Brewers Defeat Cubs, Salvage One Game
Apparently thoroughly embarrassed by the parent club’s piss-poor performance versus the Cubs at Miller Park in Milwaukee over the weekend, the EXST Brewers played inspired Cactus League Extended Spring Training baseball this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, defeating the EXST Cubs 5-1. With the loss, the Cubs fall to 4-6-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training play.
There wasn’t much in the way of positives for the Cubs to take away from today’s game, the one exception being the fine performance by starting pitcher Tarlandus Mitchell (the Cubs 2008 22nd round draft pick out of Alto HS – Alto, TX). A 20-year old RHP, Mitchell probably threw the best baseball I’ve ever seen him throw, retiring the last nine men he faced after giving up a lead-off double in the top of the 1st inning. The stocky 5’8 195 might-mite throws in the mid-90’s, but usually has lots of trouble finding the strike zone. But he did a decent job throwing strikes today (48 pitches – 31 strikes), issuing no walks while striking out four.
Mitchell gave up a chance to play college football (he was an all-state cornerback in high school) to sign a pro baseball contract with the Cubs, and up until today it looked like he might have made a mistake. But seeing him throw his fastball over the plate the way he did this morning gives one hope for his future as a pitcher, at least as long as he continues to throw strikes.
19-year old LHP Austin Kirk (Cubs 2009 3rd round pick out of Owasso HS – Owasso, OK) followed Mitchell to the mound and had a disappointing outing, allowing three runs on four hits (two singles, a double, and a two-run HR, plus a walk) in two innings of work (39 pitches), as the EXST Brew Crew broke open what had been a scoreless tie through the first three innings.
The EXST Cubs offense was mostly non-existent today, although Pin-Chieh Chen did continue his hot hitting, smoking an opposite-field double into the LF corner leading off the bottom of the 4th (although he was left stranded). The speedy 18-year old lefty-swinging Taiwanese middle-infielder is hitting .421 through the EXST Cubs first 12 games.
While the Cubs were playing the Brewers on Field #3, RHP Marcus Hatley (2009 TJS rehab) and RHP Hector Mayora (a recent arrival from the Cubs Dominican Academy in Boca Chica) threw a simulated game on Field #2.
Even under the best of circumstances it is difficult for position players at Extended Spring Training to stay sharp, because each player usually plays in only half the team's games (the EXST Cubs position players are divided into two squads, with each squad playing in every-other game, while the squad not playing in a game that day has BP, fielding practice, and baserunning drills at Fitch Park). But the EXST Cubs had more time away from game action than usual last week, as they had a full-squad "Camp Day" on both Thursday and Saturday, and then had the day off yesterday (Extended Spring Training is closed on Sundays).
Here is today’s abridged box score (EXST Cubs players only):
1. Alvaro Ramirez, LF: 0-4 (4-3, 3-U, 4-3, 1-U, RBI)
2. Pin-Chieh Chen, 2B: 1-3 (4-1, 2B, 5-3)
3. Xavier Batista, RF: 0-3 (K, 1-3, K)
4. Charles Thomas, 3B: 1-3 (1B, K, 3-U, SB)
5. Arismendy Alcantara, SS: 0-3 (K, K, F-7)
6. Sergio Burruel, C: 1-2 (BB, K, 1B)
7. Blair Springfield, DH #1: 1-3 (1B, 4-3, 5-4 FC)
8. Rafael Disla, DH #2: 0-3 (5-3, F-9, 4-3)
9. Melvin Camarena, 1B: 1-2 (BB, 2B, K, R)
10. Kyung-Min Na, CF: 0-3 (K, K, 5-3)
1. Tarlandus Mitchell – 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 3/2 GO/FO, 48 pitches (31 strikes)
2. Austin Kirk – 2.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 3/2 GO/FO, 39 pitches (26 strikes)
3. Drew Rundle – 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1/2 GO/FO, 12 pitches (9 strikes)
4. Alvido Jimenez – 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 2/0 GO/FO, 14 pitches (9 strikes)
5. Jadel Mendez – 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 2/1 GO/FO, 11 pitches (8 strikes)
6. Yohan Gonzalez – 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 9 pitches (7 strikes)
3B Charles Thomas E-5 (throwing error past 1st base on infield single allowed batter to advance to 2nd base – did not score)
C Sergio Burruel E-2 (throwing error on stolen base attempt at 3rd base allowed runner to score unearned run)
Sergio Burruel: 1-2 CS, 1 E (see above)
WEATHER: Sunny, cloudless, & very warm, temperatures in the upper 80’s
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.
The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.
If the ball didn't deflect off the pitcher's mound, the game wouldn't have ended. Montgomery did miss his location though, but if that same contact was made and went in any of direction, good chance of ground out if it doesn't get through.
If it was 1 night later, Chapman would be out there and we probably would be going to extras.
Also, If KB wasn't robbed of a HR, perhaps we would have won. We will never know. Nice play by Melky though.
The comparison isn't Chapman replacing Rondon. It's Chapman replacing Richard (hopefully) in the pen. Chapman's better.