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
PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.
a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...
it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.
soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.
he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.
j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.
so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.
im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.
That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.