Cubs and Giants Split the Difference at Indian School Park
Marco Hernandez hit a solo HR, drove-in another run with a sacrifice fly, singled, stole a base, and scored three runs, to lead a 13-hit attack as one squad of EXST Cubs coasted to a 10-3 victory over one squad of EXST Giants on Field #1, while over on Field #2 the other squad of EXST Giants scored six runs in the first two innings en route to a 9-3 victory over the other squad of EXST Cubs, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Indian School Park in Scottsdale this afternoon.
Both games were seven-inning affairs, and they were played simultaneously on adjacent fields.
Iowa Cubs OF Brad Snyder (strained oblique) continued his injury rehab, playing LF for five innings and getting four ABs with the EXST Cubs squad on Field #2. Snyder drew a walk in the top of the 1st, was called out on strikes on a 3-2 pitch in the 2nd (and Snyder did NOT like the call), grounded out 4-3 in the top of the 4th, and singled and scored in the 5th. From what I have seen of Snyder so far, he has been hitting the ball with authority, he is running very well, and he is making all the necessary catches and throws in the outfield. I doubt that he will be down here much longer.
After getting shutout 7-0 yesterday at Fitch Park, the EXST Cubs bats showed some life today, especially in the game on Field #1.
The Cubs played “small ball” to plate two runs in the top of the 1st, as Vismeldy Bieneme singled, advanced to third when Marco Hernandez reached base on an E-4 (ball was kicked into RF by the Giants second-baseman), and scored on a 1-3 RBI GO. Then with two outs, Hernandez stole 3rd base, and came around to score on an overthrow by the Giants catcher that had so much juice on it that it ended up in the LF corner. Hernandez clubbed a solo HR over the RF fence leading off the 3rd, and then the Cubs scored four more times in the 5th.
Speedy 21-year old Dominican INF Gregori Gonzalez (making his U. S. debut) reached base on an error, stole 2nd, advanced to 3rd on a SH, and then scored on a Marco Hernandez SF. Wilson Contreras rifled a single to CF, and then Dong-Yub Kim smashed an RBI double off the RF fence to score Contreras. (DY Kim reminds me of a young pre-juicer Jose Canseco). Hector Suarez and Eduardo Gonzalez followed with RBI singles to cap the inning’s scoring.
The Cubs scored three more times in the 7th, as Marco Hernandez singled and scored on a Wilson Contreras RBI triple, with Contreras himself scoring on a throwing error by the Giants CF. Hector Suarez (switch-hitter - batting LH) then swatted a solo HR over the RF fence to finish the day for the Cub offense on Field #1.
The squad on Field #2 scored three runs, all coming in the 5th. Wes Darvill and Brad Snyder walked, and Johan DeJesus drove-in one run with an RBI single. Then Kyung-Min Na knocked-in Snyder and DeJesus with a two-out bloop double on a 3-2 pitch that fell between three Giants fielders in short left-center.
Both EXST Cubs starting pitchers struggled today, with 2010 4th round draft pick LHP Hunter Ackerman allowing three runs on two singles, a double, and three walks (and no strikeouts and only 53% strikes) and two WP in two innings of work on Field #1, while RHP Alvido Jimenez allowed five runs (although only two were earned, thanks to a critical fielding error by 2B Pin-Chieh Chen on what should have been an inning-ending 5-4-3 DP) on four hits and a walk (plus two WP) in 1.2 IP on Field #2.
For a guy who was a 4th round draft pick the previous June, Hunter Ackerman has really been a disappointment so far. An 8.00 ERA and 2.02 WHIP in 15.1 IP (19 H and 12 BB) at AZL Cubs after he signed, then an 8.00 ERA and 2.00 WHIP in 9.0 IP at AZ Instructs post-2010, and now a very poor first outing at Extended Spring Training. Ackerman is only 20 and lefties do sometimes take a while to find success, but I haven't seen anything in Ackerman (yet) to justify him being a 4th round draft pick.
RHP Matt Loosen (2010 23rd round pick out of the U. of Jacksonville) had the best outing among the Cubs pitchers who threw today, tossing 3.2 IP of shutout ball. And LHP Casey Harman (2010 29th round pick out of Clemson) got four outs on only nine pitches to finish things for the squad on Field #1. I would think that Loosen and Harman are probably at the top of the list should a replacement pitcher be needed at Peoria (Harman was the last pitcher cut from the Peoria squad at Minor League Camp).
18-year old Marco Hernandez (he who had the big day today) made his U. S. debut last September at AZ Instructs, hitting 250/275/278 in 14 games while learning to switch-hit, after putting up a 294/364/405 line for DSL Cubs #1 during the 2010 regular season. He is a natural left-handed hitter, and the HR he hit today was clubbed from the left-side.
One interesting thing about the young Cubs presently at Fitch Park is that most of them have plus-speed, while the big league Cubs may be the slowest team in baseball.
Here are today’s abridged box scores (Cubs players only):
SQUAD “A” LINEUP:
1. Vismeldy Bieneme, 2B: 2-3 (1B, 1B, SH+E3, L-7, R, CS)
2. Marco Hernandez, SS: 2-3 (E-4, HR, F-9 SF, 1B, 3 R, 2 RBI, SB)
3. Wilson Contreras, 1B: 2-4 (1-3, K, 1B, 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI)
4. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 1-3 (K, HBP, 2B, F-8, R, RBI)
5. Hector Suarez, DH #1: 2-4 (K, F-9, 1B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI)
6. Oliver Zapata, CF: 1-4 (P-6, K, 1B, E-4)
7. Eduardo Gonzalez, RF: 3-4 (1B, 4-3, 1B, 1B, RBI, SB)
8. Blair Springfield, DH #2: 1-4 (1B, F-7, K, K)
9. Max Kwan, C: 0-3 (K, K, L-6)
10. Gregori Gonzalez, 3B: 0-2 (HBP, E-5, 5-3, R, SB)
SQUAD “A” PITCHERS:
1. Hunter Ackerman: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 0 K, 2 WP, 38 pitches (20 strikes), 5/1 GO/FO
2. Matt Loosen: 3.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 37 pitches (26 strikes), 3/3 GO/FO
3. Casey Harman: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 9 pitches (6 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
SQUAD “A” ERRORS: 1
1B Wilson Contreras E3 – missed catch on what should have been a 6-3 GO allowed batter to reach base safely
SQUAD “A” CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Max Kwan: 1-1 CS
NOTE: Brad Snyder played LF and was the third batter in the bottom of the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th innings
SQUAD “B” LINEUP:
X. Brad Snyder, LF: 1-3 (BB, K, 4-3, 1B, R)
1. Pin-Chieh Chen, 2B: 0-2 (BB, 6-3, L-8, SB)
2. Reggie Golden, DH: 0-3 (K, K, 6-3)
3a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TWO TIMES THRU ORDER
3b. Jesus Morelli, LF: 1-1 (2B)
4. Xavier Batista, RF: 0-3 (F-7, F-7, K)
5. Wes Darvill, SS: 0-2 (K, BB, 3-1)
6. Dustin Harrington, 3B: 0-3 (K, 4-6 FC, 6-3, R)
7a. Johan DeJesus, C: 1-2 (F-7, 1B, R, RBI)
7b. Yaniel Cabezas, C: 0-1 (K)
8. Dustin Geiger, 1B: 0-3 (3-U, 1-3, F-7)
9. Kyung-Min Na, CF: 1-2 (3-1, 2B, 2 RBI)
SQUAD “B” PITCHERS:
1. Alvido Jimenez: 1.2 IP, 4 H, 5 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 2 WP, 35 pitches (19 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
2. Ryan Hartman: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 16 pitches (7 strikes), 4/0 GO/FO
3. Dustin Fitzgerald: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 32 pitches (22 strikes), 3/1 GO/FO
4. Alvaro Sosa: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 4 K, 2 WP, 52 pitches (30 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
SQUAD “B” ERRORS: 2
1. 2B Pin-Chieh Chen E4 – missed catch on attempted 5-4 FC allowed baserunner to reach 2nd base safely and then advance to 3rd – led to three unearned runs scoring
2. 3B Dustin Harrington E5 – fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely
SQUAD “B” CATCHERS DEFENSE:
1. Johan DeJesus: 0-3 CS
2. Yaniel Cabezas: 0-1 CS, 2 PB
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 70’s
HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC.
ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels.
M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores) the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating.
E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.
Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).
PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.
a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...
it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.
soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.
he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.