A's Use Long-Ball to Teach Cub Pitchers a Thing or Six

A. J. Kirby-Jones smashed a grand slam home run to power the A’s Split Squad #1 to a 6-0 whitewashing of the Cubs in AZ Instructional League action at Papago Park Baseball Complex Field #3 in Phoenix this morning.

Josh Vitters got his second start in three days for the Cubs, playing 3B for seven innings and getting three plate appearances along the way. He grounded a single sharply between the shortstop and third-baseman in his first AB in the 2nd inning, was called out on strikes on a 1-2 pitch with two out and runners at 1st & 3rd in the 4th, and bounced out 5-3 his third time up in the 8th. He handled no chances defensively.

Here is today’s abridged box score (Cubs players only):

1a. Marco Hernandez, SS: 0-3 (6-3, L-6, 1-3)
2a. Logan Watkins, 2B: 2-3 (3-U, 1B, 1B, PO)
2b. Dustin Geiger, 3B: 1-1 (1B)
3a. Micah Gibbs, C: 1-3 (K, 1B, L-3)
3b. Sergio Burruel, C: 0-1 (1-6-3 GIDP)
4. Justin Bour, 1B: 0-3 (4-3, K, 3-U)
5a. Josh Vitters, 3B: 1-3 (1B, K, 5-3)
5b. Gioskar Amaya, 2B: NO AB
6. Jae-Hoon Ha, CF: 0-3 (F-9, 3-U, E6, SB)
7. Reggie Golden, DH #1: 0-3 (6-4 FC, F-7, K)
8. Ryan Cuneo, LF: 0-2 (K, F-8, BB)
9a. Delbis Arcila, DH #2: 0-2 (K, K)
9b. Max Kwan, PH: 0-1 (K)
10. Oliver Zapata, RF: 0-3 (K, K, 4-3)

1. Jeff Lorick: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 1 GIDP, 39 pitches (22 strikes), 7/0 GO/FO
2. Tarlandus Mitchell: 1.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 44 pitches (28 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
3. Luis Liria: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 43 pitches (24 strikes)
4. Amaury Paulino: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 1 GIDP, 22 pitches (10 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
5. Starling Peralta: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 12 pitches (9 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO


Micah Gibbs: 1-1 CS



WEATHER: Sunny & hot with temperatures in the 90’s



E. Volquez to start Game 1 of NLDS

Sullivan gets a shot in on Z one last time this season
Calling Dr. Kookie: The old Big Z makes a cameo in the 7th when yanked by Q- hands him the ball without looking at him, stalks off.

and Ramirez joins an elite Cubs group

Aramis Ramirez is 1 of 6 #Cubs to have 6 or more 25-HR seasons with the team, joining Sosa, Williams, Banks, Santo and Ryno

Next Sunday, Oct 10th...Simpsons Episode: MoneyBart

Synopsis: Lisa coaches Bart's Little League team to beef up her extracurricular-activities resumé, but her academic approach to the game takes some of the fun out of it for Bart. Baseball great Mike Scioscia and statistician Bill James have voice cameos.

Scioscia back for Round 2, eh? Stay away from that nuclear waste!

There'd better be a reference to that in there.

Len Casper (on his blog) hopes Quade gets the Cubs managerial job:


Hard to believe, it's our final 2010 regular season blog post today.

I guess I will leave you with this--what ended up being a disappointing year at
least ended on a positive note. This thing could have really gotten away from
Mike Quade, who took over a club in August appeared to be heading down a
100-loss path. But they got it back together rather quickly and while the Cubs'
fate had already been sealed, they finished as strong as you could have hoped
for. It all starts with the pitching and the Cubs' staff has been lights-out,
particularly a bullpen that got off to such a bad start.

I've said this a lot, but I will repeat it one more time--Mike Quade has done
everything to earn a return as the permanent skipper. I hope he gets it. I
don't make these decisions, but I think the Cubs are going to have a very
difficult time finding another candidate who fits the job better than Q has. Len

Pretty much Hill's starting last night forever doomed Quade in my mind. If you're not going to make decisions to help the organization, fuck off.

Hill likely started because Z was the starting pitcher. I don't get all the anger at Castillo not starting 800 games in a row. There are actual baseball reasons Hill started these games. I'm not a big Koyie Hill fan, and I would expect him to not be on the team next season and Castillo take his spot, but enough with the bitching about playing veterans vs contending teams or when your troubled pitcher is trying to end the season on a positive note.

It's the usual manager-veteran quid pro quo. Quade is trying to win games, first, and endorsements second. Veterans like Hill are much more talkative. Per Sullivan in the Trib:

"I don't think it's a secret that everyone in the clubhouse, speaking on behalf of the rest of the team, we'd really like to see Quade get the job," catcher Koyie Hill said. "He's been through it all, like we have. He related to everybody. I've never seen a manager or a coach get everything out of every single player, he brought it out of everybody. … It'll play out, but we're pulling for him."

Note that Hill is "speaking on behalf of the rest of the team." Quade picked the right veteran to give playing time to.

Yes, let's hire Quade to manage despite what amount to promises made to Sandberg and despite that fact that we all know the win streak in this low-pressure fairly small amount of games means next to nothing. Thanks, Len, for that expert analysis.

today to preserve his .300 BA...Ted William's headless body spins in its grave somewhere.

I've always thought it was cowardly crap to sit out the final day to preserve an average. Just crap. I have less respect for Quade and Castro now. It's different if Castro were hurt. And Len and Bob were both in favor of sitting him to preserve the average.

I got no problem with giving Castro the day off - great effort to pull it up to .300 yesterday. He hit .300 his rookie year - no asterisk for me.

Cubs get the 9th draft pick (by winning the Astros drop to pick 11). Looks like Q-ball knows when to fold em!

4-0 Astros (final)

Here's the explanation of why it's not just a reverse standings thang to figure out what draft pick the Cubs get (courtesy of Hrubes20):



is it april yet?

I'm too busy celebrating the end of this nightmare to worry about April yet.

Braves beat Phils 8-7...

so if Padres lose, SF wins division, Braves are Wildcard

BUT if Padres win (today's game is in SF), it's a 3 way tie (all with 91 wins).

Play-in game between SD and SF, in SD Monday and the loser goes to Atlanta for the wild card deciding game tuesday.

The wild card winner then goes to Philly Wednesday for the NLDS game 1.

If the Padres or Giants wind up winning the wild card, they would have played 4 games in 4 days in 4 cities.

HOU players are not only throwing balls into the stands to fans to "end the year"...some guys are giving un-broken bats and hats to kids.

"I always tell them in private how much I love them." - Dave Spaghetti, giants pitching coach on his pitchers


Does Cutler need a candy bar?

Can anyone answer this for me? Who was the last 20 year old with enough AB's to qualify for the batting title, to hit .300?

I don't have the BR.com play index, but you can do a search on it. It'll block out the first 6 names if you don't pay for it, but I came up with A-Rod in '96. Griffey Jr. before that in '90.

Just took a look at Arod's stats. What a year that was but technically he turned 21 on July 27 of that year. Maybe I should have phrased by questions differently "last one to hit 300 before his 21st birthday" Griffey Jr was still 20 when he did it though. I'm splitting hairs here. You answered my question. Thanks again.

your age on July 1st is the standard for determining your baseball age that season.

the BR list only came up with 22 names for what it's worth, most of them very well known names.

13 of the Cubs' last 23 games were shutouts, one way or the other. I can't remember seeing a run like that before.

quade for pitching coach

needs more lens flares and explosions, otherwise well-done Heckler.

Recent comments

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  • Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.

  • Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell

  • if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.

  • I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth

  • Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.

    Wtf is up w/that?!

  • Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...

  • 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?