Vitters Back in Game Action at Instructs
Xavier Batista smashed a solo HR and threw a runner out at the plate, leading the Cubs to a 5-3 victory over the Angels in AZ Instructional League action at Diablo Park Field #3 in Tempe this afternoon.
Josh Vitters got into his first game action since suffering a broken hand after being hit by a pitch in a Southern League game on July 25th, going 1-3 and playing 3B for the first five innings. He stroked a fly ball near-HR that bounced off the warning track and up & over the fence in left-center for a book-rule double in his first AB, before striking out (swinging) in his other two Plate Appearances. He also made the defensive play of the game, a sprawling catch of a foul pop up down the LF line followed by a perfect throw to 2nd base to double-up a base-runner trying to advance after the catch. (Vitters will be continuing his rehab with the Cubs AZ Instructional League team until the start of the AFL season on October 12th).
Cubs 2010 7th round pick RHP Ben Wells (Bryant HS - Bryant, AR) made his pro debut in today’s game, throwing one shutout inning (10 pitches – six strikes). He gave up a lead-off 400-ft+ double off the CF batter’s eye, but then got the next hitter to line into a DP, before striking out the third and final hitter of the inning with a couple of nasty sliders. Wells is a big kid (6’3 240+) and will have to watch his weight. He looks like an offensive lineman, and he just turned 18 three weeks ago!
18-year old Korean Bonus Baby Jin-Yeong Kim had a far rockier outing today than he did in his pro debut last week, allowing two runs on five hits (four singles and a triple) in three innings of work. He did throw strikes, however (he has yet to walk a batter in five professional innings), and he did not crumble or melt when the Angels threatened to score.
A bus-load of students from the MLB Scouting Academy attended the game, and they were all over the park, with their clipboards, stopwatches, and radar guns. It was kind of oddly coincidental that they should be at Diablo Park today, since Angels Scouting Director Eddie Bane and several Angels scouts were reportedly fired this week.
Here is today’s abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Marco Hernandez, SS: 0-4 (L-6, K, E4, 4-3, R)
2. Logan Watkins, 2B: 0-1 (E1, BB, BB, BB, R)
3a. Josh Vitters, 3B: 1-3 (2B, K, K, R)
3b. Chad Noble, PH: 0-1 (6-4 FC)
4. Justin Bour, 1B: 1-4 (1B, K, 3-6 FC, F-8, 2 RBI)
5. Micah Gibbs, DH-C: 0-2 (L-8, HBP, BB, 4-3)
6. Dustin Geiger, DH-3B: 0-3 (L-6, F-7, K, BB)
7. Xavier Batista, RF: 2-4 (HR, F-8, F-8, 1B, RBI, R)
8. Sergio Burruel, C-DH: 1-4 (3-1, 1B, 5-3, L-8 DP)
9. Chris Huseby, LF: 1-3 (K, F-9, 1B, HBP)
10. Oliver Zapata, CF: 1-4 (1-U, 1B, K, 4-3, R)
1. Matt Loosen: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 35 pitches (23 strikes), 3/5 GO/FO
2. Ben Wells: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 10 pitches (6 strikes), 0/2 GO/FO
3. Jin-Yeong Kim: 3.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 49 pitches (33 strikes), 1/4 GO/FO
4. Austin Reed: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 22 Pitches (15 strikes), 1/4 GO/FO
RF Xavier Batista: threw out baserunner 9-2 trying to score from 3rd base on fly out to RF
ATTENDANCE: 65 (including 40+ from MLB Scouting Academy)
WEATHER: Sunny & very hot, with 100+ degree temps
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.
O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already.
I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.
I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.
Enjoyable read on David Ross.
Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.
With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined).
BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.
If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).
As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).
I want my baseball team to win by playing better baseball. I don't want umps, fields, or fans to have anything to do with it.
Just with the chanting thing it worked to rattle Cueto last year where he dropped a ball and gave up a HR next pitch so you can't really hate on the fans for trying it again in this important of a game.
I felt the same way, too, but...
I was very disappointed with Pittsburgh fans. At Wrigley a few weeks ago, they were very obnoxious guests, the cockiness on Twitter, and what's the deal with chanting Arrieta's name during the game? Very bush league. Add that up with Rodriguez's poor sportsmanship and you quickly have a team that you don't mind beating 4-0 in a do or die game.
Absolutely-It was tense. And when the Pirates couldn't push any runs across, you could see the frustration boil over.