Spencer Hits Early and Often at Extended Spring Training

Xavier Batista and Blair Springfield drove-in two runs a piece in a four-run Cubs 2nd, and Matt Spencer whacked a home run over the RF fence leading-off the bottom of the 3rd, as the EXST Cubs held-on to defeat the EXST A's 6-5 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.

At Extended Spring Training while rehabbing from a broken toe suffered last month in Minor League Camp, Matt Spencer hit in each of the first five innings of today’s game (he batted in all nine innings yesterday), going 2-4 with the solo HR, a single, and a walk. He left the game after playing just five innings, possibly an indication that he has completed his rehab assignment and will be re-joining the AA Tennessee Smokies tomorrow or Monday. (Spencer was acquired from the Oakland A's last December along with pitchers Jeff Gray and Ronny Morla for IF-OF Jake Fox and INF Aaron Miles).

Trailing 1-0, the Cubs erupted for four runs in the bottom of the second inning. Spencer led-off with a line single, Charles Thomas drew a walk, and Sergio Burruel was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Then with one out, 18-year old Dominican slugger Xavier Batista ripped a double off the LF fence to drive-in two, and with two outs, Blair Springfield lined a single to right-center to plate the other two runs.

The Cubs scored their final runs of the day in the bottom of the third inning. Spencer hit a lead-off HR over the RF fence, and then Vismeldy Bieneme drew a walk, Pin-Chieh Chen singled to right (Chen’s second hit of the day) sending Bieneme to 3rd, and Charles Thomas bounced an RBI single with a lot of top-spin through the box and into CF to knock-in Bieneme.

The Cubs bullpen did a pretty good job in the middle innings, at one point retiring 13 A's batters in a row. 20-year old Dominican LHP Marcos Perez was especially impressive, throwing two perfect 1-2-3 innings, striking out three, and doing it while throwing only 14 pitches (13 for strikes!). In two apperarances so far for the EXST Cubs, Perez has thrown four perfect innings (29 pitches - 24 strikes), with four strikeouts.  If the Peoria Chiefs are in need of another lefty reliever (and it would appear they are), I would think that M. Perez is definitely a strong candidate to get tabbed. 

In EXST Cubs roster news, LHP James Leverton has been moved up to Peoria, replacing RHP Jon Nagel, who was placed on the Chiefs 7-day DL. Leverton struck out all four batters he faced in his only EXST appearance last Monday.   

Here is today’s abridged box score (EXST Cubs players only):

NOTE: 1B Matt Spencer batted in each of the first five innings, getting five plate appearances total in the game.

X. Matt Spencer, 1B: 2-4 (4-3, 1B, HR, BB, 4-3, 2 R, RBI)
1. Vismeldy Bieneme, 3B: 0-2 (4-3, BB, 6-3, R)
2. Pin-Chieh Chen, 2B: 2-3 (1B, 1B, F-8, CS)
3b. Melvin Camarena, 1B: 0-1 (F-8)
4. Charles Thomas, DH #1: 1-2 (BB, 1B, P-4, R, RBI)
5a. Sergio Burruel, C: 0-1 (HBP, 6-4-3 GIDP, R)
5b. Jose Guevara, C: 0-1 (K)
6. Arismendy Alcantara, SS 0-3 (P-7, 1-3, K)
7. Xavier Batista, RF: 1-3 (2B, 5-4-3 GIDP, 6-3, R, 2 RBI)
8. Manuel Pestana, LF: 0-3 (5-3, K, F-8)
9. Blair Springfield, DH #2: 1-3 (1B, P-4, P-4, 2 RBI)
10. Kyung-Min Na, CF: 0-2 (K, K)

1. Luis Liria – 3.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 1/4 GO/FO, 50 pitches (32 strikes)
2. John Mincone – 2.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 PO, 3/1 GO/FO, 34 pitches (18 strikes)
3. Marcos Perez – 2.0 IP, 0H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 2/1 GO/FO, 14 pitches (13 strikes)
4. Yohan Gonzalez – 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 1/2 GO/FO, 33 pitches (21 strikes)

2B Pin-Chieh Chen E-4 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base with one out in the top of the 3rd inning – did not score).

Sergio Burruel: 0-1 CS, 1 PB

LF Manuel Pestana threw out batter 7-4 trying to stretch a single down LF line into a double with no outs in the top of the 2nd inning.


WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80’s


Z might have some competition for the Silver Slugger this year. Lincecum's 3-3 with 3 RBI in the 5th in LA.

woah cora (NYM)...and this NYM/STL game is f'n good.

bases loaded, 2 out, bottom 12...carrer 0 for 1 pitcher jason motte hits for himself...strikeout. nice.

to the 13th...

14 inning games don't just expose bullpens: The FOX announcers are frigging terrible--sports announcing is generally terrible, but FOX is especially intolerable.

Just did it again with Hawkesworth. Tony, feel free to use your backup catcher at any point during this game.

Yeah, that was really strange. Bottom of the inning, runners on 2nd and 3rd, the Mets walk Pujols with Blakesworth in the on deck circle--you'd think they'd at least make it look like they were going pinch hit for him. Then bases juiced with two outs, they let him hit for himself. That's a lot of questionable.

this game is f'n crazy...to the 17th

tony larussa is officially retarded..or about to look like a genius.

now pitching in the top 18th...felipe lopez.

He doesn't look like he's ever thrown from the mound before. His throwing motion looks like he's pitching batting practice. 76 mph fastballs that he's having trouble throwing for strikes.

The crazy thing about Felipe Lopez pitching is that Kyle Lohse is playing left field. ?????

my god...it...worked...

I hate the Cardinals.

joe mather pitching now...

this is f'n stupid.

The craziest part about LaRussa's "strategy" might have been not using Franklin before the 17th when he's the home team. Who does that?

Maybe we need Mather and Lopez for our bullpen.

Seriously, I hate the Cardinals. And I hate to see such stupid managing almost succeed.

Guess you can't get shut out for 19 innings if you have Pujols in your lineup.

they're gonna score off the position players, right?

dear god.

I hear both teams are going to fire their hitting coaches after the game.

Jesus, how cocky is LaRussa?

12 hits, 10 BB's no runs. Wonder when that last time that happened was.

Not to mention trying to steal with the best hitter in 20 years up at the plate, down by one in the 19th.

No kidding. What was that steal attempt all about?

What a dunderhead.

What a game.

no doubt...and with a great ending on the "who should win" side of things.

I wouldn't call it great. I'd call it less bad. The Mets are pretty hosey with their big budget and failure to win consistently. They remind me of something I can't quite put my finger on.

Monday: Randy Wells vs. Jonathan Niese
Tuesday: Carlos Zambrano vs. Mike Pelfrey
Wednesday: Carlos Silva vs. Oliver Perez
Thursday: Tom Gorzelanny vs. Johan Santana

tough draw for Gorz...

still no lineup yet for today

Theriot (SS),Byrd (CF),Lee (1B),Ramirez (3B),Nady (RF),Soriano (LF),Baker (2B),Soto (C), Dempster(P)

will Theriot ever get a day off this season?

starting fontenot at SS doesn't seem like something lou's ready to commit to...be interesting to know how much pre-game infield fonte takes at SS whether he's playing there or not that day.

Theriot isn't going to sit on many days that a lefty starts.

But I agree--I don't think Lou has much interest in using Fontenot at SS. I think he just wanted to make sure that he had room on the roster for Nady, Tracy, and Colvin.

"will Theriot ever get a day off this season?"

After Sept 1 he'll get time off while Castro plays, unless the Cubs are in the playoff picture.

Rough go for Jason Marquis today.. did not record an out.

Final line: 0IP 4H 1BB 7ER

Here's all the damage the Brewers did:

Weeks 1B, Counsell 1B, Braun RBI 1B, Fielder HBP, McGehee bases loaded BB, Edmonds bases loaded HBP, Zaun RBI 1B.

Then Miguel Baustisa came in and gave up a single, a sac fly, and a Counsell granny.

Ten in the first for the Brewers.

Not resting Theriot will work out really well, since he has a consistent track record of running out of gas in the second half - 20 points lower avg in the second half for his career, and 45 points lower avg in September than August.

is yahoo stattracker being flakey for anyone else?

i havent been able to have it work for 2 days now...freezes at 95%

We need some Marmol aid.

Cubbery at its finest.

i propose renaming the bullpen the bullshitpen

It's funny. I had to leave to do a bit of grocery shopping in the top of the 8th. I thought, is it possible that we can finish this out without any Cubbery?

Why do I even ask? It's like I keep getting back together with a girlfriend that consistently breaks my heart. I'm Cubby whipped. I'm also fairly self loathing about it these days. How's that saying go? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 102 times, fill me up with Thorazine.

Recent comments

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  • James Russell elected free agency.

  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the mlb.tv internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup equation...plus joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.

  • Dallas Beeler, Corey Black, David Garner, Pierce Johnson, Steve Perakslis, James Pugliese, Duane Underwood Jr, and Rob Zastryzny threw early-morning bullpen side-sessions at Riverview yesterday.  

    Underwood threw last, and received specific one-on-one instruction from pitching coach Mike Mason. 

  • HAGSAG: There are only five advanced instructs squads left, and presently the only "co-op" team operating is the Angels/Cubs.

    The league was originally established as a "parallel" league to the AFL (a sort of "junior AFL"), for players too advanced for traditional ("basic") instructs but who were unable to get placed on AFL rosters due to AFL player-limits.