Morelli Hit Streak at 18, But A's Edge Cubs
Cody Shields had three hits, an RBI, and an outfield assist, Wes Darvill reached base three times on two singles and a walk, and Jesus Morelli extended his hitting streak to 18 games, but Eduardo Figueroa and Jose Rosario were tagged to the tune of seven runs on ten hits (including two doubles and a HR) and four walks in five combined innings, as the EXST A’s edged the EXST Cubs 7-6 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Papago Park Field #2 in Phoenix this morning. The game was pre-planned as a ten-inning affair, to allow more pitchers to get work.
RHP Chris Huseby started the game for the Cubs and threw one inning (24 pitches – 12 strikes). He walked the first man he faced on four pitches, and the next batter on six pitches, and then the third hitter grounded a single to RF on a 2-0 pitch to load the bases. But then just like he did two days ago, Huseby somehow wiggled out of the jam, striking out the next two hitters on eight pitches, before getting the final out on a broken bat pop up to short on an 0-2 pitch, leaving the bases loaded.
Huseby still has trouble throwing his fastball for strikes (most all of them end up high & outside), but he is able to get his curve ball over the plate virtually at will, and so when he can get ahead of a hitter with his breaking ball, he can use his ultra-wild head-high fastball as a strikeout pitch (or at least that’s how he’s been doing it the last two times out).
The Cubs continue to have a problem with runners making the first or third out of an inning (especially the third out) at 3rd base. Today speedster Cody Shields ripped a two-out line-drive into the LF corner, but was thrown out trying to stretch the double into a triple, getting nailed at 3rd base just a split second after the slower Richard Jones scored. In previous games, the Cubs have actually had runs disallowed because a faster runner made a third out at 3rd base before the runner ahead had a chance to cross the plate.
While I realize that the Cubs have a lot of fast players at Extended Spring Training who like to be aggressive running the bases, there’s aggressive, and then there is stupid. This habit must be broken.
Here is today’s abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Kyung-Min Na, CF: 1-4 (5-3, F-8, F-8, 1B, BB, R)
2. Arismendy Alcantara, SS: 1-5 (1B, E-4, K, E-4, 4-U FC, 2 R, CS)
3. Jesus Morelli, DH #1: 1-5 (F-8, 4-3, 5-3, 6-3, 1B, RBI, R)
4. Xavier Batista, RF: 1-4 (K, K, L-5, F-9 SF, 2B, 2 RBI)
5. Richard Jones, 1B: 2-4 (K, 1B, 1-3, 1B, F-9 SF, RBI, R)
6a. Sergio Burruel, C: 1-2 (1B, F-7)
6b. Jose Guevara, C: 0-2 (K, L-8)
7. Cody Shields, LF: 3-4 (1B, 2B, K, 1B, RBI)
8. George Matheus, 3B: 1-4 (K, K, E-6, 1B)
9. Blair Springfield, DH #2: 0-3 (K, HBP, K, 6-4-3 GIDP)
10. Wes Darvill, SS: 2-3 (BB, 1B, 1B, F-7, R)
1. Chris Huseby – 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 24 pitches (12 strikes)
2. Eduardo Figueroa – 3.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R (5 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1/5 GO/FO, 68 pitches (38 strikes)
3. Jose Rosario – 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 2/3 GO/FO, 37 pitches (18 strikes)
4. Rogelio Carmona - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 3/1 GO/FO, 32 pitches (16 strikes)
5. Drew Rundle - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 0/1 GO/FO, 17 pitches (11 strikes)
6. Corey Martin - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 1/1 GO/FO, 15 strikes (9 strikes)
1. Sergio Burruel: 0-2 CS
2. Jose Guevara: 1-2 CS
Cody Shields threw out runner 7-5 trying advance from 1st to 3rd on a single to LF
WEATHER: Sunny, breezy, and hot, with temperatures in the 90’s
deno ended the season well even though ajax heavily cut into a lot of his chances to play. it's either him or ajax. i'm a bit partial to deno, but whatever...at least ajax isn't hitting 2nd.
Agreed. And, with Hendricks on the mound, Cubs will probably need to score some runs to win -- why not start Soler for his bat and bring in Ajax for defense later?
NEVER MIND....just re-read the lineup.
If the Cubs have the lead in the 8th, who pitches? Rodney? Travis? Yikes.
The Cubs had some good runs and nice winning streaks that propelled them to the playoffs. Austin Jackson wasn't part of that. I don't quite understand what it is about Jackson that they are so enamored with.
I think the strike zone was very inconsistent, but it's hard to blame the loss on the ump. They had chances and mistake pitches and just couldn't cash in. Lackey ran the ball inside and outside very effectively.
Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.
Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell
if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.
I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth
Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.
Wtf is up w/that?!
Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...
I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.
Awesome stuff, Phil.
listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.
That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.
it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?
sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.
HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).
Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.