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
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.