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
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?
AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?
Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.
AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.
I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.
But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.
Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.
Jason deGrom -- oh, my.
Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.
Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.
Considering how players reacted it seemed pretty accurate high and wide (to righties), but not so accurate low and in. I thought the strike zone by the ump was awful, but it was consistent and the Cubs never adjusted.
Rizzo and Bryant need to have good at bats. They are really looking outclassed in these two games.
that game sounds fun as hell.