Cubs Roll a Big Five in 8th to Edge D-backs at Fitch

Javier Baez, Dan Vogelbach, and Rock Shoulders hammered back-to-back-to back doubles and Gioskar Amaya ripped an RBI single to cut the deficit to one, and then Gregori Gonzalez slammed an RBI triple to tie the score and scored the go-ahead run (eventual winning run) on a suicide squeeze play (pitcher threw a ball in the dirt and past the catcher), as the AZL Cubs rallied for five runs in the bottom of the 8th to edge the AZL Diamondbacks 5-4 in Arizona League action at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in Mesa.

 This was the final 2011 game for the AZL Cubs, who were eliminated from contention for the AZL Wild Card last Thursday.

Recently-signed 2011 draft-picks RHPs Michael Jensen and Tayler Scott made their second appearances in four days, and both looked sharp, each throwing two innings of one-hit shutout ball (although Jensen's one hit allowed was a two-out broken-bat single, while Scott allowed a booming one-out triple but the runner was left-stranded), with a combined 9/0 GO/FO between the two pitchers. Jensen threw 23 pitches (17 strikes) with a 4/0 GO/FO and two strikeouts (both swinging) in his 2.0 IP, while Scott threw 21 pitches (15 strikes) with a 5/0 GO/FO and one K (looking).

Jensen (who broke about three or four D'backs bats in his two innings of work) throws a fastball that tops out at 94 MPH and a hard slider, and reminds me a lot of Daytona RHRP and 2010 10th round pick Aaron Kurcz, and Scott throws an 89-91 MPH fastball and a slow curve.

Cubs #1 draft pick Javier Baez got the start at SS and batted 2nd in the order today.

He doubled off the top of the LF fence and then stole 3B in the bottom of the 1st, flied out to the warning track in CF in his 2nd AB in the 3rd, flied out to the warning track in LF in the bottom of the 5th, and then doubled off the top of the right-centerfield fence in his 4th PA leading off the five-run 8th. No question the kid has big-time power.

But Baez wasn't quite as impressive in the field, committing three careless errors at SS that resulted in three unearned runs scoring. While he made one nifty "no-look" back-handed stop & throw worthy of the Harlem Globetrotters in the top of the 2nd, and started a key 6-4-3 DP to help protect the Cubs one-run lead in the top of the 9th, he also bobbled two easy bouncers (one in the 6th and another in the 8th) allowing batters to reach base (both eventually scored), and then on one of the fielding errors he blew his cool, launching a totally unnecessary throw over the 1st baseman's head (the batter had already crossed 1st base) allowing the batter-runner to advance to 2nd base.

The 18-year old Baez is kind of cocky and a bit of a "hot dog" (like holding the ball an extra beat and then firing a rocket to 1st base, or trying to turn a routine play into an ESPN Sports Center highlight), and he is a bit chippy with the umpires, too. He does run OK and he is an aggressive base-runner, and while he looks like he enjoys playing SS, he probably does not have the range to stay there. He could eventually end up at 3B, or maybe even a corner OF spot (he appears to have the arm strength needed to play RF). However, the Cubs will probably leave him at SS for a while to help ease his adjustment to pro ball, since he obviously feels comfortable playing the position.

Cubs 2011 2nd round pick Dan Vogelbach played 1B and batted 3rd today, and handled himself well around the bag at 1st base. He also (once again) took an outside fastball and hammered it to the opposite field (into the LF corner) for an RBI double, driving in Baez for the Cubs 1st run in the bottom of the 8th.

DH Rock Shoulders--who struck out in each of his first three AB, looking totally lost trying to hit breaking balls and off-speed pitches--then put a hurt on a first-pitch fastball, pulling it down the RF line for a double to score Vogelbach from 2nd base.

2B Gioskar Amaya followed, lining a single to drive-in Shoulders from 2nd (the hot-hitting Amaya had two singles and a double today, as he went 17-32 over his final eight AZL games), before AZL Cubs supersub Gregori Gonzalez sliced a triple over the right-fielder's head to knock-in Amaya with the tying run.

And then with Carlos Romero squaring for a suicide squeeze bunt, G. Gonzalez scored the go-ahead run (what was the eventual winning run) on (technically) a steal of home, when the Diamondbacks pitcher threw the ball into the dirt and past the catcher. 

Cubs 2011 18th round draft pick RHP James Pugliese pitched the 8th inning and struggled to throw strikes (20 pitches - only nine strikes), and despite allowing two walks and an unearned run, picked-up the win, and RHP Rafael Diplan threw a shutout 9th for the save (as the Diamondbacks left the potential tying run stranded at 3rd base).


Besides the AZL Cubs failing to qualify for the AZL playoffs as the Wild Card team, DSL Cubs #1 did not qualify for the DSL playoffs, DSL Cubs #2 did qualify but got swept 3-0 by the DSL Mariners in the first round, Boise has not yet been eliminated from the NWL post-season but the Hawks are seemingly headed in that direction, Peoria will not qualify for the MWL playoffs, and Iowa will not qualify for the PCL post-season.


Both Tennessee (Southern League) and Daytona (FSL) have qualified for their respective league playoffs, so baseball will continue for those two Cubs farm clubs past Labor Day. hasn't posted today's AZL box scores yet, so until they do, here is the unofficial abridged box score (Cubs players only):

1. Kyung-Min Na, CF: 1-4 (K, P-6, 1B, 3-6-3 GIDP)
2. Javier Baez, SS: 2-4 (2B, F-8, F-7, 2B, R, SB)
3. Dan Vogelbach, 1B: 1-3 (HBP, F-8, 4-3, 2B, R, RBI, SB)
4. Rock Shoulders,DH: 1-4 (K, K, K, 2B, R, RBI)
5. Gioskar Amaya, 2B: 3-4 (F-9, 1B, 2B, 1B, R, RBI, SB)
6. Brian Inoa, RF: 1-4 (K, 1B, 3-2 FC, 6-3)
7. Gregori Gonzalez, 3B: 1-4 (5-3, 6-4 FC, 5-4 FC, 3B, R, RBI, SB)
8. Carlos Romero, C: 2-4 (K, 6-3, 1B, 1B, PO)
9. Garrett Schlecht, LF: 0-3 (L-7, BB, 4-6 FC, F-8)

1. Michael Jensen: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 4/0 GO/FO, 23 pitches (17 strikes)
2. Tayler Scott: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 5/0 GO/FO, 21 pitches (15 strikes)
3. Jin-Young Kim: 3.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 2/4 GO/FO, 39 pitches (31 strikes)
4. James Pugliese: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 1 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 1/2 GO/FO, 20 pitches (9 strikes)
5. Rafael Diplan: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 1 PO, 3/0 GO/FO, 14 pitches (6 strikes)

SS Javier Baez: 3 (fielding, fielding, throw)
3B Gregori Gonzalez: 1 (missed tag)

WP: Pugliese (2-2)
SV: Diplan (1)

AZ Phil,

Which appears to be the better natural SS, Marco Hernandez or Javy Baez?

I am guessing that Hernandez is better since every scout of the draft says that Baez is a future 3B. I watched his scouting clips and agreed with much of the 3B switch talk. I am curious about the Hernandez kid. Sounds like he and Amaya made a good tandem (add Zapata before his promotion and those three were the reason to check AZL Cubs' box scores).

Phil, enjoy the time off until Instructs start. Always fun to read the detailed updates. I'd like to be able to do them myself someday.

Submitted by Childersb3 on Sun, 08/28/2011 - 7:05pm.
AZ Phil,

Which appears to be the better natural SS, Marco Hernandez or Javy Baez?

I am guessing that Hernandez is better since every scout of the draft says that Baez is a future 3B. I watched his scouting clips and agreed with much of the 3B switch talk. I am curious about the Hernandez kid. Sounds like he and Amaya made a good tandem (add Zapata before his promotion and those three were the reason to check AZL Cubs' box scores).

Phil, enjoy the time off until Instructs start. Always fun to read the detailed updates. I'd like to be able to do them myself someday.


CHILDERS: I would say both Marco Hernandez and Javier Baez look like natural shortstops (but then so did D. J.LeMahieu), and I would not be surprised if both stay at SS for a while.

The problem is trying to project them to where they will play at the higher minor league levels and MLB.

In the case of Hernandez, if he becomes an everyday player in the big leagues it will likely be at 2B, He has the range and ball-handling skills to be a middle-infielder, but his arm is not ideal for a SS. If he ends up as more of a utility infielder (and he has played SS-2B-3B this year at AZL Cubs), then he should be able to handle SS when needed, but probably not as an everyday player.

Baez is sort of the opposite of Hernandez, in that he has the arm strength to play SS, but but not the range or ball-handling skills. And while arm strength can be improved (somewhat), range cannot. If you ain't got it, you ain't got it. If Baez makes it to the big leagues as a back-up, I would say he would probably be a 3B-LF-RF guy, but if he is the hitter he appears to be, he could be an everyday player at 3B, LF, or RF.

All that said, I expect both Hernandez and Baez will play SS next season. Hernandez should start the 2012 season at Peoria (with Amaya and Darvill), while I would expect Baez to be at Extended Spring Training April-May before getting assigned to Boise in June.

saw the first non-MLB/sports network commercial for Moneyball (movie) on seems they're going to market it to "normal" people stressing the relationship between beane and his made up almost 1/2 the commerical's material. kinda a family baseball movie vibe type appeal...played up the relationship between the suddenly fat as hell paul d. character and beane pretty heavily, too.

I read an article online somewhere about the behind the scenes making of that movie, and how to get it approved again after the famous director dropped out, I forget his name, but the next group that took over decided to expand the tiny role of the daughter/father relationship to a much larger chunk of the movie. The first director and script were going to have David Justice and Scott Hattieberg play themselves, and have interviews with other former players, some of which was already filmed before the other director dropped out and the movie studio tried to kill the film. When it got back on track the real players were all cut from the new script. At one point, the first director also talked to Art Howe about playing himself. The article didn't say what Howe wanted to do.

I think Steven Soderburgh was the first director tied to the project.

So Soderberg wanted to adapt the book to a movie and the studio insisted on a feel-good flick.

imo, the best baseball film that's come out in a while...requires occasional subtitle reading unless you know spanish.

That film made it real. Not a particularly uplifting movie, but if you ever wondered about the underbelly of baseball, this is the film for you.

That was alright too, but if you want authenticity and real excitement, nothing compares to:

totally own that one, too. heh.

You are a man of taste!

It's a classic.

i'm a huge fan of "crap cinema"...this one is a must-have for crap movie baseball fans.

japan does over-the-top silly action/gore correctly.

this pretty much speaks for itself...

hahaha... totally realistic.

Soderburgh did The Informant!, right? That was a movie about an incredible and interesting real-life story that was completely ruined in its movie form... partly by poor acting on Matt Damon's part, but also by draining any kind of narrative out of the movie. The thing is, you either make a documentary or you make a movie, you can't ride the fence. If you make a movie, which is what The Informant! was and what Moneyball is, you have to have a story... it can't be all gimmick. Take Frost-Nixon, for example. It's based on the real Frost & Nixon interview, but really it's the protagonist's "fish out of water" story that makes it work so well. The Informant! had an element of that, but really it seemed like they spent way too much time trying to make Matt Damon's character funny.

The Informant was rated 78% fresh, and it was good to me. You had to watch it as a tragedy, not a documentary.

Yeah, I get it, and a lot of people enjoyed the movie, and I'm glad you did.

This American Life had a 1-hour radio documentary on this story that I found far more informative and interesting than the movie. This radio story is what inspired the screenwriter to make the movie, btw.

I'm sure I've listened to that episode, but I didn't remember it when I watched the informant. I'll have to check it out again.

We went to the TAL that aired in the theaters a couple years back. It was aired at the same time across the county, I can't recall if it was live or what the situation. Anyhow, it's a great program in case anyone's never heard of it.

This American Life = appointment radio.

movie marketing usually tries to appeal to everything the movie isn't...they figure they already have baseball fans, so they're going to play up everything that isn't baseball in the commercials.

i was wondering how this would be created and marketed to non-baseball/sports/casual-fans types since day one.

the tbs commercial i saw tonight is a far cry from the espn version(s) that's been running for a month+. they're putting a decent amount of promotion into this one...even for a brad pitt flick.

if they do a lifetime spot, they'll find the 5 shots in the movie of women crying :)

the week before it comes out is when they start bombarding the airwaves with TV spots usually...

yeah, i dont think it's even rated yet. it's been a weird trip from it's creation...hopefully it'll create some playoff fever with the casuals.

They need to add a woman in some sort of Peril for the lifetime spot. Find a cameo for Melissa Gilbert or Tori Spelling.

Unfortunately, ROB G, the heavy trend is to reveal so much in the trailer, I often times either wait, or blow off the film.

Why see it when the entire plot and character development, and even "acts" are given away for me?

I am sure you have noiced this, or are getting direction in this regard.

Apparently, many critics are having the same sentiments.

The studios want to maximize and recoup everything asap. Not that I blame them, but...

yeah, studios have no problem giving away the entire movie...Abrams had to have a clause in his contract to stop them from doing it in Super 8.

They've traded opening weekend dollars for the movie-going experience.

there is some study out there that people enjoy stories if they already know what to expect, doesn't work for me, but I'm not the type of person they're trying to sway to go to a movie theater.

nonetheless, tale as old as time, everyone bitches about how movies were better when they were younger, yet movie studios are making more than ever.

Phil - who is the better second base prospect, Hernandez or Amaya, and of those two and Zapata, who is the better overall prospect, based upon what you have seen?

Recent comments

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  • 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.

  • Unbeleivable Dodgers:
    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:

    Some "Highlights"
    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.

  • 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).