Cashner First Rehab Start Stillborn at Salt River Fields
Stephen Cardullo ripped a two-run walk-off double to cap a three-run 9th, as the EXST Diamondbacks rallied to edge the EXST Cubs 3-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Whirlwind Field at Salt River Fields at the Talking Stick Resort, east of Scottsdale, AZ.
Andrew Cashner was scheduled to make his first Extended Spring Training rehab start in today’s game at Talking Stick, but was scratched after warming in the bullpen before the game. Whether this latest setback will significantly delay his return to the mound is not clear at this time, but it certainly is not good news for Cashner or for the Cubs.
With Cashner unavailable, RHP Matt Loosen got the emergency start (he was supposed to “piggyback” with Cashner) and had another fine outing, working three shutout innings, and allowing three hits (two by Diamondbacks IF-OF Wille Bloomquist, who is at Extended Spring Training rehabbing from a hamstring injury) and no walks, while striking out three. RHPs Yao-Lin Wang and Jin-Young Kim followed Loosen and were just as good, as the three Cubs pitchers combined to shut-out the D’backs on six hits and one walk (and 11 strikeouts) through the first eight innings. But RHP Dustin Fitzgerald could not convert the save in the bottom of the 9th, allowing a lead-off four pitch walk, a single, a SH-FC, a WP, and the game-winning two-run double, all without retiring a batter.
The Cubs offense did score two runs, but should have had more. The Cubs loaded ther bases with one out in the top of the 1st but could only score one run (on a ground out), Wes Darvill led-off the top of the 2nd inning with a triple but did not score, and Pin-Chieh Chen led-off the top of the 3rd with a single, and after stealing 2nd base, was thrown-out at the plate trying to score from 2nd on a wild pitch... with no outs. The entire Cubs Player Development staff (Minor League Field Coordinator Dave Bialas and all of the coordinators and instructors) is at Fitch Park this week, so hopefully they can address some of the mental mistakes the EXST Cubs have been making all too frequently lately, on the mound, on the bases, at the plate, and in the field. Cubbery must be nipped in the bud!
Cubs 2010 2nd round draft pick Reggie Golden went hitless again today (with two strikeouts), and is now 0-20 (with eight strikeouts) since hitting a home run last Tuesday.
With CF Kyung-Min Na having been moved up to Peoria (after a brief emergency two-game stop this past weekend at AA Tennessee), Pin-Chieh Chen got a chance to play CF today. While Chen struggles defensively in the infield (especially when he played SS for a while last year, but even after moving to 2B), he looks perfectly at home in CF. With his speed and athleticism, playing CF and hitting lead-off could be his future full-time gig. Unfortunately, he is blocked by several more highly-regarded Cub prospects at that position (Na, Szczur, Silva, Ha, and B. Jackson).
And speaking of Peoria, yesterday’s Midwest League transactions listed 1B Ryan Cuneo as being assigned to Peoria from Extended Spring Training (with OF Rubi Silva moving up to Daytona from Peoria, and OF Jae-Hoon Ha getting promoted to AA Tennessee from Daytona), but Cuneo was in the EXST Cubs lineup today (he went 1-4). Perhaps the news of Cuneo’s promotion has not yet reached Mesa.
While rehabbin’ Willie Bloomquist was having a great time, going 3-4 with three singles and a walk in his five plate appearances for the EXST Diamondbacks, Iowa Cubs SS Augie Ojeda continued his rehab with the EXST Cubs, playing 2B for six innings and going 1-3 with a single (ending an 14 PA hitless streak) and two strikeouts (both swinging). So far in four Extended Spring Training games (16 PA), Ojeda has exactly one hit. Ojeda was heard to remark (joking, I think), “This is a tough league!”… WelI, maybe it is when you are Augie Ojeda.
Here is today’s abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Pin-Chieh Chen, CF: 2-3 (BB, 1B, F-7, 3B, SB, 2 R)
2a. Augie Ojeda, 2B: 1-3 (K, 1B, K)
2b. Marco Hernandez, 2B: 0-0 (F-8 SF, RBI)
3. Ryan Cuneo, 1B: 1-4 (1B, L-4, K, F-8)
4. Wilson Contreras, 3B: 1-4 (E-6, F-7, 6-3, 1B)
5. Yaniel Cabezas, C: 0-3 (5-3, HBP, 6-3, F-9, RBI)
6. Reggie Golden, RF: 0-4 (P-2, K, K, 5-3)
7. Wes Darvill, SS: 1-4 (3B, K, 6-3, K)
8. Jesus Morelli, DH: 0-3 (6-3, 4-6 FC, BB, 1-3)
9a. Blair Springfield, LF: 0-3 (5-2 FC, K, F-9, CS)
9b. Gregori Gonzalez, LF: NO AB
1. Matt Loosen: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 GIDP, 40 pitches (32 strikes), 3/3 GO/FO
2. Yao-Lin Wang: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K, 45 pitches (33 strikes), 1/3 GO/FO
3. Jin-Young Kim: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 29 pitches (19 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
4. Dustin Fitzgerald, 0.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 14 pitches (7 strikes)
Yaniel Cabezas: 0-1 CS
WEATHER: Sunny and breezy with temperatures in the 80’s
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.
It looked like the baserunner might have screened Russell some though it's still a play he should have made.
I wasn't thrilled with the use of Rondon in that situation. In save situations opponents have a 77 OPS. In non-save situations it's a 116 OPS. We had other relievers for that spot we could have used.
I'm not sure if it's his normal swing but it's obvious he can hit and he's always hit for power just not HRs so if it is his normal swing there's something else going on.
This article from spring training said he was trying to pull the ball a lot more:
Oh, thanks. I guess I should actually look at the schedule. Yay, 3-game road trip!
Good call, indeed. This ought to be a good series.
Sorry to nit-pick -- but the games against the Nats this week are at home.
Can't remember a worse weather-start to a season. Yuck.
Basically Russell booted a slam dunk DP grounder letting a run score. But he drove in the tying run in 9th. Just not their day, Rondon notwithstanding.
Didn't see the game, but it sounded like the Cubs gave away 2 runs with poor fielding. Bummer.
Well, it's been a fun diet of Reds, Brewers and Braves, but now the Cubs have to play real teams in May (Pirates, Nationals, SF, Cards and Dodgers) -- hope we are all still smiling when we wake up on Memorial Day.
He does seem out of synch. His body seems to start forward, then his arms sort of try to catch up -- if that's his normal swing, he will never hit for power. It's an all-arms slasher swing, but the timing seems off.
He is currently slugging .256 -- I realize the weather has been bad, but that's epically bad. Currently 92nd out of 94 qualified NL batters. Yikes.
Weird home stand -- 3-1, with 2 rainouts, vs. two teams that will lose 100 games. Feels oddly disappointing.
Miserable baseball weather all week -- hopefully better weather will get the bats going. Not just walking, but actually hitting.
That strike call on LaSterlla was terrible
I was hearing some talk that John Mallee is trying to change Heyward's swing. Wonder if that is lending itself to the slow start.
at least it wasn't a "nobody showed up" stomping.
anytime you wanna jumpstart your season would be nice, heyward.