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
2nd in defensive WAR, NL.
6th in NL in RBI
Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.
Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.