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)
I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.
Awesome stuff, Phil.
listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.
That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.
it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?
sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.
HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).
Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.
I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.
One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players.
CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.
Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.
As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?
AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?
Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.
AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.
I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.
But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.
Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.
Jason deGrom -- oh, my.
Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.
Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.