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.
Not as a major factor, but could be a tie-breaker. But, yeah, on performance and experience, it's Coghlan.
Arrieta’s 2.85 ERA would be good enough to lead 26 other teams. He's 3rd on #Cubs behind Hendricks (1.99) and Lester (2.28)
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For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.