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
Jake Arrieta gives up first inning run
For the first time in a year, 33 starts.
Old news, sorry if it's 3/44-
J-Hey being classy by repaying an old teammate:
With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?
Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.
This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!