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
Oh, no. "Now the benchmark is quickly shifting to whether they [the Cubs] can become one of the best teams in baseball history."
Lester should try that for pickoff throws.
any other unemployed on parrot chat?
Please be Noah Syndergaard and Andrew McCutchen...
Joking. I really like Andrew McCutchen. ...
Wow -- no Soler today, despite begin short of OF. As Baez's star rises, Jorge's has dimmed considerably.
"OTL: More PED busts coming from Major League Baseball"
Don't be a Cub, don't be a Cub, don't be a Cub!!!
Sorry typing too fast.
I think while I get what you're saying with moving around a lot of baseball is very rhythm based and for many players moving around a lot could disrupt that. It's the same reason many players aren't cut out for phing or dhing since they need to be in the rhythm of the game to hit.
Of course then you have players like LaStella who are terrible as starters and should only PH. Really hope Madden doesn't get enthralled with him starting too much.
The players are required to perform with minimal thinking, relying on reflex, reaction, and muscle memory (or, as you say, rhythm). I think this point of view doesn't lend itself well to changing things up. Wearing Zany suits, on the other hand, does sound like fun and definitely keeps things interesting.
Scared me for a minute with your anagram for "Almora".
KKVG: Among the players at Extended Spring Training, Isaac Paredes is the most-impressive position-player from the Cubs 2015-16 IFA class (I'm not including OF Eddy Julio Martinez, because he skipped EXST and began the season at South Bend). Paredes has legit game power and handles himself well at SS, although I think he will likely eventually end-up at 2B or 3B (maybe not this year, but down-the-line). It is possible that Paredes will get assigned to Eugene (and skip AZL) next month, and I would say he's the only one of the Cubs 2015-16 IFA position players who could.
Having been a mediocre HS player, I would think at a professional level - and in their 20's - doesn't it sound actually FUN to have a chance to play different positions in a 162-Game, uber-long season?
It has to take some of the monotony out of the job and keep you on your toes.
In fact, the best manufacturing floor job satisfaction training theories include job rotation as a way to improve employee satisfaction.
I hope Maddon can keep it going.
(It's usually KK, because his DNA is more like ours.)
Not just Maddon, but the organization as a whole. If the rumors are to be believed, they did a good job of letting Baez learn that he needed to change his approach, and Baez has done a good job listening to their instructions an adapting. Hopefully the same is true of Alomar, who is ripping up AAA.
Previous management teams haven't been as good at this (e.g. Corey Patterson).
Man, this team makes you greedy. Going into Pittsburgh -- with Cole vs. Hammel Game 1 -- I was hoping for 2 out of 3. After winning the first 2 games 14-3, I now want a sweep. Same thing happened in STL. Very, very fun.