Cubs & Giants Share Thrill of Victory, Agony of Defeat

18-year old Taiwanese infielder Pin-Chieh Chen had three hits, knocked-in two runs, and stole a base, leading the Cubs to a 4-2 victory on Field #1, while the Giants rallied with five runs in the 7th to win the other game 5-1 on Field #2, as the EXST Cubs and the EXST Giants split a Cactus League Extended Spring Training doubleheader played at Indian School Park in Scottsdale this morning. Both games were pre-planned to be eight-inning affairs, and the two games were played simultaneously with split squads.


Rebel Ridling (appendectomy rehab) played 1B today (he had been restricted to DH in his previous EXST games), and got a total of seven Plate Appearances in the first seven innings of the game on Field #1. He grounded out to second, lined out to CF, and flied out to CF in his first three at bats, before rapping singles in three of his last four ABs. The HR power might not be there yet, but in most other ways he looks like he might be just about ready to move up to Daytona.


20-year old LHP John Mincone (2009 11th round pick out of Suffolk County CC) had a good day on the mound after having poor outings in his previous two EXST appearances, throwing three hitless innings on Field #2, and 20-year old Dominican LHRP Marcos Perez had another perfect outing, mowing down the Giants six up & six down. In four Extended Spring Training appearances, Perez has thrown 7.1 IP of shoutout ball, allowing just one hit (a bunt single) and no walks, while striking out eight.


20-year old lanky 6’5 Australian LHP Cody Hams really struggled, though, getting ripped for five runs on four hits (two singles and two doubles) and two walks while getting just two outs in the bottom of the 7th, as he took the loss on Field #2. Hams has revamped his delivery this year, as he now throws from a near-sidearm arm slot. Some of you may remember Hams as the former cricket bowler who received a $150K bonus from the Cubs in 2008 after paying his own way to the MLB Australian Baseball Academy the previous year to try his hand at baseball. (He had never actually seen a baseball game until he got to the academy, and the second game he ever saw was one where he was the pitcher!).


Two of the recent arrivals from the Cubs Dominican Academy got into their first U. S. game action, as 18-year old 6’1 160 RHP Alvido Jimenez (who had the second-most strikeouts among the pitchers on the Cubs two DSL teams last year) threw a shutout inning of relief (albeit only after walking the bases loaded!) in the game on Field #1, and 21-year old 6’2 170 RHP Jadel Mendez threw a perfect five-pitch 1-2-3 inning (F-9, F-7, 6-3) on Field #2.


In EXST Cubs roster news, RHP Larry Suarez (3.0 IP, 5 H, 3.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP 1/2 BB/K, 39 pitches - 31 strikes, in two appearances at EXST) and outfielders Francisco Guzman (471/500/588 with 7 R, 5 RBI, and 3 SB in five games at EXST) and D. J. Fitzgerald (267/353/400 with 3 R and 4 RBI in five games at EXST) have been promoted to Peoria, and outfielders Jesus Morelli and Alvaro Ramirez have been sent to Fitch Park (Extended Spring Training) from Peoria.


Here are today’s abridged box scores (EXST Cubs players only):


FIELD #1


NOTE: 1B Rebel Ridling batted in seven of the eight innings, getting seven Plate Appearances total in the game.


LINEUP:
X. Rebel Ridling, 1B: 3-7 (4-3, L-8, F-8, 1B, 1B, K, 1B)
1. Rafael Disla, 2B: 2-4 (1B, F-8, 2B, 4-3, CS, R)
2. Arismendy Alcantara, SS: 0-3 (L-7, 5-3, BB, 4-3, R)
3. Charles Thomas, 3B: 2-4 (K, 6-3, 1B, 1B, R, RBI)
4. Xavier Batista, CF: 1-4 (K, K, 1B, K, R, RBI)
5. Sergio Burruel, C: 0-4 (K, F-7, 1-2-3 GIDP, K)
6. Pin-Chieh Chen, DH: 3-3 (1B, 1B, 1B, 2 RBI, SB)
7. Blair Springfield, LF: 0-3 (K, F-7, P-6)
8. Melvin Camarena, RF: 0-3 (K, L-8, K)


PITCHERS:
1. Luis Liria – 3.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 2 HBP, 1 WP, 5/1 GO/FO, 48 pitches (30 strikes)
2. Alvido Jimenez – 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 1 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 19 pitches (6 strikes)
3. Carlos Rojas – 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 3/1 GO/FO, 37 pitches (21 strikes)
4. Marcos Perez – 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 4/1 GO/FO, 18 pitches (12 strikes)


ERRORS (1):
2B Rafael Disla E-4 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base – did not score)


CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Sergio Burruel: 2-3 CS


OUTFIELD ASSIST:
LF Blair Springfield threw out runner at plate 7-2 as runner was trying to score from 2nd base on ground ball single to LF with two outs in the bottom of the 3rd inning.


FIELD #2


LINEUP:
1. Vismeldy Bieneme, 2B: 0-4 (K, 6-4 FC, 4-3, K)
2. Runey Davis, RF: 2-3 (5-3, 1B, 1B, SB, CS)
3. Albert Hernandez, LF: 1-3 (1B, K, 5-3)
4. Brandon May, 1B: 1-3 (6-4 FC, 4-3, 2B, R)
5. Jonathan Mota, C: 0-1 (BB, 4-3, 1-3 SH)
6. Bobby Wagner, 3B: 1-1 (BB, BB, 1B, RBI)
7. Carlos Romero, DH #1: 0-3 (K, 6-4 FC, K)
8. Cody Shields, CF: 0-3 (6-3 GIDP, 4-3, F-8)
9. Wes Darvill, SS: 0-3 (5-3, 3-U, F-7)
10. Jae-Hoon Ha, DH #2: 1-3 (1B, 4-3, K)


PITCHERS:
1. John Mincone – 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 3/3 GO/FO, 29 pitches (16 strikes)
2. Jadel Mendez – 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1/2 GO/FO, 5 pitches (4 strikes)
3. Danny Keefe – 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 2/1 GO/FO, 27 pitches (19 strikes)
4. Cody Hams – 0.2 IP, 4 H, 5 R (5 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 30 pitches (17 strikes)


ERRORS: NONE


CATCHERS DEEFENSE:
Jonathan Mota: 1-2 CS


ATTENDANCE: 8


WEATHER: Mostly cloudy and windy, with temperatures in the 60’s

Comments

As always, thanks for the great report, Phil. Did you really keep score on two games at once?

Submitted by Craig A. on Fri, 04/23/2010 - 4:30pm.
As always, thanks for the great report, Phil. Did you really keep score on two games at once?

==============================

CRAIG: Yes. I really did watch both games simulataneously. I'm practicing to be one of those plate spinners they used to have on The Ed Sullivan Show.

I'm not sure of the "official" definition of a double header but I always thought it was sequential games, i.e.the first game of a DH and a 2nd game. What you saw, Phil...was a two headed monster!

Kudo's for being able to watch/score both games.

Phil:
Is Marcos Perez the real deal? His stats so far this Spring have been outstanding.

The Smokies are absolutely manhandling the Southern League at the moment. They're 13-2. Castro is hitting an amazing .426/.455/705 and Chirinos has posted a .341/.396/.707. What's really great to see is Brandon Guyer succeeding in a big way in the early going after struggling at AA last year and earning a demotion to Daytona. He's showing a great approach (11 BB versus 5 K), intelligence on the basepaths (7 SB versus 0 CS), and finally demonstrating some consistent pop (.314/.453/.529). With his positional flexibility, he definitely has supersub potential, and perhaps more if he keeps adding power to his game. Good stuff.

Cashner starts tonight. He's pitching against the Birmingham Barons at home. Birmingham is hitting a lowly .226/.288/.306 as a team. This could be brutal.

The number I like is Castro's 15 RBI. He's not leading the league, though. Ty Wright has 18 RBI. (Somebody has to knock Castro in.) Campana, batting ahead of Castro, has 15 runs scored, third in the league. Castro and Guyer have each scored 13 runs.

People talk about speedy players being supersubs, but meanwhile the Cubs have two lineup slots, one and two, that aren't very well occupied on a daily basis.

Fukudome has good April numbers, except one, runs scored (6).

Steal a base, Riot. Steal a base, Fuku. (I realize I'm asking for the moon.) Sometimes the 3-4 hitters deserve to get an RBI on a ground ball. Is it a mystery--has it ever been a mystery--why this team has a problem with consecutive runless innings?

If our #4 hitter was actually hitting, they'd have some more runs scored. Neither of those guys should be too adventurous on the basepaths.

In the future those lineup spots will hopefully be occupied by younger, faster guys (who, hopefully, will also be able to reach base frequently), but nobody on this team is particularly fast or particularly good at reading a pitcher. The running game is not our biggest probably and not an area that can be improved much without major personnel changes.

I'd say the issue with not scoring isn't due to them not running enough. It's due to the fact that they get caught when they try. Theriot's last 2 years are 68% and 63%. That's not the most awful percentage in the world, but you'd sure like something better than that from somebody with next to no power. Fukudome has a career 56% steal rate. He gets caught just under HALF.

I don't see why you WANT them to attempt to steal. It's wasting baserunners.

And this year Theriot is 4 for 5, which is 80% and on pass for 40 on the season. So, so far, he has been running quite often and well. So that is not the issue these first few weeks.

So, so far, he has been running quite often and well.

Cue the tape archived HD video! The ball has been beating him to the bag this year. Take a look. He's been lucky, not good.

I assume you just didn't look at the discussion above. Phil said "Steal a base Riot" and my point was that he HAS been stealing bases so far this year, so that is not the problem with the offense.

Just for kicks though, if you want to analyze each attempt more qualitatively, then you have one steal in which the catcher didn't even throw the ball. Another where he outright beat an excellent thrown. Another was a bounced throw the infielder couldn't handle. The other one was a throw that Weeks dropped when Theriot slid into him. That's the only one in which he definitely "should" have been out.

But this is why we use statistics. Had he been out, I could have come back with the same logic you did and said he was unlucky since it was a ridiculous throw by Zaun and that 9 times out of 10 he is safe on the play, etc. Sometimes line drives are caught, and sometimes bloopers fall in. That's baseball.

So statistically, Theriot he has been running well (4 for 5) so far.

Yeah, you got to protect your base runners and Theriot is NOT a good base stealer.

lilly up...ninja to AAA

Thank God. Hopefully we don't see him until he finds an out pitch.

Smarja's back at Iowa. So what's the plan? Stretch him out to 1 inning?

cst_cubs: Lineup vs. Davis: riot, byrd, dlee, nady, rami, sori, bake, soto, theodore lilly

Do we have any theories on why Soto is still batting 8th? Because he's hitting well in that spot and they don't want to mess with him? Because Piniella is stubborn? Because Lee and Ramirez are doing such a wonderful job driving in runs lately?

Ohhh so we should move Lee and Ramirez out of the middle of the lineup to make way for Soto?

Der...

More like so we should move Soto closer to the middle of the lineup so he gets more chances to hit with runners on base and where pitchers would either have to throw him more strikes or face someone other than the pitcher after him. We need somebody to drive in runs and Lee and Ramirez aren't cutting it.

I think I'd actually suggest cutting moving Theriot to the 8-spot. A lineup something like this against righties:

Fukudome
Lee
Ramirez
Soriano/Byrd
Byrd/Colvin
Soto
Fontenot
Theriot
Pitcher

and this against Lefties:
Byrd
Lee
Ramirez
Nady/Soriano
Soriano/Nady
Soto
Baker
Theriot
Pitcher

At least until 1. Soto cools off, or 2. Theriot gets hot, or 3. Fontenot gets hot and makes sense at the top of the order.

No, I don't want Soto to take Lee and Ramirez's place every time they get cold.

nady's 3rd game batting cleanup...c'mon aram...get it together.

Apr. 16 - 8:28 pm et
According to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, Brett Anderson could potentially earn $31 million over the length of his new contract with the Athletics.

Apr. 24 - 6:18 pm et
Brett Anderson departed Saturday's start after just 80 pitches with tightness in his left (throwing) elbow.

doh.

Awesome inning 5 pitches for Z.

How hard was he throwing?

Low-to mid 90's. Just like regular Z. In a key spot, I think it was Rickie Weeks who tapped a easy grounder back to the mound.

It strikes me that Soriano's At Bats have been looking much better for the past few days -- good pitch recognition, making good contact, making good adjustments to pitches and not looking off balance or fooled. Hope this lasts for awhile.

was awesome...

Cubs go for the sweep tomorrow!!

a handful of portions of that blackhawks game were awesome. others were flat out fugly. and not for the weak of heart.
nice result, though.

Bruce Levine's blog on Z and Lilly outings...

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/i...

After the game, Zambrano wasn’t interested in talking, making only one comment, “I felt good, that’s it,” as he finished dressing and quickly walked away from reporters.

At that point there was some discussion among the reporters if Zambrano had said anything else as he walked away.

speculation is Paul Sullivan thought Zambrano was muttering something important about Milton Bradley's stay in Chicago? Those wacky reporters.

Cubs Win!

But, more importantly Milton Bradley could not play yesterday because he had an oww-ie.

mlbtr has notes on "famous unsigned draft picks"

dream on:

Tim Lincecum: Selected in the 48th round of the 2003 draft by the Cubs

for all those who miss Michael Wuertz (as in one of the possible guys who Z is replacing):

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/...

He's nursing rotator cuff tendonitis of his right shoulder and is on a rehab assignment (expected back with the A's in a week or two)

(also not the mention of Jerry Blevins, former Cub bullpen prospect)

Piniella said relief pitcher Esmailin Caridad won't be ready to come back until the end of the next homestand Saturday or Sunday.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball...

Justin Berg's roster spot (assuming Caridad sucked because of his elbow tendonitis)?

Piniella on the bullpen...

"There's no question," Piniella said. "C'mon. Our bullpen was really too young. And then we had the injury to (Angel) Guzman and the injury to (Esmailin) Caridad after that. We had to shore it up. We felt Carlos was the guy to do it and I'm convinced he will do it."

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball...

is it too late to add a third tie-breaker question to the 2010 predictions contest:
"who will have more bullpen innings in 2010, z or smudge?"

boston.com column mentioning how thin the trade market is for set-up men...

Zambrano is looking at this as temporary until the Cubs can trade for an eighth-inning guy. Good luck with that. Unless they take one of Kansas City’s struggling relievers or make a bid for Manny Delcarmen, there isn’t much out there.

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/...

I think this writer is overestimating the quality of pitcher it would take for the Cubs to call him an 8th inning guy at this point.

if the cubs are willing to part with gorz. they can probably find a decent-enough reliever, imo.

mlb-ready lefty, cheap, end-of-rotation guy that's an extra part to the cubs.

Byrd day off...

Riot, Fuku, DLee, ARam, Colvin, Soriano, Fontenot, Soto, RWells

Buster Olney speculates...but doesn't mention the no fly list:

Heard this: The Royals did not place Juan Cruz on waivers Friday, meaning that he probably will hit waivers Monday, then clear them Wednesday. You have to believe that the Cubs, with all their bullpen issues, will take a look at Cruz. We'll see.

http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/blog?name=olne...

if the info from some of our readers is correct, Juan Cruz has been blackballed from the Cubs.

how 'bout that Kevin Gregg?

Glad I'm just an orthopedic surgeon and not a neurosurgeon. Chris Jakubuskas injury video, a double whammy in that he got tagged with the loss as well.

DON'T Watch this if you are squeamish...

http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/articl...

It was about this time last year that Jonathan Sanchez suffered a fractured skull on a similar play, wasn't it? That's the scariest play in baseball, right ahead of head-on collisions at the plate and a fastball to the batting helmet, though there have been some freak plays that are even more dangerous (Juan Encarnacion and Greg Zaun come to mind).

Wow. The scariest thing was how his legs kept kicking around for several seconds after he he was on the ground. It looked like something was going haywire in his nervous system. ~shudder~

Looked to me like he was in pain/scared, not like any neurological crossed wires were causing his legs to kick involuntarily.

Yeah, I think you're right -- it was just my first impression when I saw the video. Still pretty scary.

Recent comments

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  • Good thing the Cubs have 4 left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties

    Eric S 12 min 13 sec ago view
  • ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.

    cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/

    crunch 25 min 51 sec ago view
  • HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC. 

    Arizona Phil 3 hours 22 min ago view
  • ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels. 

    M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores)  the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating. 

    Arizona Phil 3 hours 24 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.  

    Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).  

    Arizona Phil 3 hours 34 min ago view
  • 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.

    The E-Man 4 hours 17 min ago view
  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 9 hours 2 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 9 hours 3 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 18 hours 44 min ago view
  • 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.

    johann 21 hours 42 min ago view
  • 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.

    crunch 21 hours 54 min ago view
  • 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.

    The E-Man 22 hours 3 min ago view
  • 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.

    The E-Man 22 hours 9 min ago view
  • 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...

    crunch 22 hours 27 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 23 hours 3 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 23 hours 21 min ago view