Wells, It Could Have Been Worse
Ryan Cuneo homered and doubled (and just missed another HR when a long fly hooked foul at the last second), Pin Chieh Chen had three hits (a single, a double, and a triple), and Randy Wells saw his first game action since April 4th, but the EXST Angels got hits when they counted and induced three rally-killing double-plays, edging a split squad of EXST Cubs 5-4 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 all of the Angels and Cubs pitchers due to throw today to get their scheduled work.
Making his first appearance in a game since being placed on the 15-day DL on April 5th with a right forearm strain, Wells threw two innings (40 pitches), allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits (three singles, a double, and a triple), with no walks and two strikeouts, and a balk.
Wells retired the first man he faced on a fly out to left on a 2-2 pitch, before allowing a triple into the right-centerfield alley. A spectacular diving catch by CF Kyung-Min Na on a pop fly to short-center saved a run and another base-runner, but the next two batters ripped consecutive two-out RBI hits (a single and a double) to plate the Angels first two runs Wells then recorded the third out of the 1st inning on a 3-1 GO (where Wells had to double-time it to 1st base to just barely beat the batter to the bag).
Wells found himself in trouble again right at the outset of the 2nd inning when a fielding error put the Angels lead-off man on 1st base. A ground out moved the runner up to 2nd, before two singles (on consecutive pitches) drove-in the Angels third run. The big right-hander then got it together and struck out the final two batters he faced, both looking. (Of Wells 28 strikes, ten balls were put into play, three were fouled-off, 11 were called strikes, and four were of the swinging variety).
RHP Andrew Cashner (rotator cuff) is a bit behind Wells in his rehab, and was limited to throwing a "two-inning" (30 pitch) pre-game "live" BP session on Field #2. One of Cash's pitches hit Augie Ojeda on the foot, sending the diminutive veteran infielder to the clubhouse and knocking him out of the starting lineup of the game on Field #3. For Augie, Fitch Park must be starting to feel like The Hotel California.
While one squad of Cubs was playing the Angels at Fitch Park, the other squad (known as Squad “A”) traveled up the 101 Pima Freeway to the Talking Stick Resort to play the EXST Rockies at Salt River Fields. Unfortunately I can provide no information about that game.
Here is today’s abridged box score from the game played at Fitch Park (Cubs players only):
1. Pin-Chieh Chen, 2B: 3-4 (1B, 3B, 4-3, 2B+E9, R, RBI)
2. Dustin Geiger, 3B: 0-4 (6-4-3 DP, 6-3, K, K, RBI)
3. Ryan Cuneo, DH #1: 2-4 (HR, F-8, 2B, F-7, R, RBI)
4. Reggie Golden, RF: 0-4 (6-3, K, 1-3, 5-3)
5. Brian Inoa, DH #2: 2-4 (1B, F-7, 4-3, 3B, R, CS)
6. Eduardo Gonzalez, LF: 1-2 (F-7, BB, 1B, F-7 SF, RBI)
7. Johan DeJesus, C: 2-4 (2B, 5-4-3 DP, 6-4-3 DP, 1B)
8. Xavier Batista, 1B: 1-4 (K, 1B, K, K, CS)
9. Wes Darvill, SS: 0-3 (P-4, K, K)
10. Kyung-Min Na, CF: 1-3 (F-8, 6-3, 1B, R)
1. Randy Wells: 2.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 BALK, 40 pitches (28 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
2. Jose Rosario: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 5 K, 53 pitches (30 strikes), 4/2 GO/FO
3. Yilver Sanchez: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 37 pitches (24 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
4. Manolin DeLeon: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 16 pitches (10 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
1. SS Wes Darvill - E6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely – eventually scored unearned run)
2. SS Wes Darvill - E6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
3. SS Wes Darvill - E6 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)
4. 1B Xavier Batista - E3 (missed catch on what should have been a 6-3 GO allowed batter to reach base safely)
Johan DeJesus: 3-3 CS
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80’s
Theo inks five year extension
PC tonite at PNC
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.