Kazmir Makes Cub Kids Look Like... Minor Leaguers

Scott Kazmir and Alexander Burkard combined to throw a four-hit shutout, leading the EXST Angels to an 8-0 whitewashing of an EXST Cubs split squad in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Diablo Park Field #3 in Tempe this morning.

Kazmir has been on the Los Angeles Angels 15-DL with "back tightness" since April 9th, but he sure looked healthy today, throwing 6.2 IP of one-hit shutout ball (102 pitches – 62 strikes, 10/6 GO/FO), and not allowing his first hit until there was one out in the top of the 6th inning (opposite-field double lined into the RF corner by Dustin Geiger). Kazmir walked three and struck out three during the course of his outing, inducing one GIDP. Kazmir consistently threw his fastball at 91-92 MPH, and kept the Cubs youngsters off-balance with an assortment of change-ups and breaking balls.

This is at least the third or maybe even the fourth time Kazmir has started an Extended Spring Training game against the Cubs over the past month, and if I didn’t know better, I would say he is being showcased. (There actually were a couple of scouts in attendance at today’s game). Either that or he is trying to earn the prestigious “Angel Guzman Award” (the Extended Spring Training version of the Cy Young Award), bestowed upon the MLB pitcher who spends the most inordinate or excessive period of time on an Extended Spring Training rehab assignment without getting reactivated from his team’s disabled list.

So how many pitches will Kazmir throw in his next EXST rehab start? 115? 120?

Besides getting shutout by Kazmir & Co., things did not go well for several EXST Cubs in particular today.

Daytona RHP Oswaldo Martinez made his 2011 debut, getting a “rehab” start in today’s game at Diablo Park. The 22-year old Martinez last pitched in a game for Obregon in the Mexican Pacific League (LMP) this past January, was shut-down with an undisclosed medical problem upon arrival at Minor League Camp in March, and was placed on the Daytona Cubs 7-day DL prior to Opening Day. The Mexican right-hander struggled with his control today, throwing 19 pitches, but only eight strikes, and was removed from the game after getting only two outs in the bottom of the 1st inning. He allowed two runs on one hit (an RBI triple) and two walks.

19-year old RHP Ryan Hartman (Cubs 2010 16th round draft pick out of Mt Zion HS - Mt Zion, IL) followed Martinez to the mound, and he also had major control issues (as he has had most of the Spring), throwing 52 pitches (only 24 strikes) in just 1.2 IP, allowing two runs on two hits, three walks, and an HBP. 

19-year old Dominican RHP Alvido Jimenez was the third Cubs pitcher, and unlike O. Martinez and Hartman, Jimenez’s problem was that he did throw strikes, getting clubbed for five runs on seven hits (three singles, two doubles, a triple, and a home run) in just 2.1 IP (57 pitches).

And Max Kwan (2010 NDFA – U. of Washington) saw his first game action behind the plate in more than a month, but things did not go very well. In just the five innings Kwan was in the game, four Angel runners tried to steal a base, and all four were successful (all of the throws were off-target), and Kwan also committed a throwing error, lobbing a “rainbow” 15 feet over the third-baseman’s head on a stolen base attempt at 3rd base that allowed the runner to score.

Kwan has been battling “Mike Ivie-itis”, the same affliction that plagued Jae-Hoon Ha this time last year when Ha was a catcher (before he was moved to OF). This is not a medical problem, but rather a “mental block” where the catcher is unable to make routine throws, even back to the pitcher after a pitch. The Cubs employ a sports psychologist at Fitch Park who works with players who are recovering from injuries, or who are having difficulty dealing with failure (often for the first time in their life), or who develop a “mental block” of one type or another (like “Steve Blass Disease,” where a pitcher is unable to throw strikes), but there is no guarantee that the player will respond and overcome the obstacle. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t.

While one squad of EXST Cubs played the Angels at Diablo Park, the other squad was facing the EXST Rockies at Fitch Park. Unfortunately I have no information about the game played at Fitch. 

Here is today’s abridged box score for the game played at Diablo Park (Cubs players only):

1. Pin-Chieh Chen, 2B: 0-3 (P-3, K, 3-1, BB)
2. Blair Springfield, CF: 1-2 (E-6, BB, BB, 1B, CS)
3. Wilson Contreras, 3B: 0-4 (5-4-3 DP, F-8, 5-4 FC, 4-3)
4. Jesus Morelli, LF: 1-4 (3-U, 6-3, K, 1B)
5. Reggie Golden, DH: 0-3 (BB, K, P-4, P-6)
6. Marco Hernandez, SS: 1-4 (6-4 FC, 5-3, 1B, 6-3 DP)
7a. Max Kwan, C: 0-2 (5-3, F-9)
7b. Johan DeJesus, C: 0-1 (K)
8. Gregori Gonzalez, RF: 0-3 (P-3, 5-3, 1-5-3)
9. Dustin Geiger, 1B: 1-3 (F-7, 2B, 1-3)

1. Oswaldo Martinez: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 19 pitches (8 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO
2. Ryan Hartman: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 52 pitches (24 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
3. Alvido Jimenez: 2.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R (5 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 57 pitches (39 strikes), 2/4 GO/FO
4. Ramon Garcia, 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 46 pitches (26 strikes), 2/4 GO/FO

1. 3B Wilson Contreras - E5 (errant throw attempting to throw-out batter at 1st base on infield hit allowed runner to score from 3rd base)
2. C Max Kwan - E2 (overthrow on stolen base attempt at 3rd base allowed runner to score)
3. 3B Wilson Contreras – E5 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)

Max Kwan: 0-4 CS, 1 E (see above)


WEATHER: Sunny and breezy with temperatures in the 70’s



fwiw, I saw it on twitter somewhere, but Reed Johnson has something like the best OPS of any major leaguer at whatever the Marlins call their stadium now. I think it was minimum 40 PA's.

that double was FLA's fault anyway. they were playing the IF in for some reason. that's late inning stuff, imo. a lot of 3rd setting up normal glove that ball. it wouldn't have been an easy throw home with the range of target you have, though...if the runner was going on contact, anyway.

the defense showed up tonight...so far.

marlon byrd's power has woken up. aram, step it up.

valient attempt by Coleman by this point to try and save his job...

What's it say when this far into the season the most effective starter is a guy the Cubs got off the scrap heap?

I didn't know the Rays were also known as the scrap heap.

Doug Davis didn't come from the Rays... The Cubs picked him up as a FA.

Let's not anoint Davis the most effective starter...after 1 decent start..sheesh =P

OK, he's been the least ineffective starter.

Great? He pitched 5 solid innings in his 1 start.
That's all I'm saying smartass....lol....sheesh..

All I am saying is that all of our starters have been shitty. The only one with a decent ERA doesn't know how to field his own positiion.

Makes you wonder what the hell the pitchers do during fielding practice....because Garza, Wood...etc...have looked lost out there a lot.

Davis will have a 5+ ERA by 9pm.

I'll take that under.

I don't want to predict his ERA, but Davis ain't that good.

The only one with a decent ERA doesn't know how to field his own positiion.

And why, in this instance, are we using ERA to measure the pitcher?

OK, the only person with a decent xFIP cannot field his poisiotn.

Actually Dempster's xFIP is pretty good - 3.38. He's got the curse of the big inning this year.

sample size? hmmmm?

5.63 after 3 innings.

Before 9pm. Does that count as the under?

8.31. Yay. That's effective!

So Coleman goes 5.2 and allows 0 runs but he doesn't get credit for a Quality Start because he didn't go 6.0


the quality start stat is dumb, anyway.

rsox sign k.millwood to a minor league deal...supposedly there was rumor linking him to the cubs earlier today.


they could have been 4-0 on this trip if not for the Bad News Bears routine in Cincy.

Agreed. I was there in the front row on the field along side 3rd base for the first night's debacle in Cincy. I can tell you, it looked even worse in person. I stared into the Cubs dug out for a first hand look at how they process apocolypse.

That AND I had a foul ball hit me in the hand but just couldn't bring it in. On second thought, perhaps Hendry should sign me. I'd fit right in.

I was there in the front row on the field along side 3rd base ...That AND I had a foul ball hit me in the hand but just couldn't bring it in. On second thought, perhaps Hendry should sign me. I'd fit right in.
Nice to see you post here, ARam. Hiding behind DeJesus?

Soriano for Peavy.

Just make Soriano a pitcher, maybe he could be next Babe Ruth.

More likely the next Jose Canseco?

Jonathan Mayo predicts Cubs first round pick

9. Chicago Cubs: Bubba Starling, OF, Gardner-Edgerton HS, Kan.
There's a good chance this toolsy two-sport outfielder will be gone before this spot, but the Cubs would love it if he were still on the board.


Bubba Starling on how he's trying to decide between college football and pro baseball...


sweet, his contract will call for an automatic 25-man spot and Jim Hendry's office by age 20 or he can opt out and still keep $5M.

Just say no. I am actually thinking the Golden debacle this spring will hurt the liklihood of the Cubs drafting a high school outfielder this high.


Good athlete, bad ballplayer. Certainly follows the Cubs MO.

Mikie Mahtook looks good to me if he's around. From a "need" standpoint, I would guess a middle infielder.

Mahtook at the 9th pick? He will be around for someone at about pick 39 or 49 for someone who has supplemental picks but would be an immense overdraft for anyone other than Wilken, for whom such pick would be the norm.

what? 39 or 49? Your kidding, right? Mahtook is probably a reach at 9, but he'll probably go in the first round, and probably top 25, if not top 20. He's one of the more well-rounded college bats. While I don't think he sticks in CF, there is a shot he does, and he has solid power potential.

I know Wilkin is hard to predict, but what do you think he'll do in the first couple rounds?


if bubba starling actually lasts til the 9th pick it's gonna be because of $$, imo.

SS Castro, 2B Barney, 3B Baker, DH Ramy, 1B Pena, CF Byrd, LF Soriano, RF Johnson, C Hill

LHP Lester goes for Red Sox

Soriano... the green monster... lul.

That's a shame on DeRo.

Now he can sit at home collecting a fat paycheck while banging his ultra hot wife. I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone get hurt on a check swing, looked painful.


Playing for the Trenton Thunder (AA), had a rough start, but is doing better now...

Controversy over top draft picks and MLB team's long-toss programs...


meh...long toss. i'm a fan, but unless you're using a natural throwing motion (aka, not loading up and trying to throw 500ft. with some cannon shots) it's useless.

Recent comments

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  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the mlb.tv internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup equation...plus joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.

  • Dallas Beeler, Corey Black, David Garner, Pierce Johnson, Steve Perakslis, James Pugliese, Duane Underwood Jr, and Rob Zastryzny threw early-morning bullpen side-sessions at Riverview yesterday.  

    Underwood threw last, and received specific one-on-one instruction from pitching coach Mike Mason. 

  • HAGSAG: There are only five advanced instructs squads left, and presently the only "co-op" team operating is the Angels/Cubs.

    The league was originally established as a "parallel" league to the AFL (a sort of "junior AFL"), for players too advanced for traditional ("basic") instructs but who were unable to get placed on AFL rosters due to AFL player-limits.

  • He is but I would think it'd be better to start out with offense and then bring in Jackson and LaStella once they have a lead. Stella has very good PH #s too.