Angels Late Rally Flips Cubs at Fitch
Welington Castillo reached base five times on three walks, a single, and a double, but the AZL Angels rallied to score three runs in the 9th and one in the 10th to edge the AZLCubs 8-7 in Arizona League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.
On the Iowa Cubs DL since July 28th with a hamstring injury and now rehabbing at Fitch Park, W. Castillo was scheduled to rejoin the Iowa Cubs today in Tacoma, but since the I-Cubs have the day off and don't play again until Friday night, Castillo was kept at Fitch Park for one more day to get him some additional game action as a DH before flying to SeaTac and rejoining the Iowa club.
Cubs 2010 #1 draft pick RHP Hayden Simpson got the start today, and threw one inning (21 pitches - 15 strikes), allowing two runs (both earned) on three hits (a single, a double, and a triple), with two strikeouts, and one pick-off.
While it might appear that Simpson had a bad outing, he actually looked OK. He threw his fastball consistently for strikes, and both of his strikeouts came on his curve ball (which he is now throwing in games again). The double was a high chopper that bounced off the rock-hard dirt in front of home plate and up & over the head of third-baseman Gioskar Amaya and down the LF line, the RBI triple was a grounder that bounced over the 1st base bag and rolled into the RF corner, and the RBI single was a broken bat blooper into short right-center. Why he was limited to throwing just one inning (and 21 pitches), I do not know.
Recently demoted from Boise to Mesa, LHP Cam Greathouse (Cubs 2010 8th round draft pick out of Gulf Coast CC) followed Simpson to the mound and threw three innings (45 pitches - but only 23 strikes). He allowed one run on one hit and two walks, with two strikeouts, and he benefitted from two timely double plays turned by the Cubs infield that killed Angel threats. But Greathouse was all over the place with his pitches, throwing some in the dirt, some too far outside, some too far inside, and a couple over the batter's head. It's pretty obvious that he has good stuff (especially his curve), but he has a tendency to get out of whack where he can't throw his fastball for strikes.
Besides Castillo reaching base five times, speedy lead-off man Kyung-Min Na had three infield singles (he beat the shortstop's throw to 1st each time) and two stolen bases, and catcher Neftali Rosario (Cubs 2011 6th round pick out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy) crushed an RBI double off the RF fence in his 1st AB, walked and scored his second time up, and singled in his third PA, while handling himself very well behind the plate.
SS Marco Hernandez went 0-5, ending his hitting streak at 16 games.
And RF Eduardo Gonzalez had to leave the game after being hit on the wrist with a pitch. He initially stayed in the game, running the bases and playing defense the next half-inning, but then he was pulled for a PH in his next AB (the inning after he was hit).
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.