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
Schwarber stays back and hammers a 3-2 change-up that was down and away. Very impressive.
And a good job to drive the ball to RF to advance the runner in the 8th. Encouraging.
It looks like the Cubs "post-season clinch number" is 25 right now: http://lyle.smu.edu/~olinick/riot/national_league.html
Is the magic number 25 or 26?
Agreed, to my untrained eyes he does look better than last season. Not a finished product yet and hopefully he will continue to improve, but if he plays solid middle infield defense he will stick in the majors.
Phillips smiled at Strop and gave him a thumbs up.
That pitch Schwarber hit is the kind he's been missing a lot of lately. When Schwarber struggles it reminds me of how hard it is to hit baseballs at that level. It doesn't seem like they've found a weakness, just that he isn't seeing the ball that great and just missing. Same with Rizzo the last few days.
I missed it. What did he do?
JOHN B: Pierce Johnson and Rob Zastryzny were likely 2015 AFL candidates ( I mentioned them as likely candidates to get assigned to the AFL in an article about the AFL last month) because they are starting pitchers who missed part of the season due to injuries and they need to accrue more innings. Guys who have been pitching regularly as starters have thrown too many innings to be considered, so it probably came down to Johnson, Zastryzny, and Duane Underwood Jr, with Underwood odd man out because he hasn't pitched above Hi-A.
extremely classy. i didn't see his reaction until the replay after the break. baseball needs more fun in some areas and less of some 'unwritten rules' violations leading to angst.
Nice bounce back game for Grimm, and "well done" Dan Haren. We'll take that (almost) every time.
I have never been a Brandon Phillips fan, but that was a very classy way to handle Strop yelling at him after the K.
go cubs go
You know you like it
AZ Phil: Any thoughts on the AFL Cubs? Some names on the list caught me by surprise.