Angels Fly Away with Shutout at Fitch Park
Michael Bolaski slugged a 450-ft+ two-run HR over the CF Batter’s Eye (“Green Monster”) and five EXST Angels pitchers combined to throw a seven-hit shutout, as the EXST Cubs were blanked 3-0 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.
The game was extended an extra inning to allow Cubs and Angels pitchers to get their scheduled work.
Continuing his injury rehab assignment, RHP Todd Wellemeyer got the start for the Cubs today and threw three innings (42 pitches). He allowed one run on four hits (three singles and a double) and a HBP, issuing no walks, while striking out three. The only run allowed by Wellemeyer scored in the top of the 2nd inning (lead-off double, ground out, and a sacrifice fly).
After struggling with the AZL Cubs in 2010 (8.22 ERA, 2.02 WHIP, and .311 Opp BA in 15.1 IP), AZ Instructional League post-2010 (8.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, and .381 Opp BA in 9.0 IP), and Minor League Camp and the first two weeks of Extended Spring Training in 2011, Cubs 2010 4th round draft pick LHP Hunter Ackerman (Louisburg JC) had what was probably his best pro outing to date today, throwing 2.2 IP of shutout ball, and allowing just one hit and a walk, while striking out five.
While the Cubs were playing the Angels on Field #3, LHP (ex-OF) Kyler Burke, RHP (ex-3B) Charles Thomas, and RHP Larry Suarez (injury rehab - unknown type injury) threw “live” BP to the most of the Cubs position players who were not in the lineup on Field #3.
Here is today’s abridged box score (Cubs players only):
NOTE: To practice his bunting, Todd Wellemeyer took an insert-AB with no outs and a runner at 1st base in the top of the 1st inning
X. Todd Wellemeyer, P: 0-0 (2-4 SH)
1. Vismeldy Bieneme, DH #1: 0-2 (HBP, 1-3, K)
2. Reggie Golden, RF: 0-3 (5-U FC, K, K, CS)
3. Pin-Chieh Chen, 2B: 0-3 (P-4, K, 3-U)
4. Xavier Batista, 1B: 1-3 (F-8, 1B, F-8)
5a. Chad Noble, C: 1-2 (2B, 4-3)
5b. Johan DeJesus, C: 0-1 (F-7)
6. Blair Springfield, DH #2: 1-3 (K, 5-3, 1B)
7. Dustin Geiger, 3B: 0-3 (L-8, 6-3, 5-4-3 DP)
8. Max Kwan, LF: 1-3 (6-3, 2B, K)
9. Dustin Harrington, SS: 1-3 (1B, 5-3, K, CS)
10. Eduardo Gonzalez, CF: 1-3 (K-DP, L-7, 1B)
11a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED 1st TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
11b. Gregori Gonzalez, DH #3: 1-2 (1B, 6-4 FC, CS)
1. Todd Wellemeyer: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 42 pitches (29 strikes), 3/1 GO/FO
2. Hunter Ackerman: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K, 44 pitches (28 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
3. Ben Wells: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 32 pitches (19 strikes), 5/1 GO/FO
4. Joe Zeller: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 32 pitches (22 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
NOTE: Zeller’s first inning of work was stopped with two outs when he reached his max pitch limit for that inning
Chad Noble: 2-3 CS
Chad Noble was thrown out at 3rd base (made the third out at 3rd base) trying to stretch a double into a triple
WEATHER: Sunny & VERY breezy with temperatures in the 80’s
Not as a major factor, but could be a tie-breaker. But, yeah, on performance and experience, it's Coghlan.
Arrieta’s 2.85 ERA would be good enough to lead 26 other teams. He's 3rd on #Cubs behind Hendricks (1.99) and Lester (2.28)
Meanwhile on the SouthSide
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.