Angels Edge Cubs at Fitch Park
Justin Bour walked, doubled, and crushed a two-run HR, Matt Cerda tripled twice and scored three runs, and Chris Rusin threw three innings of perfect baseball, but it wasn't enough, as the Angels edged the Cubs 6-5 in AZ Instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this afternoon.
RHP Chris Archer got the start for the Cubs, and had a very poor outing, allowing four runs on two triples, two singles, a walk, and a HBP (plus three WP), in just two innings of work (41 pitches - 24 strikes). Archer was 4th in the Cubs minor leagues in strikeouts in 2009 (trailing only Jay Jackson, Mitch Atkins, and Chris Carpenter), but he led all Cubs minor league pitchers in walks.
2009 4th round pick LHP Chris Rusin (U. of Kentucky) followed Archer, and threw three perfect innings, while needing just 35 pitches (24 strikes) to do it.
Down 4-0, the Cubs came back with one run in the 3rd and three more in the 5th to tie the game.
2008 4th round pick Matt Cerda (Oceanside HS - Oceanside, CA) tripled off the left-field fence with one out in the 3rd, and scored on a Jovan Rosa ground RBI single to RF.
Kyler Burke led-off the 5th with a sharply-hit single to RF, and then with one out, Justin Bour (2009 25th round pick out of George Mason U.) slammed a long HR over the right-centerfield fence onto Field #5, the "half-field" located north of the Cubs clubhouse. (Bour just missed clubbing a dinger down the LF line on the pitch prior to the HR, as the ball curved foul before going out of the park).
At 6'4 250+, the 21-year old Bour is a big dude who looks like he should have some power, but he hit only four HR in 62 games and 269 PA (combined) at Mesa and Boise in 2009. But Bour has been working with Peoria hitting instructor Barbaro Garbey in the cages each morning before the games and his new-found power really showed up today! (BTW, Justin Bour's older brother Jason is a catcher in the Reds organization, and Jason was ex-Cubs #1 draft pick Mark Pawelek's catcher at Sarasota in 2009).
Matt Cerda followed Bour's HR with his second triple of the game, a towering blast that hit off the Green Monster metal "batter's-eye" in dead CF, and then Cerda scored on a Sergio Burruel sacrifice fly.
The Angels scored single runs in the 6th and 7th off relievers Jose Rosario and Nick Struck to re-take the lead, but then the Cubs scored again in the bottom of the 7th, narrowing the Halo advantage to just one run.
Justin Bour led-off the 7th with a double off the LF fence, but then suffered an apparent brain cramp and was thrown-out trying to advance to third (with no outs!) on a Matt Cerda ground ball to the SS.
Michael Brenly singled to send Cerda to 2nd, and then 18-year old Sergio Burruel (2009 19th round pick out of Trevor Browne HS - Phoenix, AZ) crushed a ball down the RF line that hit the top of the 25-ft high outfield fence, just missing going out of the yard for what would have been a a three-run homer. Burruel had to settle for an RBI double, with Brenly advancing to 3rd base representing the potential go-ahead run. But then Logan Watkins struck out, and Ryan Flaherty bounced out, leaving the runners stranded.
The Cubs had one more chance to tie the game in the bottom of the 9th, as Bour walked with one out. But PR Kyung-Min Na (supposedly the fastest HS player in South Korea when the Cubs signed him for a reported $700K+ this year) was immediately picked-off 1st, and then Matt Cerda hit a game-ending 1-3 comebacker to the mound.
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Logan Watkins, 2B: 0-4 (3-U, 4-3, 4-3, K)
2. Ryan Flaherty, SS: 0-4 (K, 6-3, 3-1, 3-U)
3. Brett Jackson, CF: 0-3 (K, K, BB, K), SB
4. Brandon Guyer, LF: 0-3 (P-5, F-8, BB, F-7)
5. Kyler Burke, RF 1-4 (K, 1B, K, 4-3), R
6. Rebel Ridling, DH #1: 0-4 (L-5, 4-3, P-9, 3-1)
7a. Justin Bour, 1B: 2-3 (P-6, HR, 2B, BB), R, 2 RBI
7b. Kyung-Min Na, PR: 0-0, PO
8. Matt Cerda, 3B: 2-4 (3B, 3B, 6-5 FC, 1-3) 3 R
9a. Jovan Rosa, C: 1-1 (1B, BB), RBI
9b. Michael Brenly, C: 1-1 (1B)
10. Sergio Burruel, DH #2: 1-2 (K, F-8 SF, 2B), 2 RBI
1. Chris Archer - 2.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP, 3 WP, 5/0 GO/FO, 41 pitches (24 strikes)
2. Chris Rusin - 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 5/2 GO/FO, 35 pitches (24 strikes)
3. Jose Rosario - 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 15 pitches (10 strikes)
4. Nick Struck - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1/4 GO/FO, 28 pitches (15 strikes)
5. Corey Martin - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 0/3 GO/FO, 10 pitches (7 strikes)
1. Jovan Rosa (E-2) - overthrow at 2nd base on SB attempt, allowing runner to take 3rd.
2. Matt Cerda (E-5) - errant throw to 1st base bounced past 1st baseman allowing batter to reach safely, but then batter-runner was thrown-out 3-6 trying to advance to 2nd base.
3. Kyler Burke (E-9) - over-ran a ground single to RF allowing batter to advance to 2nd and to 3rd, and then batter was thrown out trying to score 9-4-2 (OF assist to Burke - see below).
1. Jovan Rosa - 0-1 CS + E-2 throwing error (see above)
2. Michael Brenly - 1 PB
OUTFIELD ASSISTS (2):
1. Brett Jackson - batter-runner was thrown out 8-4-2 trying to stretch a triple into an inside-the-park HR.
2. Kyler Burke - batter-runner was thrown out 9-4-2 trying to score on a H+E (see above).
1. Justin Bour - led off bottom of the 7th with a double, then was thrown out 6-5 trying to advance to 3rd base on a ground ball to the SS with no outs.
2. Kyung-Min Na - PR for Justin Bour at 1st base after Bour walked with one out in the bottom of the 9th with Cubs trailing 6-5, but then was immediately picked-off by the Angels pitcher.
WEATHER: 90 & sunny
BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).
TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.
TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.
Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.
Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.
Think Baby Maddux.
Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.
Kyle is on the far left.
I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.
Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.
That was good!
Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.
My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.
Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.
Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.
How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?
Call me lost.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.