Ha Stays Hot, and Crawford Saves the Day
Delbis Arcila, Oliver Zapata, and Evan Crawford ripped consecutive two-out doubles in the bottom of the 8th inning, plating first the tying run and then the go-ahead run, as the Cubs rallied to edge the Angels 8-7 in AZ instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this afternoon.
Crawford went 3-5 with two singles and a double, a stolen base, two runs scored, and the game-winning RBI, while Jae-Hoon Ha continued his hot hitting, going 3-4 with two singles and a double, one run scored, and an RBI. Hak-Ju Lee also reached base three times on a single and two walks, and extended his errorless game streak to ten (he has yet to commit in an AZ Instructional League game) this season.
The Angels took a 2-0 lead against Cubs starter Robinson Lopez in the top of the 1st inning on back-to-back two-out RBI doubles by Eric Oliver and Kaleb Cowart, but the Cubs came right back with two runs of their own in the bottom of the 1st as Evan Crawford reached base on an error, advanced to 3rd base on a hit & run single to center by Hak-Ju Lee, and scored on a ground ball RBI single to RF by Max Kwan. Lee then scored on a Ryan Cuneo sacrifice fly to tie the score at two.
Meanwhile, Cubs pitchers retired 14 Angels in a row at one point, as LHP Brian Smith had a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts (Smith had a 45.00 ERA and 6.00 WHIP coming into the game) and RHP Ryan Hartman set-down nine in a row.
The Cubs took a 5-2 lead in the bottom of the 6th when Ryan Cuneo drew a one-out walk and advanced to 3rd on a Jae-Hoon Ha double into left-center, before scoring on an errant throw by the Angels catcher, who was trying to pick Cuneo off 3rd base. Xavier Batista drove-in Ha with an RBI single, and the third and final run of the inning scored on a 6-4 FC.
But RHP Dustin Fitzgerald gave the three runs right back in the top of the 7th, only to have the Cubs push across the go-ahead run in the bottom of the 7th on a two-out RBI single by Ha. Then Fitzgerald got into more hot water in the top of the 8th, as Jeremy Cruz hammered a two-out two run double to give the Angels a 7-6 lead (Fitzgerald allowed three singles, three doubles, and a triple in 1.2 IP).
However, the Cubs were not finished, as Arcila-Zapata-Crawford smacked their back-to-back-to-back doubles with two outs in the bottom of the 8th to give the Cubs back the lead, and Starlin Peralta retired the Angels 1-2-3 in the top of the 9th to preserve the victory.
Here is today’s abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Evan Crawford, DH #1: 3-5 (E5, 6-4-3 GIDP, 1B, 1B, 2B, RBI, 2 R, SB)
2. Hak-Ju Lee, SS: 1-3 (1B, BB, K, K, BB, R, SB, PO)
3a. Max Kwan, C: 1-3 (1B, K, K, RBI)
3b. Micah Gibbs, C: 0-2 (FC+E4, P-5)
4. Ryan Cuneo, 1B: 1-2 (F-9 SF, 2B, BB, F-7, RBI, R)
5. Jae-Hoon Ha, CF: 3-4 (1B, 5-3, 2B, 1B, RBI, R)
6a. Logan Watkins, 2B: 0-2 (4-6 FC, F-7, HBP, R)
6b. Gioskar Amaya, 2B: 0-1 (P-4)
7. Xavier Batista, RF: 1-4 (5-3, F-9, 1B, 5-3, RBI)
8. Willson Contreras, 3B: 1-3 (1B, F-9, HBP, K)
9. Delbis Arcila, DH #2: 1-4 (1-3, 4-3, 6-4 FC, 2B, RBI, R)
10. Oliver Zapata, LF: 2-4 (1B, K, 5-3, 2B, RBI, R)
1. Robinson Lopez: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 47 pitches (29 strikes), 4/2 GO/FO
2. Brian Smith: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 12 pitches (8 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
3. Ryan Hartman: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 31 pitches (21 strikes), 0/7 GO/FO
4. Dustin Fitzgerald: 1.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R (5 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 42 pitches (28 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
5. Starling Peralta: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 19 pitches (9 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
Max Kwan: 0-2 CS
Micah Gibbs: 2-2 CS
WEATHER: Sunny & breezy, with temperatures in the 90’s
Not sure I agree with this logic. The Cubs are one of the best teams in baseball, they have spent heavily on the team over the past couple of seasons, have more hitting prospects than they have places for them to play (and more on the way), a clear weakness in the bullpen, and have a 1.5 year window with Arrieta (to say nothing of the likely declines of Lester and Lackey).
Unless you think (maybe even if you do think) Schwarber is the next coming of Babe Ruth, I would certainly consider trading him if it brought back a couple of the best relief pitchers in baseball.
Miggy was going to sit anyway with Lester starting.
In related news, do any of the Cubs pitchers want to throw to Contreras?
Only Russell and Miggy failed to reach base yesterday. Both sit today.
Trading Schwarber actually makes a lot of sense because his actual position is currently being taken by Anthony Rizzo, unless they vote in the DH this offseason.
Trading him for a reliever is never going to happen though. I don't think you can trade Schwarber unless you get a CF'er for a few years (presume Fowler finds his multi-year deal next offseson) or a couple of high end young starters...or an established starter...a good one like Chris Sale.
I don't see what the Yanks have that the Cubs need.
peter gammons on MLB network pushing the yanks/schwarber angle...says insiders from the yanks say brian cashman highly covets him.
unless that conversation starts with a.miller (2/18m left on contract) i dunno how you even start that conversation given the "not trash, but no stars" state of the yanks minor league system.
they got corner OF'r aaron judge, C gary sanchez, RHP james kaprielian's questionable elbow, RHP domingo acevedo...all interesting, none expected to impact the game like schwarber's power potential.
Zo, Heyward, KB, Riz, Contreras (LF), Baez (SS), Szczur (CF), Ross, Lester
damn. low sample size blah blah whatever, but that slash got sneaky good. 10 hits, 4 walks, 2hr, 1 double through 39 PA...nice
Buddy Ryan takes his place alongside George Allen as the great Bear head coaches who never were.
Well, at least he can still hit: Jake slashing .294/.368/.868. Forget hitting 8th -- he should hit 6th.
Curious to see today's lineup vs. a LHP: Ross needs to catch Lester, Joe likes Javy at 3B when Lester pitches. Heyward with back-to-back good games at the plate, and is actually hitting a little better against LHP (.247/.341) than RHP (.232/.321), although neither is much to write home about. But, tomorrow is an early day game, so some regulars will probably sit either today or tomorrow.
Maybe Willson in LF, KB in RF and Almora in CF? If so, Albert Jr., assume every ball is yours.
"Pitching prospects not looking so hot"
That reminds me that Lucas Giolito will start for the Nats tonight.
Well, there you go. Federowicz is one of the best at balls in the dirt.
Reds pitching meeting tomorrow:
"Hey coach...maybe we should walk Bryant?"
"No...keep challenging him with fastballs! What kind of man are you?! The Cubs walked Harper, and look what happened there! They got teased for it, by one of the Nat players! Is that what you want?"
How can I get that feature? I think it woudl be a win-win for all involved.
Ian Happ is hitting.733 after 5 games at Tennessee. He went into tonight's game hitting .667 -- and went 3-for-3 to raise his average.
2-for-3, including a bomb, for LaStella at Iowa. Pierce Johnson very bad -- 2IP, 5ER. Pitching prospects not looking so hot -- Underwood has been awful.
Did Jiminez get hurt? I noticed he came out early yesterday.