51 sec ago view
  • He's the nastiest pitcher I've seen in awhile. I'm gonna give them all a mulligan on this one.

    Coghlan's strike out was more disappointing. He was fighting off a lot of pitches and not swinging at crap, and on the last pitch, he swung at stuff he was laying off, and struck out.

    And Heyward, too. I don't blame Heyward - I blame free agency. I hate it. You almost never get a valid return on the investment.

    I look forward to the day when ball players own the teams. The current economics are not sustainable.

    Old and Blue 1 hour 37 min ago view
  • Oh, I'm sure you're right. He's not 27-27 in saves for nothing. But, man, I hope they learned last night that he didn't throw a single pitch in the zone to KB, Contreras or Baez, and they all just kept swinging.

    billybucks 3 hours 45 min ago view
  • Sounds like a much better game than last night's fiasco in Flushing.

    Old and Blue 4 hours 2 min ago view
  • I'm pretty sure it looks like a sweet pitch on the way in. How many sinkers like that are there at 98 mph? I agree that they should just do a Lackey and stand their with their bat on their shoulders until he throws a strike next time, but I can see how that's hard to do.

    The bullpen, on the other hand, is a mess, and Heyward is starting to piss me off.

    Old and Blue 4 hours 3 min ago view
  • I noticed that too. He's getting to everything, but when he gets right under it on a high flyball he looks uncomfortable

    cubbies.4ever 12 hours 37 min ago view
  • Did you expect anything different?

    billybucks 13 hours 7 min ago view
  • Wow, did they blow this game. Stupid plays by the kids in the 7th -- Almora throwing to 3rd instead of 2nd to keep the DP in order (when a DP probably wins the game) and Baez throwing to 3rd (to a backpedalling KB) instead of getting the easy 2nd out at first - cost them the game. Also, Contreras almost throws the ball into RF on a nonexistent pick-off play. And Maddon, for using Peralta in the first place. Did they do a bunch of shots in the dugout before the 7th? Unbelievably bad baseball. I thought Almora had a high baseball IQ?

    billybucks 13 hours 29 min ago view
  • men on 2nd/3rd, 0 out...and nothing.

    cubs lose :(

    crunch 14 hours 2 min ago view
  • UH OH! RALLY TIME!

    crunch 14 hours 12 min ago view
  • Getting tired of this Heywood weak sauce

    jacos 14 hours 23 min ago view
  • Yep, can't say I disagree with that. His first batter and resulting walk was just brutal. Reminded me of a bit of Jacque Jones spiking his throws into the ground from RF.

    Eric S 14 hours 31 min ago view
  • The use of Peralta in any semblance of a high leverage situation is questionable at best.

    fixed that for ya.

    crunch 14 hours 38 min ago view
  • The use of Peralta in any semblance of a high leverage situation is questionable at best. Hind sight is easy but Peralta had nothing.

    Eric S 14 hours 46 min ago view