Cubs Edge A's at Papago Park
Frank Batista threw four shutout innings and Carlos Rojas got the last four outs to nail down the victory, as the EXST Cubs edged the EXST A’s 5-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Papago Park Field #2 in Phoenix this morning.
Batista became the first EXST Cubs pitcher to throw four innings, allowing just one hit and no walks while striking out one. The 21-year old Dominican RHP was the Cubs #1 pitching prospect in the DSL last season, going 4-2 with a 3.55 ERA and 1.20 WHIP, with 7/63 BB/K in 58.1 IP for DSL Cubs #1. So far at EXST, Batista has thrown 9.2 IP, allowing four runs (three ER) on six hits, 2/4 BB/K, with a 2.79 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, and .171 OBA.
EXST Cubs co-closer Danny Keefe (2009 14th round draft pick out of the U. of Tampa) had a rough day on the mound, allowing three runs on four hits (including three ringing doubles) in 1.2 IP, before Carlos Rojas extinguished the fire.
3B Charles Thomas (2009 10th round pick out of Edward Waters College) had two hits, scored a run, stole a base, and made two nifty plays at 3B (one a running catch in LF foul territory and the other a nice scoop & throw). The 21-year old 6’4 225 Thomas is now hitting .405 (.463 OBP), and leads the EXST Cubs in BA, OBP, hits, walks, runs scored, RBI, and stolen bases, and has struck out just three times in 41 PA. (He led the AZL Cubs in hits, doubles, and RBI in 2009). Thomas also has a cannon for an arm, one of the most-powerful throwing arms in the organization, making him a good candidate to get moved to the mound if things don’t work-out at 3B (he was a combination 3B/RHP in college).
The one negative against Thomas right now (besides the fact he is blocked at 3B by Matt Cerda at Peoria and Josh Vitters at Daytona) is that for a big guy, he just doesn’t seem to generate much power (he hit just one HR in 45 games with the AZL Cubs last season, and he had his first EXST XBH—a double--today). Because he is a big dude, Thomas also gets starts at 1B, and while he can play 1B, his arm is wasted there.
Catcher Luis Flores saw his first game action today since Minor League Camp in March, starting the game at DH before moving to catcher in the 6th. He did not reach base, but he did drive-in a run with an F-9 SF. The 23-year old Flores was reinstated from the Suspended List on Monday.
Here is today’s abridged box score (EXST Cubs players only):
1. Pin-Chieh Chen, DH #1: 1-3 (K, BB, 1B, 1-3, RBI, SB, CS)
2. Arismendy Alcantara, SS: 0-4 (F-7, K-DP, 3-1, F-9)
3. Xavier Batista, RF: 0-3 (K, BB, K, K)
4. Charles Thomas, 3B: 2-4 (1B, 4-3, 2B, K, R, SB)
5. Bobby Wagner, 1B: 1-4 (P-2, 3-1, 1B, K, R, RBI)
6. Alvaro Ramirez, CF: 0-1 (4-3, BB, 1-3 SH, R, SB)
7a. Blair Springfield, 2B: 0-2 (K, K)
7b. Wes Darvill, 2B: 0-1 (FC, R)
8. Luis Flores, DH-C: 0-2 (F-9, K, F-9 SF, RBI)
9. Jose Guevara, C-DH: 0-3 (F-9, E-5, K, R)
10. Cody Shields, LF: 0-3 (6-3, 4-3, 5-3)
1. Frank Batista – 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 4/6 GO/FO, 52 pitches (37 strikes)
2. Alvido Jimenez – 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 5/0 GO/FO, 25 pitches (13 strikes)
3. Danny Keefe – 1.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1/3 GO/FO, 36 pitches (25 strikes)
4. Carlos Rojas – 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 2/2 GO/FO, 12 pitches (8 strikes)
SS Arismendy Alcantara E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base – did not score)
SS Arismendy Alcantara E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base, runner on 1st base to advance to 2nd, and runner on 3rd base to score unearned run)
CF Alvaro Ramirez: batter-runner thrown out 8-6-5 trying to stretch double into triple
WEATHER: Partly cloudy and breezy with temperatures in the 60’s
ESPN game tonight, btw.
Cardinal way #48
"negligent transmission of STDs"
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Twitterverse reporting that Heyward is dealing with a sore right wrist
Cardinal way #47
See ya on parrot chat
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.
It looked like the baserunner might have screened Russell some though it's still a play he should have made.
I wasn't thrilled with the use of Rondon in that situation. In save situations opponents have a 77 OPS. In non-save situations it's a 116 OPS. We had other relievers for that spot we could have used.
I'm not sure if it's his normal swing but it's obvious he can hit and he's always hit for power just not HRs so if it is his normal swing there's something else going on.
This article from spring training said he was trying to pull the ball a lot more:
Oh, thanks. I guess I should actually look at the schedule. Yay, 3-game road trip!
Good call, indeed. This ought to be a good series.
Sorry to nit-pick -- but the games against the Nats this week are at home.
Can't remember a worse weather-start to a season. Yuck.
Basically Russell booted a slam dunk DP grounder letting a run score. But he drove in the tying run in 9th. Just not their day, Rondon notwithstanding.
Didn't see the game, but it sounded like the Cubs gave away 2 runs with poor fielding. Bummer.
Well, it's been a fun diet of Reds, Brewers and Braves, but now the Cubs have to play real teams in May (Pirates, Nationals, SF, Cards and Dodgers) -- hope we are all still smiling when we wake up on Memorial Day.
He does seem out of synch. His body seems to start forward, then his arms sort of try to catch up -- if that's his normal swing, he will never hit for power. It's an all-arms slasher swing, but the timing seems off.
He is currently slugging .256 -- I realize the weather has been bad, but that's epically bad. Currently 92nd out of 94 qualified NL batters. Yikes.