Cubs Blank A's at Papago
Wilson Contreras lined a two-run double into the left-field corner to spark a four-run 4th inning, and four pitchers combined to throw a six-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts, as the EXST Cubs whitewashed the EXST Athletics 8-0 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Connie Mack Field at the Papago Park Sports Complex in Phoenix.
In EXST Cubs roster news, 1B-OF Xavier Batista has been sent from Extended Spring Training to DSL Cubs #1, and IF-OF-C David Macias has completed his Extended Spring Training rehab assignment and has been assigned to Peoria.
The 19-year old 6'3 210+ X. Batista was hitting just 133/175/163 with 22 K in 63 PA for the EXST Cubs so far in 2011, after putting up a 215/248/419 slash-line with 42 K in 101 PA with the EXST Cubs this time last year, and a 212/263/300 line with 63 K in 186 PA last summer with the AZL Cubs. Despite showing HR power in BP, Batista hit just four HR in a combined 350 PA with the EXST Cubs and AZL Cubs in 2010 and the EXST Cubs in 2011.
Macias had been on the Daytona 7-day DL since May 10th, but he was needed at Peoria after 2B Pierre LePage was placed on the Chiefs 7-day DL with a groin strain. Such is the life of an "organizational player."
Here is today’s abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Wes Darvill, SS: 1-5 (K, F-8, 2B, E-6, P-6, R)
2. Gioskar Amaya, 2B: 1-4 (K, 2B, 4-3, 4-6 FC, R)
3. Pin-Chieh Chen, CF: 2-3 (BB, 1B, 1B, K, R, RBI, CS, PO)
4. Reggie Golden, RF: 0-4 (F-9, F-9, 4-3, K)
5. Wilson Contreras, 3B: 1-4 (F-8, 2B, 4-3, 3-1, R, 2 RBI)
6. Jesus Morelli, LF: 1-4 (1B, F-9, P-6, K)
7. Brandon May, DH #1: 2-4 (6-U FC, 1B, 3-1, 1B, R, RBI)
8. Yaniel Cabezas, C: 1-4 (F-9, 1B, 1-3, 3-6 FC, R)
9. Dustin Geiger, 1B: 2-4 (K, 1B, 6-3, 2B, R, RBI)
10. Blair Springfield, DH #2: 2-4 (2B, P-4, E-6, 1B+E9, R, 2 RBI)
1. Starling Peralta: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 41 pitches (29 strikes), 2/3 GO/FO
2. Hector Mayora: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K, 42 pitches (24 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
3. Rafael Diplan: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 42 pitches (23 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
4. Yilver Sanchez: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 30 pitches (22 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
Yaniel Cabezas 1-1 CS
CF Pin-Chieh Chen threw out runner 8-5 trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on a single.
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 90’s
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.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?
Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump
Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.
j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.
felix pena, your turn.