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
it's day old news, and it's got nothing to do with the cubs, but ichiro signed a $2m deal with MIA (with a $2m option for 2017).
neat. 41 years old and damn close to 3000 hits.
also, rain delays suck.
take that giants
I think that if a team objects to the 1-game wildcard playin game so much, they could just win the pennant and avoid themselves the trouble.
Per Jesse Sanchez at mlb.com, Cubs reportedly have signed 20-year old Cuban OF Eddy Julio Martinez for $3M bonus.
BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).
TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.
TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.
Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.
Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.
Think Baby Maddux.
Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.
Kyle is on the far left.
I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.
Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.
That was good!
Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.
My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.
Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.
Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.
How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?
Call me lost.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.