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.
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.
O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already.
I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.
I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.
Enjoyable read on David Ross.
Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.
With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined).
BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.
If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).
As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).
I want my baseball team to win by playing better baseball. I don't want umps, fields, or fans to have anything to do with it.
Just with the chanting thing it worked to rattle Cueto last year where he dropped a ball and gave up a HR next pitch so you can't really hate on the fans for trying it again in this important of a game.
I felt the same way, too, but...
I was very disappointed with Pittsburgh fans. At Wrigley a few weeks ago, they were very obnoxious guests, the cockiness on Twitter, and what's the deal with chanting Arrieta's name during the game? Very bush league. Add that up with Rodriguez's poor sportsmanship and you quickly have a team that you don't mind beating 4-0 in a do or die game.