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
In all seriousness the Cubs have the fewest amount of games played in the NL which means they're gonna be facing quite the grind later on including 24 games in a row at the end of June and beginning of July so I hope he does get a few days off.
Meh. He only got one hit today. Maybe give him a rest?
Good thing the Cubs have five left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties [edit - doesn't seem to faze Bryant!]
ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.
cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/
HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC.
ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels.
M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores) the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating.
E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.
Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).
PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.