Socorro Pro Debut Should Make Marshall Proud
Making his professional debut, Cubs 2011 46th round draft pick Kenny Socorro (Marshall U.) had three hits and drove-in three runs, and Oliver Zapata drew four walks and scored twice, leading the AZL Cubs to an 8-5 victory over the AZL Athletics in Arizona League action at Connie Mack Field at the Papago Park Sports Complex in Phoenix this evening.
The AZL Athletics defense graciously committed five errors to aid the Cubs cause.
Cubs 2010 4th round draft pick LHP Hunter Ackerman got the start for the Cubs and continued to struggle to throw strikes, just as he has throughout his short pro career. He worked three innings (61 pitches - 35 strikes, including a 33-pitch first-inning), allowing three runs on three hits, three walks, and an HBP, while striking out four. Sometimes Ackerman will look like a world-beater against one hitter, and then can't throw strikes to next one. If he can't get his pitches-per-inning down to a reasonable number, he will likely be limited to being a minor league reliever (presuming he ever gets out of Arizona).
Cubs 2011 40th round draft pick RHP P. J. Francescon made his pro debut and had a much better night than Ackerman did, working two shutout innings (21 pitches - 14 strikes) to record the save. The 22-year old Francescon allowed a lead-off infield single to the first man he faced, and then easily retired the next five in a row (6-4-3 DP, K-swinging, F-7, K-swinging, and a 6-3 GO). Francescon does not appear to have anything exceptional in his repertoire, but he works fast and has four years of college experience (most recently at Trevecca Nazarene University, and at Middle Tennessee State before that) under his belt to aid him in his adjustment to pro ball.
NOTE: There is one very obvious mistake in the box score as it presently appears in MiLB.com, and that is that Johan DeJesus PH for Jose Guevara in the top of the 8th and popped up to the second baseman, and then remained in the game as the catcher. The box score shows Guevara playing the entire game.
Also, Kenny Socorro hit an RBI double in the top of the 8th (Socorro's second double of the game) to drive-in Eduardo Gonzalez from 2nd base. I guess the official scorer could have called it a single where Socorro took second on the throw, except there was no throw home on the play, and in the play-by-play account (as it presently appears) it does not mention Socorro advancing to 2nd base at all.
And in the bottom of the 2nd inning, Boras grounded out 6-3, Baez walked, Solano struck out swinging, and Stafford grounded into a 6-4 FC to end the inning. (This is different than what presently appears in the "play-by-play").
And here is what happened in the top of the 7th on the pop-out by Hernandez that resulted in Zapata being thrown out at the plate: A's first-baseman Leyland caught an infield pop-up and tried to double Zapata (who broke with the pitch) off second-base, but instead threw the ball over the shortstop's head into left-center field. Zapata advanced to third on the overthrow, but then got greedy and tried to score, getting caught in a rundown between 3rd and home, before being tagged-out for the third out of the inning...
For those of you who religiously read the box scores and play-by-play at Milb.com and presume the stuff you read there to be accurate, here is how the information you read is transmitted...
The official scorer who is present at the park calls the milb office every half inning and verbally recites what happened the previous half-inning and notes any lineup changes that might have occurred. This call is often made after the next half-inning has started, and so (quite obviously) it can lead to mistakes being made due to the official scorer being distracted, and these mistakes are then reflected in both the "official" box score and in the "official" play-by-play. When the official scorer does get distracted and realizes he missed something, he will usually ask the player who is running the scoreboard to tell him what he missed, but that presumes the player was actually paying attention, and it also depends on the official scorer realizing he might have missed something.
There has to be a better way to do this. The way it's done now is not working. Incorrect information is appearing in what are supposed to be "official" box scores and play-by-play accounts. The practice of official scorers calling the milb.com office every half-inning to recount the previous half-inning must be stopped, because it distracts the official scorer from doing his job. Maybe the scorer could just wait until the game is over before making the call, or maybe the information could be transmitted contemporaneously-electronically as it occurs (after each AB) instead of verbally by phone after every half-inning.
it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?
sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on my Ted Abernathy imitation when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. So I'll always have a soft spot for submariners.
HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).
Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.
I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.
One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players.
CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.
Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.
As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?
AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?
Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.
AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.
I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.
But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.
Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.
Jason deGrom -- oh, my.
Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.
Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.
Considering how players reacted it seemed pretty accurate high and wide (to righties), but not so accurate low and in. I thought the strike zone by the ump was awful, but it was consistent and the Cubs never adjusted.
Rizzo and Bryant need to have good at bats. They are really looking outclassed in these two games.
that game sounds fun as hell.
I was just wondering the same thing. I'd rather not see it at all. If it's inaccurate, it's a bad viewer experience. If it's accurate, it shows some shitty calling by the umpire.