Sanchez Continues Rehab as Giants Sweep Cubs at Fitch Park
The EXST Cubs dropped both games in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader at Fitch Park this morning, as one EXST Giants squad won 6-0 on Field #2, while the other squad won 8-4 on Field #3. Both games were pre-scheduled six-inning affairs, and the games were played simultaneously.
Freddy Sanchez (knee & shoulder surgeries) continued his rehab assignment with the EXST Giants, playing 2B and batting four times in the game on Field #2. Facing RHP Jesse Ginley, Sanchez lined into a 6-4 DP (near triple play) with runners on 1st and 2nd and no outs in the top of the 1st, ripped a single with two outs and nobody on base in the top of the 3rd against RHP Jadel Mendez and then scored one batter later on an RBI triple (and Sanchez appeared to be a bit gimpy as he rounded 3rd headed for home), and flied out to CF in the 5th and lined out to LF in the 6th against RHP Alvido Jimenez.
Jae-Hoon Ha continued his hot hitting on Field #3 (he’s now hitting 320/333/480), reaching base three times on two singles and a walk, but he had a bad game behind the plate, committing two costly throwing errors on consecutive plays.
With RHP Frank Batista on the mound, Ha threw a one-bouncer off-line to the 1st baseman on a dropped third strike leading off the 4th that allowed the batter to reach base safely (I can’t remember seeing one of those too often lately), and then on the very next pitch, Ha fielded what should have been a 2-3 sacrifice bunt in front of home plate, before proceeding to air-mail his throw over the 1st baseman’s head and into RF for a two-base error. (Both runners ended up scoring unearned runs). Ha also made wild throws (some bounced, some sailed) to 2nd base before the start of each inning (after the pitcher completed his warm-up pitches).
When you add Ha’s throwing issues to his previously-known receiving problems (six PB in seven EXST games behind the plate), it might equal a move back to the outfield. Ha was a catcher in HS in South Korea, but the Cubs moved him to RF after they signed him in 2008, and then he was moved back to catcher in the AZ Instructional League last September. And while he would certainly be a more-valuable prospect as a catcher than he would be as a RF, his defense behind the plate is just not improving. He tries hard, but I suspect the Cubs might just be considering a permanent move back to the OF for the 19-year old South Korean.
Here are today’s abridged box scores (EXST Cubs players only):
1. Pin-Chieh Chen, DH: 1-3 (F-8, 1B, 4-3, SB)
2. Arismendy Alcantara, SS: 0-1 (HBP, BB, K, SB)
3. Sergio Burruel, C: 1-3 (K, K, 1B)
4. Charles Thomas, 3B: 1-3 (5-3, F-8, 1B)
5. Alvaro Ramirez, CF: 0-3 (5-3, L-8, K)
6. Xavier Batista, RF: 0-3 (E-6, F-7, L-4)
7. Blair Springfield, LF: 1-2 (6-4-3 GIDP, 1B)
8. Jose Guevara, 1B: 0-2 (K, 1-U)
9. Rafael Disla, 2B: 0-2 (K, F-9)
1. Jesse Ginley – 2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 1 HR, 1 GIDP, 2/4 GO/FO, 34 pitches (18 strikes)
2. Jadel Mendez – 2.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 3/1 GO/FO, 32 pitches (19 strikes)
3. Alvido Jimenez – 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 0/4 GO/FO, 20 pitches (16 strikes)
Sergio Burruel: 0-1 CS, 1 PB (led to unearned run scoring)
1. Runey Davis, LF: 0-4 (F-9, F-9, 4-3, L-8)
2. Jae-Hoon Ha, C: 2-3 (1B, K, BB, 1B, R, CS)
3. Jesus Morelli, RF: 2-4 (6-3, 1B, 2B, F-9, 2 R)
4. Brandon May, 2B: 0-3 (F-8, BB, K, K)
5. Bobby Wagner, 3B: 1-3 (F-7, 1B, BB, K, 2 RBI)
6a. Albert Hernandez, 1B: 1-2 (2B, K)
6b. SLOT WAS SKIPPED IN THE BOTTOM OF THE 5th
7. Wes Darvill, SS: 0-3 (6-3, 4-1, K)
8. Cody Shields, CF: 2-3 (1B, 4-3, 2B, R, 2 RBI)
9. SLOT WAS SKIPPED - NO DH
1. Eduardo Figueroa – 3.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 3/3 GO/FO, 49 pitches (36 strikes)
2. Frank Batista – 3.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 4/2 GO/FO, 42 pitches (31 strikes)
P Eduardo Figueroa E-1 (throwing error on pick-off attempt at 1st base allowed runner to advance to 3rd base – eventually scored unearned run)
3B Bobby Wagner E-5 (missed catch on infield pop-up allowed batter to reach base – eventually scored unearned run)
C Jae-Hoon Ha E-2 (errant throw to 1st base after dropped third strike allowed batter reach base safely – eventually scored unearned run)
C Jae-Hoon Ha E-2 (two-base throwing error over 1st baseman’s head on sacrifice bunt allowed batter to reach 2nd and runner at 1st base to advance to 3rd – eventually scored unearned run)
Jae-Hoon Ha: 2 E (see above)
WEATHER: Sunny and cloudless with temperatures in the 80’s
Not as a major factor, but could be a tie-breaker. But, yeah, on performance and experience, it's Coghlan.
Arrieta’s 2.85 ERA would be good enough to lead 26 other teams. He's 3rd on #Cubs behind Hendricks (1.99) and Lester (2.28)
Meanwhile on the SouthSide
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.