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
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.
If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?
#Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.
Fun with FIP
- J. Hammel 3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
- J. Arrieta 2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
- J. Lester 2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
- K. Hendricks 2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
- J. Lackey 3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)