"A" Team Throws "Live" BP at Fitch
Twelve Cubs pitchers (essentially the "B" team -- Mitch Atkins, Casey Coleman, Thomas Diamond, Jeff Kennard, Marcos Mateo, J. R. Mathes, Mike Parisi, Blake Parker, David Patton, Vince Perkins, James Russell, and Jeff Stevens) threw their first "live" BP session (25 pitches) at Fitch Park yesterday (six on Field #2 and six on Field #3), and 14 more pitchers (essentially the "A" team) threw their first "live" BP today.
FIELD #2: Carlos Zambrano and Carlos Silva threw to Darwin Barney, Sam Fuld, Blake Lalli, Bobby Scales, and Brad Snyder, Carlos Marmol and Tom Gorzelanny threw to Marlon Byrd, Brett Jackson, Derrek Lee, and Xavier Nady, and Esmailin Caridad and John Gaub threw to Andres Blanco, Micah Hoffpauir, Kevin Millar, and Chad Tracy.
FIELD #3: Ryan Dempster and Randy Wells threw to James Adduci, Steve Clevenger, Tyler Colvin, and Bryan Lahair, John Grabow and Sean Marshall threw to Starlin Castro, Kosuke Fukudome, and Alfonso Soriano (this is Aramis Ramirez's group, but he did not hit today), and Justin Berg and Rafael Dolis threw to Koyie Hill, Jeff Baker, Ryan Theriot, and Josh Vitters. Chris Robinson was the catcher on Field #2 and Welington Castillo was the catcher on Field #3, while Geovany Soto and Robinson Chirinos warmed-up pitchers in the bullpen.
Andrew Cashner and Jeff Samardzija threw "live" BP in an early morning session prior to the full-squad workout.
All of the pitchers who threw today looked good, except Rafael Dolis. The 22-year old fireballer was obviously over-throwing and was especially wild, most notably his final pitch, a high/tight fastball that came up under Theriot's chin, causing The Riot to take a nasty spill that resulted in an injured hand that required treatment by the training staff.
Jeff Gray (groin strain), Angel Guzman (knee surgery rehab), and Ted Lilly (shoulder and knee surgery rehab) are not yet able to throw BP, although Gray has been cleared to start throwing off a mound and Guzman is particpating in PFP and pick-off drills while throwing off flat ground only.
Prior to the "live" BP sessions, the pitchers broke-up into two groups for PFP and pick-off drills on Field #1 and Field #4, while infielders took fielding practice on Field #2 ("B" squad" with Lahair at 1B, Barney and Scales at 2B, Castro and Camp at SS, and Vitters at 3B) and Field #3 ("A" squad with Lee and Hoffpauir at 1B, Baker and Blanco at 2B, Theriot and Fontenot at SS, and Ramirez and Tracy at 3B) and the outfielders (Adduci, Byrd, Colvin, Fukudome, Fuld, Jackson, Millar, Nady, and Soriano) practiced running down fly balls and playing balls off the "Green Monster" (batter's eye) in dead CF.
After the "live" BP sessions, most of the squad reported to Field #3 for agility drills, while the catchers who did not have the opportunity to take "live" BP earlier took their usual end-of-workout BP (with coaches throwing) on Field #2.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?
Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump
Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.
j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.
felix pena, your turn.