Brett Jackson Back in the Saddle at Fitch Ranch
The EXST Cubs rallied for three runs in the bottom of the 9th to tie the EXST Diamondbacks 6-6, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training game played this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, AZ.
The Cubs did have a chance to win the game, but Reggie Golden popped out to the first-baseman to end the bottom of the 9th, leaving the potential winning run stranded at 3rd base.
Tennessee OF (and Cubs 2009 1st round draft pick and #1 position player prospect) Brett Jackson saw his first game action since going on the Smokies DL with a finger injury on May 12th, getting four plate appearances as a DH, one in each of the first four innings.
B-Jax ripped a line-drive single to RF in his first AB in the bottom of the 1st inning, grounded out 4-3 in the bottom of the 2nd, struck out swinging in the bottom of the 3rd, and hammered a triple off the right-centerfield fence (near HR) in the bottom of the 4th (and eventually scored on a Pin-Chieh Chen GO). Based on how he swung the bat today (very well), I doubt that he will be down here much longer.
LHP (ex-OF) Kyler Burke got the start for the Cubs and worked two strong innings (19 pitches - 16 strikes) allowing just a lead-off single on his first pitch to the first batter he faced, before retiring the next six in order, including three on strikeouts (two swinging).
Here is today’s abridged box score (Cubs players only)
NOTE: Brett Jackson was a DH and batted 3rd in the bottom of the 1st inning, 2nd in the bottom of the 2nd, and 1st in the bottom of the 3rd and 4th innings
X. Brett Jackson, DH #1: 2-4 (1B, 4-3, K, 3B, R)
1. Pin-Chieh Chen, CF: 2-4 (3-U, 4-3, 3B, 2B, R, 2 RBI)
2a. Augie Ojeda, 2B: 1-2 (BB, 1B, F-8, R)
2b. Gioskar Amaya, 2B: NO AB
2c. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FOURTH TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
3a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TWO TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
3b. Marco Hernandez, DH #2: 1-2 (K, 1B, R, RBI)
4a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TWO TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
4b. Gregori Gonzalez, DH #3: 0-1 (6-3, F-7 SF, RBI)
5. Jesus Morelli, LF: 3-4 (1B, 2B, 6-3, 1B, RBI, SB)
6. Brandon May, 3B: 0-4 (6-4-3 DP, K, 6-3, K)
7. Brian Inoa, C: 1-4 (F-8, 4-3, K, 1B, RBI)
8. Reggie Golden, RF: 0-4 (F-8, K, 3-U, P-3)
9. Rafael Valdes, SS: 1-3 (5-3, 6-3, 1B)
10. Xavier Batista, 1B: 1-3 (K, 1B, 6-4 FC)
11. Carlos Romero, DH #4: 1-3 (K, 4-6 FC, 1B, 2 R)
1. Kyler Burke: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 19 pitches (16 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
2. Charles Thomas: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 PO, 32 pitches (19 strikes), 0/4 GO/FO
3. Brian Smith: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 17 pitches (9 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
4. Ramon Garcia: 3.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 42 pitches (28 strikes), 4/5 GO/FO
5. Santo Rodriguez: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 14 pitches (8 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
2B Gioskar Amaya - E4 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
Brian Inoa 0-1 CS
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 90’s
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.
If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?