Cubs Use Their Cabezas to Beat Kazmir
Yaniel Cabezas singled twice, doubled, scored two runs, and threw out two opposing base-stealers, and four Cubs pitchers combined to throw a four-hitter, as a split squad of EXST Cubs edged the EXST Angels 2-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #2 in Mesa this morning.
The game was extended an extra inning to allow Cubs and Angels pitchers to get their scheduled work.
Cubs pitchers Austin Reed and Luis Liria combined to throw six no-run, no hit innings to get things started, retiring 18 of the first 19 men they faced. When Reed is good (that is, when he throws strikes), he is VERY good, and Liria should probably be at Peoria.
It seems to help the younger pitchers when experienced catchers like Chad Noble (played four years of Big Ten baseball at Northwestern) and Yaniel Cabezas (catcher for Cuban Junior National Team) are behind the plate.
Meanwhile, the Cubs were facing MLB LHP Scott Kazmir (15-day DL – back) for the second time in a week, in what was probably his final Extended Spring Training rehab outing. Kazmir threw 5.1 IP (75 pitches), allowing one run (earned) on three hits, a walk, and two HBP, with two strikeouts and a 7/6 GO/FO.
The Cubs scored their only run off Kazmir in the bottom of the second. Yaniel Cabezas led-off with a single, Jose Valdez was hit by a pitch, and Dustin Harrington singled sharply to CF to load the bases with no outs. Pin-Chieh Chen then grounded into a 4-6 FC that scored Cabezas from 3rd.
The Cubs scored what proved to be the winning run in the bottom of the 6th (after Kazmir had left the game). Cabezas doubled to RF with one out, moved-up to 3rd base on a ground out, and scored on a Dustin Harrington RBI single.
While one squad of EXST Cubs played the Angels at Fitch Park, the other squad traveled to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort to play the EXST Rockies. Unfortunately, I am unable to provide a report on the EXST Cubs road game, since the two games were played simultaneously ten miles apart. (To get enough innings for all of the pitchers at Extended Spring Training, the Cubs are scheduling EXST split squad road game/home game dates several times this Spring).
Here is today’s abridged box score for the game at Fitch Park (Cubs players only):
1. Kyung-Min Na, CF: 0-5 (1-U, 6-3, 6-3, 3-U, E-4)
2. Wes Darvill, SS: 1-4 (E-1, BB, 4-3, L-7, 1B)
3a. Chad Noble, C: 0-3 (F-9, F-9, K)
3b. Reggie Golden, PH: 0-0 (HBP)
3c. SLOT WAS SKIPPED 5th TIME THROUGH ORDER
4a. Jesus Morelli, RF: 1-4 (L-8, 1B, K, 6-4 FC)
4b. SLOT WAS SKIPPED 5th TIME THROUGH ORDER
5. Yaniel Cabezas, DH-C: 3-5 (1B, L-9, 2B, 1B, 6-4-3 DP, 2 R)
6. Jose Valdez, LF: 0-3 (HBP, F-9, 4-3, K)
7. Dustin Harrington, 3B: 2-3 (1B, HBP, 1B, F-9, RBI)
8. Pin-Chieh Chen, 2B: 0-4 (4-6 FC, 6-4 FC, 4-3, K, RBI, CS)
9. Dustin Geiger, 1B: 0-4 (P-5, 6-3, 3-1, 6-3)
1. Austin Reed: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 35 pitches (22 strikes), 5/2 GO/FO
2. Luis Liria: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 37 pitches (23 strikes), 0/5 GO/FO
3. Amaury Paulino: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 29 pitches (17 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
4. Willengton Cruz: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 32 pitches (19 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO
Yaniel Cabezas: 2-2 CS
RF Jesus Morelli threw out runner 9-5 trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on single to RF
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80’s
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.
j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.
so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.
im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.
That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.
9 pitches in and this game already rules.
HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).
...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.
First time I saw Herrera was yesterday. He took like 100 pitches, fouled off a ton off Lester.
Very nice young player and perfect leadoff guy.
Obviously not Phil. But he mentioned this on Wednesday.
"Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day is Saturday June 4th, so probably about 8-10 pitchers and position players presently at EXST in Mesa will be sent to the Cubs Dominican Academy (probably sometime this week) and be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2."
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