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
Apparently the Yankees had the choice of either Gleyber Torres or Eloy Jimenez in the Chapman deal, and they chose Torrers.
Chapman shouldn't be reserved anymore on 40 man.
Interesting split on Heyward according to ESPN. As a CF, his slash line .292/.363/.375/.738. At RF: .212/.204/.300/.604. 21/72 as a CF, 58/273 as a RF.
He's also been better when batting 2nd, but he had a nice start in the 6 hole, but has slumped ever since. He was heating up before the All Star break, but is only hitting .108 in the 2nd half.
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.