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.
2nd in defensive WAR, NL.
6th in NL in RBI
Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.
Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.