Royals Flush Cubs into 13-Run Pool
Melky Cabrera drove-in three runs with a bases loaded triple to key a five-run 1st inning and the Royals never looked back, as the Cubs were thumped 13-4 by Kansas City in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny & warm Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.
The Royals did much of their damage against Cubs starter Matt Garza, who had an abysmal outing (especially his first inning), allowing a total of six runs on four hits and four walks in 2.2 IP (69 pitches - 40 strikes, 3/1 GO/FO).
The Royals scored five times in the top of the 1st, an inning in which Garza threw a whopping 39 pitches (23 strikes). Lorenzo Cain and Mike Aviles both drew walks to start the KC uprising, as Garza appeared to be over-throwing. Billy Butler ripped an RBI single for the 1st Royal run, and then Jeff Francouer drew a one-out walk (Garza's third free-pass of the inning). Melky Cabera then made Garza pay for his wild indiscretions, drilling a triple into deep left-centerfield to plate Aviles, Butler, and Francouer, and give the Royals a 4-0 lead. Alex Gordon followed with an RBI single to drive-in Cabrera.
The Cubs scored a single run in the bottom of the 1st against KC starter LHP Bruce Chen. Jeff Baker walked on a 3-2 pitch, and advanced to 3rd on a one-out single into the LF corner by hot-hittin' Marlon Byrd (with Byrd taking 2nd on the throw to 3rd). Aramis Ramirez then knocked-in Baker with an RBI ground out.
Although he issued another walk and had trouble locating the strike zone, Garza did retire 8 of 9 hitters after Gordon's 1st inning RBI single, before allowing another Gordon single with two outs in the 3rd, the last batter he would face. RHP Jay Jackson relieved Garza, and Gordon promptly stole a base to get into scoring position (a weak one-hop throw to 2nd by Geovany Soto). Manuel Pina then drove Gordon home with an RBI single, as Jackson allowed his inherited runner to score.
Marlon Byrd cut the KC lead to 6-2 with a solo HR over the LF fence with two outs in the 3rd. Over his last four Cactus League games, Byrd has nine hits (including four doubles and a HR) plus a walk in ten AB (11 PA).
But J. Jackson gave the run right back in the top of the 4th, as Aviles and Butler hammered consecutive one-out singles to put runners on 1st & 3rd, giving Wilson Betemit the opportunity to plate Aviles with a SF (which he did). J. Jackson surrendered another run in the 5th on back-to-back doubles by Cabrera and Gordon. For the day J. Jackson allowed two runs (not including the inherited Garza runner who scored) on five hits (including two doubles), with no walks or strikeouts. Getting stretched-out for when he joins the Iowa Cubs starting rotation at Minor League Camp (probably next week), Jackson was permitted to go 2.1 IP, throwing 48 pitches (31 strikes), with a 1/5 GO/FO (almost all of his pitches were up in the strike zone).
Carlos Marmol threw a 1-2-3 6th with two strikeouts (Jeff Bianchi and Kila Ka'aihue) and a ground out. Marmol had really nasty stuff today.
Down 8-2, the Cubs looked like they might mount another 6th inning rally like the one they pulled off against the Angels on Monday. Facing LHRP Everett Teaford, Josh Vitters (who has looked very good both at the plate and in the field this Spring) laced a one-out double, and Max Ramirez walked. Reed Johnson doubled to score Vitters and send M. Ramirez to 3rd (although in true Cubbery, all three runners were between 2nd and 3rd at one point), and Carlos Pena walked to load the bases, with the eventual potential tying run now moving to the On-Deck Circle. But Jim Adduci rolled into a room-service 4-6-3 DP to end the inning and kill the rally in its infancy.
RHP Justin Berg was next to take the hill for the Cubs, and he had another poor outing (a walk, a HBP, and an RBI single in 1.0 IP), throwing 18 pitches but only nine for strikes.
Jeff Stevens had an impressive (for him) 12-pitch 1-2-3 8th, but Esmailin Caridad struggled with his command and was tagged for three runs in a 23-pitch (14 strikes) 9th, surrendering a single, a triple, and a Mitch Maier HR (plus an HBP) before getting the third out.
The Cubs scored once in the bottom of the 9th, as pinch-hitter Chris Robinson rammed a double off the fence in left-centerfield, and scored a moment later on a Jeff Baker line-drive RBI single to right.
The Cubs had some good runs and nice winning streaks that propelled them to the playoffs. Austin Jackson wasn't part of that. I don't quite understand what it is about Jackson that they are so enamored with.
I think the strike zone was very inconsistent, but it's hard to blame the loss on the ump. They had chances and mistake pitches and just couldn't cash in. Lackey ran the ball inside and outside very effectively.
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.