Cub Rally Falls Short at Papago Park
Sean Jamieson and Max Stassi rapped RBI triples to highlight a three-run 1st inning and RBI singles to key a four-run 2nd, and Jordan Tripp and A. J. Kirby-Jones slugged solo home runs to provide the eventual margin of victory, as the Athletics withstood a late rally to edge the Cubs 10-9 in AZ Instructional League action at Connie Mack Field at the Papago Park Baseball Complex in Phoenix this morning.
The Cubs took a brief 1-0 lead in the top of the 1st inning, as lead-off man Rubi Silva lined a single over the shortstop's head, advanced to second on a sac bunt, and scored when the catcher threw the ball into the LF corner on a delayed steal where the third-baseman forgot to cover 3rd.
But Cubs starter Amaury Paulino was battered in the bottom of the 1st, as four of the first five men he faced ripped hits (two singles and two triples) before the young Dominican right-hander settled-down and struck out the last two A’s hitters to strand a runner at 3rd.
Tarlandus Mitchell made his first mound appearance in about five months, taking the hill for the Cubs in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Mitchell induced the first A’s batter he faced to hit a routine two-hopper to 3rd, but third-baseman Jeimer Candelario fumbled the ball for an error. Then after the next two batters were retired (a 5-4 FC and a K), Mitchell fell apart and surrendered four unearned runs on two hits, a walk, and a HBP, while also throwing two wild pitches that moved runners up into scoring position.
LHP Zac Rosscup (on the Daytona Cubs DL since June) pitched the third inning and two outs into the 4th, allowing two runs, including a Jordan Tripp solo HR. Rosscup also pulled the bonehead play of the day, allowing a run to score from 3rd base on a foul pop up out to the first-baseman. The ball came down near the Cubs on deck circle (first-base side) as both 1st baseman Dan Vogelbach and catcher Yaniel Cabezas chased the pop up, but Rosscup forgot to cover home as Sean Jamieson scored easily from 3B. Rosscup was then immediately pulled from the game.
Down 9-3 (with a Micah Gibbs double and a Shawon Dunston, Jr RBI single in the 2nd having plated the Cubs second run, and a Gibbs RBI single following consecutive singles by Yaniel Cabezas and Dan Vogelbach having knocked-in the third run in the 4th), the Cubs mounted a comeback with a five-run 6th off RHP Ryan Doolittle.
Rubi Silva (who had three hits today) roped a single through the box and into CF to lead off the inning, stole 2nd base (his second SB of the day), and, after Yaniel Cabezas walked, scored on a Dan Vogelbach RBI ground single to right. Taiwan Easterling then lined a one-out two-run triple over the centerfielder’s head to drive-in Cabezas and Vogelbach, before scoring on a Micah Gibbs sacrifice fly. Jeimer Candelario kept the inning alive with a two-out opposite-field hump-back single to left, and scored on a line-drive RBI single to right-center by Jeffrey Baez (in what was his U. S. debut). Down 10-8 after A. J. Kirby-Jones took Frank Del Valle deep in the bottom of the 7th, the Cubs scored what would be their final run of the day in the 8th to narrow the deficit to 10-9.
Javier Baez sliced an opposite field double into the RF corner to lead-off the inning, and took third when the A’s second-baseman fumbled the relay throw for an error. After Justin Marra (making his pro debut) struck out swinging (and looked over-matched doing it), Baez raced home on a Carlos Penalver 1-3 ground out (high chopper fielded by the pitcher, with the only play at 1st base). The Cubs then went down 1-2-3 in the 9th.
The defensive gem of the day for the Cubs was a sliding run-saving catch in short left-center (in traffic) by LF Taiwan Easterling. I've seen him make catches like this before, and it's the type of move a punt returner will make when fair-catching a short punt. It's probably fairly easy and comfortable for Easterling to make catches this way, since he did return punts when he played football at Florida State.
Here is today’s abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Rubi Silva, 2B: 3-4 (1B, K, 1B, 1B, 2 R, 2 SB, PO)
2. Javier Baez, DH #1: 1-3 (2-3 SH, K, K, 2B, R)
3a. Yaniel Cabezas, C: 1-1 (BB, 1B, BB, 2 R)
3b. Justin Marra, C: 0-1 (K)
4a. Dan Vogelbach, 1B: 2-3 (K, 1B, 1B, R, RBI)
4b. Carlos Penalver, SS: 0-1 (1-3, RBI)
5. Taiwan Easterling, LF: 1-4 (6-3, K, 3B, 2-3, R, 2 RBI)
6. Micah Gibbs, DH #2: 2-3 (2B, 1B, F-9 SF, 1-3, R, 2 RBI)
7. Jeimer Candelario, 3B-1B: 1-4 (3-1, 6-4-3 DP, 1B, P-6, R)
8a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED 1st TWO TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
8b. Jeffrey Baez, DH-RF: 1-2 (1B, F-9, RBI)
9. Shawon Dunston, Jr, CF-DH: 1-3 (1B, 3-1, K, RBI, PO)
10. Eliecer Bonne, RF-CF: 0-3 (K, F-9, F-9)
11. Danny Lockhart, SS-3B: 0-3 (4-3, 4-3, 5-3)
1. Amaury Paulino: 1.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 25 pitches (17 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
2. Tarlandus Mitchell: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 4 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 2 WP, 29 pitches (17 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO
3. Zac Rosscup: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 1 GIDP, 30 pitches (17 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
4. Jose Arias: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 19 pitches (15 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
5. Frank Del Valle: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 26 pitches (18 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
6. Andrew McKirahan: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 17 pitches (12 strikes), 0/3 GO/FO
1. 3B Jeimer Candelario - E5 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
2. 2B Rubi Silva - E4 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
Yaniel Cabezas 0-2 CS
ATTENDANCE: 19 (including Shawon Dunston, Sr)
WEATHER: Partly cloudy & breezy, with temperatures in the 90’s
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!
given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.
i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.
Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?
He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.
My guess? Toronto.
PHIL: It seems as if Paniagua has always played 1B with the Cubs. At 6'2 and 180#, what is his frame like? String bean? Have you seen him bulk up? Where do you project him? Thanks.
Phil, what's your thoughts on which position players are going to Eugene and who is staying in AZL?
Ahhh...way to bring me down BB.
Still - a win tomorrow will be an acheivement regardless.
Don't mean to spoil your mood, but with tonight's win the are 3-5 on the trip with one to play.
While I'm bringing the room down -- Richard comes in to pitch the 9th with a 12-1 lead...and can't finish the game. Woof.