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
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.
O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already.
I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.
I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.
Enjoyable read on David Ross.
Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.
With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined).
BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.
If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).
As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).
I want my baseball team to win by playing better baseball. I don't want umps, fields, or fans to have anything to do with it.
Just with the chanting thing it worked to rattle Cueto last year where he dropped a ball and gave up a HR next pitch so you can't really hate on the fans for trying it again in this important of a game.
I felt the same way, too, but...
I was very disappointed with Pittsburgh fans. At Wrigley a few weeks ago, they were very obnoxious guests, the cockiness on Twitter, and what's the deal with chanting Arrieta's name during the game? Very bush league. Add that up with Rodriguez's poor sportsmanship and you quickly have a team that you don't mind beating 4-0 in a do or die game.
Absolutely-It was tense. And when the Pirates couldn't push any runs across, you could see the frustration boil over.