Dunston & Vogelbach Lead Cubs to Victory
Shawon Dunston, Jr drove in three runs with a two-out two-run RBI single that capped a four-run 1st inning and a solo HR leading off the bottom of the 6th, and Dan Vogelbach singled and scored in the 1st and clubbed a tape-measure HR over the RF fence in the bottom of the 7th to put the game away, leading the Cubs to a 10-5 victory over the Brewers in Opening Day AZ Instructional League action this afternoon at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.
The Brewers took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning against Cubs starter Felix Pena, as Brew Crew clean-up hitter Ben McMahan cracked a two-run double off the LF fence.
But the Cubs offense came right back in the bottom of the first, scoring four times,and giving the Cubs a lead they held for the balance of the game.
After Zeke DeVoss was called out on strikes, Javier Baez ripped a single to center, and then stole 2nd. Rafael Lopez followed with a laser-double into the RF corner, scoring Baez, and then Dan Vogelbach lined a single over the shortstop’s head, moving Lopez to 3rd. Reggie Golden reached base on an infield single, scoring Lopez, with Vogelbach advancing to 3rd on a throwing error. Golden then stole 2nd base, giving the Cubs runners at 2nd & 3rd with just one out. After Dustin Geiger bounced out to 3rd (both runners held their base), Shawon Dunston, Jr (who was making his professional debut) lined the first pitch he saw into right-center to score Vogelbach and Golden with the third and fourth runs of the inning.
The Cubs plated two more runs in the bottom of the second inning, as Neftali Rosario singled, and advanced to 3rd as Garrett Schlecht clobbered a double off the top of the RF fence (near HR). 17-year old Italian Alberto Mineo (making his U. S. debut after spending the summer at the MLB Australian Academy) lined a single to RF to score Rosario, and then Zeke DeVoss drove-in Schlecht with a single, giving the Cubs a 6-2 lead.
The Brewers narrowed the lead to 6-5 before the Cubs scored an unearned run in the 5th, and then Shawon Dunston, Jr blasted his HR off Brewers RHP Tommy Toledo over the RF fence to give the Cubs a 8-5 lead in the 6th.
Dan Vogelbach made it 9-5 Cubs with his solo shot off RHP Carlos Sosa in the 7th, and the Cubs finished their scoring in the 8th as Javier Baez reached base on a two-out RBI infield single, scoring Yaniel Cabezas from 3rd base.
What was especially noteworthy about the Cubs six-run explosion in the first two innings was that four of the key hits (and none of them were cheapies, either) were by Cub left-handed hitters (Lopez, Vogelbach, Dunston, and Schlecht) off a Brewer LHP (Will West).
The Cubs employed seven pitchers today, partly to get more pitchers work (there are 24 pitchers at Instructs and there is only one game per day) and partly to allow the pitchers to get a bit of game action after not seeing any for a couple of weeks.
Luis Liria had a particularly poor outing as he struggled to find the strike zone (31 pitches - only 14 strikes), walking three and throwing two wild pitches in his two innings of work. If it wasn't for Cubs catcher Rafael Lopez throwing out two Brewer baserunners in a row trying to steal 2nd base in the top of the 4th, Liria's final line could have been a lot worse.
Here is today’s abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1a. Zeke DeVoss, 2B: 2-3 (K, 1B, 1B, RBI, SB)
1b. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 1-2 (1B, 6-3)
2. Javier Baez, SS: 2-5 (1B, L-7, 5-4 FC, K, 1B, 2 R, RBI, SB)
3a. Rafael Lopez, C: 2-3 (2B, F-9, 1B, R, RBI)
3b. SEE SLOT #10a
4. Dan Vogelbach, 1B: 2-4 (1B, K, K, HR, 2 R, RBI)
5a. Reggie Golden, RF: 1-3 (1B+E5, 5-3, E-6, R, RBI, SB)
5b. Eliecer Bonne, RF: 1-1 (1B, SB)
6a. Dustin Geiger, 3B: 0-3 (5-3, F-7, K)
6b. Jeimer Candelario, 3B: 0-1 (4-3)
7. Shawon Dunston, Jr, CF: 2-4 (1B, 6-3, HR, 4-3, R, 3 RBI)
8a. Neftali Rosario, DH #1: 1-2 (1B, L-5, R)
8b. Yaniel Cabezas, PH-DH: 1-2 (4-3, 1B, R)
9. Garrett Schlecht, LF: 1-4 (2B, K, 1-3, 4-3, R)
10a. Alberto Mineo, DH-C: 2-5 (1B, K, 1B, 3-1, K, RBI)
NOTE: Mineo was moved to #3 slot in batting order after Lopez left game
10b. SLOT WAS SKIPPED 4th TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
1. Felix Pena: 2.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 33 pitches (19 strikes), 4/0 GO/FO
2. Luis Liria: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 1 K, 2 WP, 31 pitches (14 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
3. Charles Thomas: 0.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, (2 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 2 WP, 23 pitches (15 strikes)
4. Austin Reed: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 14 pitches (7 strikes), 4/0 GO/FO
5. Dustin Fitzgerald: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 17 pitches (14 strikes)
6. Kyler Burke: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 17 pitches (12 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
7. Jose Rosario: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 27 pitches (16 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
1. Rafael Lopez: 2-2 CS, 1 PB
2. Alberto Mineo: 1-1 CS, 1 PB
WEATHER: Calm wind, sunny, and very hot (107)
HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC.
ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels.
M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores) the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating.
E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.
Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).
PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.
a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...
it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.
soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.
he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.