A's Score Often and Late to Trump Cubs at Fitch
Chris Bostick, Kelvin Rojas, Rhett Stafford, and Miguel Marte ripped consecutive two-out RBI hits in the top of the 8th to turn a 4-2 deficit into a 6-4 lead, as the AZL Athletics scored six runs over the final two innings to defeat the AZL Cubs 8-4 in Arizona League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.
Cubs 2011 17th round draft pick John Andreoli (U. Conn) made his pro debut today, playing RF and batting 6th. He reached base in each of his first three plate appearances, lining a first-pitch opposite-field single into RF in his first pro AB, grounding a single sharply between short and third in his second AB (and then stealing 2nd base), and walking and later scoring a run his third time up. He popped out to the catcher on a bunt attempt on his 4th PA.
Andreoli displayed a strong arm in RF and plus-speed on the bases. The big question with him is how much he will hit at the higher levels, and whether he will ever hit for power. He reminds me of a RH version of Jim Adduci.
18-year old LHP Brian Smith (Cubs 2010 40th round draft pick - Canadian Junior National Team) got the start for the Cubs today, and worked three innings (59 pitches - 40 strikes). He allowed two first-inning runs with one out on a single, a double, and a triple by Bostick, Rojas, and Stafford (respectively), but left Stafford stranded at 3rd and threw shutout ball in the 2nd and 3rd. Overall Smith allowed two runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out five (all swinging). He threw a lot of pitches (59) in his three innings, but he also got a couple of big strikeouts when he needed them.
In 12 games (10 GS) in what is definitely a hitter's league, Smith is 3-3 with a 3.66 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP, with 19/37 BB/K and only one HR allowed in 39.1 IP.
After having a 16-game hitting streak stopped last Thursday, Marco Hernandez has started another one, this time five games and counting (and 21 out of 22). Hernandez smacked an RBI double (near HR) down the RF line and off the fence in the bottom of the 3rd today (although he was thrown-out trying to stretch the double into a triple), and is now 9-22 over his last five games. Overall he is hitting 354/392/516, and is tied for second in the AZL in doubles, is 3rd in RBI, 6th in runs scored, 7th in batting average (teammate Gioskar Amaya is 6th), and is tied for 8th in the league in triples.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.
The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.
If the ball didn't deflect off the pitcher's mound, the game wouldn't have ended. Montgomery did miss his location though, but if that same contact was made and went in any of direction, good chance of ground out if it doesn't get through.
If it was 1 night later, Chapman would be out there and we probably would be going to extras.
Also, If KB wasn't robbed of a HR, perhaps we would have won. We will never know. Nice play by Melky though.
The comparison isn't Chapman replacing Rondon. It's Chapman replacing Richard (hopefully) in the pen. Chapman's better.
I'm with you, Rob. You pretty much summed up how I feel about it.
Been quite the roller-coaster the past two days -- both games, plus the Chapman kerfuffel. How about a couple of nice, comfortable wins before facing Sale? Cubs should definitely wear throwbacks for that game.
The Cubs are stronger defensively than most of the teams they play. In order to capitalize on that, they have to a) put the ball in play and b) run the bases aggressively.
That said, Cabrera has a strong, accurate arm, as witnessed by his 97 outfield assists over 12 seasons--mostly left field but also a lot of center. Bryant is rarely thrown out, but I guess you have to know who's throwing the ball.