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
BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).
TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.
TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.
Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.
Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.
Think Baby Maddux.
Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.
Kyle is on the far left.
I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.
Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.
That was good!
Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.
My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.
Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.
Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.
How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?
Call me lost.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.