Angels Rally in 9th to Edge Cubs at HoHoKam
Down to their last out, the AZL Angels rallied for three runs in the top of the 9th to defeat the AZL Cubs 6-4 in Arizona League Opening Day action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa this evening.
2010 34th round pick Dustin Harrington and 2009 19th round pick Sergio Burruel had three hits a piece for the Cubs, and both Aaron Kurcz and Dustin Fitzgerald had impressive (albeit brief) pro debuts, as both of the 2010 Cub draft picks threw 1-2-3 innings with two strikeouts. Kurcz throws a fastball in the mid-90's, and was the closer for College of Southern Nevada this past season where he was a teammate of overall #1 draft pick Bryce Harper (and Cubs 27th round draft pick Bryan Harper). And at 6'4 225, Dustin Fitzgerald looks a lot like Thomas Diamond.
AA Tennessee LHP Casey Lambert got the start for the AZL Cubs in what is supposed to be his final rehab outing before leaving Mesa for (presumably) Tennessee, and threw two shutout innings (20 pitches - 14 strikes), allowing a lead-off single in the top of the 1st before striking out the side, and then allowing another lead-off single in the top of the 2nd before retiring the side on three fly outs, one of which ended up being a 7-4 FC at 2nd base after Melvin Camarena just missed a diving catch try in short LF.
BTW, there are two errors in tonight's game BOX SCORE (and GAME RECAP) that appears in minor league baseball.com (see box score link below).
One occurred in the bottom of the 7th inning, when the Cubs took a 4-3 lead. Sergio Burruel and Blair Springfield (after failing to lay down a sac bunt) singled, and then Melvin Camarena--NOT PINCH HITTER Vismeldy Bieneme--laid down a bunt and beat it out for a base hit, with a run scoring on an overthrow by the Angels pitcher at 1st base. Camarena suffered an apparent ankle injury when he landed on the 1st base bag awkwardly and had to leave the game, being replaced by PINCH-RUNNER Vismeldy Bieneme, who was subsequently left stranded after advancing to 2nd base on a WP. Bieneme then did have one AB (but only one) later in the game, striking out leading off the bottom of the 9th. So the official scorer incorrectly gave Bieneme credit for the Camarena bunt single in the 7th, cheating Camarena out of a hit, and instead crediting Bieneme with a hit when he hadn't even entered the game yet at that point.
The other box score error occurred in the top of the 8th, when Angels 3B Michael Bolaski reached base on Catcher's Interference. While AZL Cubs catcher Sergio Burruel was (correctly) charged with an error, Bolaski was also charged with an AB. However, when a batter reaches base on Catcher's Interference, the batter is NOT supposed to be charged with an AB, so Bolaski should be listed as having three AB in the game, not four.
Otherwise, the box score is accurate.
There is another error in the Minor League baseball site, where they list Boise pitcher Marcos Perez as a RHP when he actually throws left-handed. There also are some obvious height/weight discrepancies, showing some players two inches taller than they really are, or 15-20 pounds over or under their actual weight, but those are just too many to list.
It probably would be a good idea for someone at minor league baseball.com to maybe at least correct tonight's box score (giving Camarena an extra AB and hit, and taking away one of Bieneme's AB and his hit, and taking an AB away from Bolaski), and to show Marcos Perez as a LHP at Boise, just for the sake of accuracy, if nothing else.
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.
I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.
One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players.
CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.
Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.
As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?
AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?
Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.
AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.
I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.
But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.
Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.
Jason deGrom -- oh, my.
Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.
Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.