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
Fully agree -- can't prove it. But, the numbers are what they are, and a lot of his OF games have come in Aug & Sept, when he has been killing the ball otherwise. And, knowing how baseball players love routine, it seems logical that it could at least be a a factor.
Really, really, really hope I'm wrong on this.
Indeed! It has been absolute blast -- from getting swept by the Phillies to sweeping the Giants, I have always enjoyed being part of this group. Hope we have a lot more games to talk about this year.
Yes, cheers to me! I've noticed a fairly strong correlation between my tenure and Cubbie victories.
And thanks to Michael for our new diggs--and to y'all for sticking around!
CHEERS to CT Steve for keeping this alive in 2015. Who would have thought that the season would have been so successful to this point? Thank you CT STEVE!
I think I may be too nervous to watch the entire game. I will probably watch in bits and pieces - and constantly check MLB App. I will be like Blockhead: Nervous Nellie.
You can't prove the performance is because he played the OF. You just can't. Sorry.
BTW, Bryant hit .168 in July playing 3B exclusively.
oh man, early on it seems like he made at least 1 stupid baserunning blunder per game and almost every single one turned into a positive for the cubs. it was magical.
Not surprised about Lester but bit surprised about Hendricks. Guessing that if something happens to Arietta right away they go to Lester but if they've burned relievers and are in extra innings they go to Hendricks.
My kids' 8:30pm (ET) bed time will be waived tonight (They are Rizzo & Castro fans). We'll get geared up in our Cubs apparel and will watch this as a family. I am stoked. Go Cubs!
Bryant: Base running adventures.
Remember Bryant's home-away splits, too.
Wrigley: 21 HR, 59 RBI, .311/.408/.629
Road: 5 HR, 40 RBI, .243/.333/.360
Good Lord this season has flown by so far. I need more Cubs gifs--the four on the MLB.com article today are not enough. I need a 100 best moments of the season listicle of gifs.
Rizzo: The slide, the catch.
Russell: All the defense.
Bryant: Pelting the video board.
Soler: 125 MPH ground balls.
Schwarber: DINGERS, surprising LF catches.
Fowler: Walks, the many walks he should have had on 3-2 BS strike calls.
Baez: That 3B play.
Ross: Walk-up music? Bullpen appearance?
No evidence other than 8 hits and 0 HR in 45 AB....
I just think hitters like their routines -- think Boggs or Ted Williams -- and messing with that routine adds an element of change. I want my best hitters in their normal routines.
evidently i was busy burying context and meaning.
i was excited about this playoff season kicking up in the drama of that environment, but it was stated insanely muddled.
Woke up early and couldn't get back to sleep in excitement/anticipation. Go Cubs Go!
The only issue with this dead horse is that there's no evidence that his performance during those games is solely due to playing the OF. I would tend to agree that I'd rather see him play 3B, though.
What do you mean by new format in this instance? The second wildcard team with a one-game playoff has been around since 2012.