Double Plays, Errors, and Injuries Strike Cubs at Fitch Park
The EXST Diamondbacks turned four double plays and took advantage of seven EXST Cubs errors to score three unearned runs, en route to a 6-3 victory in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.
Today’s game was extended an extra half-inning so that all of the Cubs pitchers who were due to throw could get their scheduled work. Several other Cubs pitchers threw in a “sim game” on Field #2 simultaneous with the EXST game on Field #3.
This was the final Cactus League Extended Spring Training game for the Cubs, as the players will be given a short break before returning to Fitch Park after next week’s draft to prepare for the start of the short season leagues. The Boise Hawks begin play on June 17th at Eugene (Hawks home opener is June 22nd), and the AZL Cubs first game is the night of June 20th versus the AZL Giants at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.
The AZL Cubs will play their home games at HoHoKam Park (with a 7 PM start time) up through July 24th, before moving to Fitch Park and playing their home games in the morning (11 AM start time) beginning on July 26th.
As far as today’s game is concerned, lanky 20-year old Dominican LHP Willengton Cruz got the start (his third game started in six days), and allowed four runs (two earned) on four hits in three innings of work (53 pitches – 35 strikes). He was the unlucky victim of five errors behind him (four in the first inning alone), but he came back strong to strike out the last five batters he faced (all swinging).
Of the ten Cubs pitchers at Extended Spring Training who spent last season pitching in the Dominican Summer League, W. Cruz and 20-year old Dominican RHP Starling Peralta are easily the top two, and I would say both have a good chance to get assigned to Boise (skipping AZL Cubs).
Unfortunately, two Cubs suffered injuries and had to leave today’s game. OF Jesus Morelli was hit on the left hand by a pitch (and it did not look good), and catcher Johan DeJesus had to be helped from the field after taking a foul tip direct hit on the groin/protective cup. DeJesus was on the ground writhing in pain for five minutes, and looked like he was about to pass out once he got to his feet. (Just watching it made me feel like passing out, too).
1B Trevor Gretzky (Oaks Christian HS - Westlake Village, CA) worked out for Cubs scouts on Field #1. The son of hockey great Wayne Gretzky, Trevor didn't show a whole lot at the plate (opposite-field stroke with warning track power), but he is still recovering from labrum surgery. He has a lanky body with long legs, and looks like he could maybe benefit from an off-season body-building regimen at Camp Colvin. If he does not choose to sign with an MLB club this year, he will attend San Diego State.
Here is today’s abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Vismeldy Bieneme, 2B: 2-4 (1B, 6-3, K, 1B, RBI)
2a. Eduardo Gonzalez, RF: 0-1 (4-6-3 DP)
2b. Jesus Morelli, RF: 0-0 (HBP)
2c. Wilson Contreras, PR-3B: 0-2 (L-7, 3-1)
3. Marco Hernandez, SS: 0-4 (L-9, 3-6-3 DP, F-8, K)
4. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 1-4 (P-4, K, K, 1B)
5. Brandon May, 1B: 2-4 (2B, 1B, 6-3, 6-4-3 DP, R)
6. Brian Inoa, DH #1: 1-3 (K, K, 2B, R)
7. Max Kwan, DH #2: 1-2 (1B, BB, E-6, RBI)
8a. Johan DeJesus, C: 0-2 (P-4, K)
8b. Carlos Romero, C: 0-1 (4-6-3 DP)
9. Gregori Gonzalez, 3B-RF: 1-3 (6-3, K, 2B, R, RBI, SB)
10. Oliver Zapata, CF: 0-2 (F-9, P-6, BB)
1. Willengton Cruz: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 53 pitches (35 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
2. Luis Liria: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 47 pitches (27 strikes), 6/0 GO/FO
3. Jose Rosario: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 44 pitches (30 strikes), 5/0 GO/FO
4. Ramon Garcia: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 18 pitches (12 strikes)
1. 1B Brandon May - E3 (missed catch on pick-off attempt at 1st base allowed base-runner to advance to 2nd base)
2. 2B Vismeldy Bieneme - E4 (dropped pop fly in infield allowing batter to reach base safely – eventually scored unearned run)
3. C Johan DeJesus - E2 (errant throw on stolen base attempt at 2nd base alllowed runner on 3rd base to score)
4. C Johan DeJesus - E2 (missed catch on play at the plate on RBI single allowed batter to advance to 2nd base)
5. LF Dong-Yub Kim - E7 (fielding error on RBI double allowed batter to advance to 3rd base – eventually scored unearned run)
6. SS Marco Hernandez - E6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely and unearned run to score)
7. 1B Brandon May - E3 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
Johan DeJesus 3-5 CS, 2 E (see above)
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 90’s
I love winning! It's, like, better than losing?
You lollygag the ball around the infield. You lollygag your way down to first. You lollygag in and out of the dugout. You know what that makes you? Larry!
Its too bad Warren didnt get to pitch. He would have saved us.
Whoa -- that Contreras play in the 8th looked too much like a "Schwarber" -- nearly crashed into the wall going full speed, with Heyward doing the same.
New rule: if you are a catcher playing LF, and find yourself sprinting after a fly ball in the gap -- stop, let the CF go after it and get ready to play it off the wall.
Cubs have no spark and no life. Pretty boring to watch these days.
I thought trips to Miami were supposed to be fun. This one sucked.
The bottom half of the bullpen now turns close games into blowout losses. Not good.
Once Fowler went to the DL, the team went into the tank. Wonder if he'll get any love this offseason? Probably not.
6IP, 2ER. The last one scored because of another botched Zobrist DP turn.
And now, a bad throw by KB. Sloppy.
What is it with Hammel always starting well and sucking after a couple months?
Ahhh...sad. Lke a few of you here, I saw him play during the '69-'71 seasons. He was the "hot Zobrist" for the club in August/September of '69 while everyone else was fizzling out...
I predict: "They will play hard and if they give the same effort every day, they'll win a lot of games."
OK, boys -- find a way to win today.
There's some BA is missing too, here's all signing bonus BA doesn't have some:
-6 Hockin $241,000 (slot price), 7 Cruz $75,000 (saved $110,00), 8 Ridlings $120,000 (saved $53,800), 9 Robinson $30,000 (saved $132,300), so far the Cubs have saved an extra $297,100
Zobrist (2B), Hayward (CF), Bryant (3B), Rizzo, Contreras (LF), Montero, Russell, Coghlan (RF), Hammel
Also -- despite losing 6 of their last 10, the Cubs picked up a game on both STL and PIT during that period. Weird, given that they swept PIT and were swept by STL.
Also, I'd like to know if there are numbers to back up my suspicion that there are a lot more fast starts than late June romps. This seems like a time where everybody not named Willson Contreras is looking a little tired and/or banged up a bit.
For once, the Cubs got off to a fast start. Seems like I've been waiting for that for 50 years.Everybody is really gunning for this team, too. It's their playoffs.