Cubs and Rockies Just Split the Difference at Fitch
Eduardo Gonzalez capped a four-run 2nd inning with a three-run inside-the-park HR, leading one squad of EXST Cubs to a 4-2 victory over one squad of EXST Rockies on Field #3, while four pitchers combined to throw a four-hitter as the other squad of EXST Rockies defeated the other squad of EXST Cubs 5-1 on Field #2, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training doubleheader played this morning at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.
The games were played simultaneously on adjacent fields, and both games were seven-inning affairs.
LHP (ex-OF) Kyler Burke made his third EXST appearance, starting the game on Field #2. Unlike Burke’s previous outings, the lefty struggled with his control throughout his 2.1 IP of work, throwing a first-pitch “ball one” to all seven batters he faced, and throwing only half of his 42 pitches for strikes. However, he also struck out three and allowed just one hit—a lead-off single to the first man he faced (Burke then proceeded to pick the runner off), and the only run charged to him was an inherited run allowed by Santo Rodriguez when the Dominican right-hander surrendered a two-run HR to the first man he faced after relieving Burke with one out and a man on 1st base in the top of the 3rd inning.
Meanwhile, RHP (ex-3B) Charles Thomas had his finest outing of the year, starting the game on Field #2 and working three shutout innings (38 pitches – 22 strikes). The Lee Smith clone used his 98 MPH fastball to strike out four, while allowing just a single, a walk, and a HBP in his three innings of work. Like Burke, Thomas also picked a runner off 1st base.
In EXST Cubs roster news, 21-year old RHP Felix Pena has arrived at Fitch Park from the Dominican Academy, while 2B-SS Rafael Valdes has been moved up to Daytona.
The 27-year old Valdes is one of four Cuban defectors signed by the Cubs over the past six months (C Yaniel Cabezas, OF Rubi Silva, and OF Mayke Reyes being the other three), and while he may be a bit too old to still be considered a “prospect,” the slick-fielding middle-infielder does bring extensive experience to the Cubs organization, after playing several seasons with Pinar Del Rio in the Cuban National Series (the Cuban “major league”), as well as playing for Team Cuba in various international tournaments. (Valdes was the 2B for Team Cuba at the World Port Tournament in Rotterdam when LHP Aroldis Chapman defected in July 2009).
The Cubs Scouting Department has convened at Fitch Park to prepare for next week’s Rule 4 Draft (AKA “First-Year Player Draft”). Several potential draft picks worked-out for the Cubs scouts on Field #1 early this morning, prior to the EXST doubleheader.
Here are the abridged box scores from today’s games (Cubs players only)
SQUAD “A” LINEUP:
1. Pin-Chieh Chen, CF: 1-3 (1B, 3-U, K, R)
2. Gregori Gonzalez, 3B: 0-3 (6-3, 6-3, K)
3. Wilson Contreras, 1B: 0-3 (5-3, 6-3, F-8, RBI)
4. Jesus Morelli, RF: 1-2 (F-8, 1B, BB)
5. Reggie Golden, DH #1: 0-2 (BB, 1-3, F-8)
6a. Yaniel Cabezas, C: 0-2 (F-8, 6-3)
6b. Carlos Romero, PH: 0-1 (6-3)
7. Wes Darvill, SS: 0-3 (4-3 DP, 6-3, K)
8. Blair Springfield, LF: 0-3 (6-3, 6-3, L-8)
9. Max Kwan, DH #2: 2-2 (1B, 1B)
10. Gioskar Amaya, 2B: 0-2 (3-U, 4-6-3 DP)
SQUAD “A” PITCHERS:
1. Charles Thomas: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 1 PO, 38 pitches (22 strikes), 0/3 GO/FO
2. Ramon Garcia: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 30 pitches (22 strikes), 1/4 GO/FO
3. Jean Sandoval: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 1 GIDP, 37 pitches (21 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
SQUAD “A” ERRORS: 3
1. 3B Gregori Gonzalez - E5 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)
2. 3B Gregori Gonzalez - E5 (two-base throwing error allowed batter to reach 2nd base safely – eventually led to two unearned runs scoring)
3. 3B Gregori Gonzalez - E5 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)
SQUAD “A” CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Yaniel Cabezas: 1-1 CS
SQUAD “A” OUTFIELD ASSISTS:
RF Jesus Morelli - batter-runner thrown out at 2nd base
SQUAD “B” LINEUP:
1. Vismeldy Bieneme, 2B: 1-4 (3-1, 1B, F-8, 6-3, R, RBI)
2. Eduardo Gonzalez, RF: 3-4 (1B, HR, 4-3, 1B, R, 3 RBI, SB, CS)
3. Marco Hernandez, SS: 2-3 (1B, 4-3 1B, SB)
4. Brian Inoa, DH: 0-3 (K, K, 3-1)
5. Brandon May, 3B: 0-2 (6-3, BB, 4-3)
6. Dustin Geiger, 1B: 0-3 (6-3, P-3, F-8)
7. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 3-3 (2B, 1B, 1B, R)
8. Johan DeJesus, C: 0-3 (F-7, 5-4 FC, 4-6-3 DP)
9. Oliver Zapata, CF: 2-3 (1B, 4-6-3 DP, 1B, R)
SQUAD “B” PITCHERS:
1. Kyler Burke: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 1 PO, 42 pitches (21 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
2. Santo Rodriguez: 2.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 28 pitches (18 strikes), 3/2 GO/FO
3. Ryan Hartman: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 PO, 13 pitches (10 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
4. Colin Richardson: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 13 pitches (9 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
SQUAD “B” ERRORS: 1
C Johan DeJesus - E2 (throwing error on stolen base attempt at 2nd base allowed base-runner to advance to 3rd base)
SQUAD “B” CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Johan DeJesus: 0-1 CS, 1 E (see above)
WEATHER: Mostly cloudy and breezy with temperatures in the 80’s
"Terms of the deal were not disclosed."
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.