Big Cubs Comeback Leaves Rockies Fit to Be Tied
Trey Martin blooped an opposite-field single over the second-baseman's head to score Rubi Silva from 3rd base and cap a furious comeback, as the Cubs rallied to score seven runs over the last four innings to tie the Rockies 7-7 in AZ Instructional League action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.
The game started at 9 AM, and there was a pre-scheduled curfew of 11:30 AM or seven innings (whichever came first), so that players could get to the airport and catch their flights. As it turned out, the game did go seven innings, ending at 11:20 AM.
The Cubs played short-handed today from the gitgo, what with five players (Javier Baez, Taiwan Easterling Dustin Geiger, Reggie Golden, and Rafael Lopez) on the shelf with injuries, and with another group (Jose Arias, Jeffrey Baez, Jeimer Candelario, Mark Malave, Carlos Penalver, and Alexander Sanchez) having left Phoenix last night en route to the Dominican Academy to participate in the Dominican Instructional League.
In fact the Cubs were so short-handed that Garrett Schlecht played RF but did not bat (he has some type of injury where he can catch & throw but can't hit), Yaniel Cabezas missed two ABs because he was busy warming up pitchers in the bullpen, Rubi Silva played shortstop for the first time in his career, and DH Dan Vogelbach left the game and was not replaced after the end of the 5th inning (he was last seen running in full sprint to the clubhouse so that so he could get to the airport and fly home to Florida... whether he had time to change out of his uniform first, I do not know).
It kind of reminded me of one of those neighborhood baseball games you played as a kid, where some of the guys have to leave before the game is over. Like maybe Johnny's mother is calling him to come home for dinner, or Bobby has a clarinet lesson, etc.
The Rockies rocked Tony Zych and David Henrie for seven runs in tbe top of the 2nd inning, as Tyler Massey (two-run single), Trevor Story (bases-loaded triple), and Tim Smalling (RBI double) contributed key hits. It was the worst outing of Tony Zych's pro career.
The Cubs bullpen then retired 16 of the last 18 hitters they faced, as the Cubs offense kept pecking away at the deficit.
The Cubs scored three times in the bottom of the 4th, as Rubi Silva and Micah Gibbs singled, Dan Vogelbach blasted an RBI double, and Trey Martin followed with an RBI single. The third run of the inning scored on a double play.
The Cubs scored two more runs in the bottom of the 5th, as Yaniel Cabezas pulled a one-out double into the LF corner, Zeke DeVoss singled, and Rubi Silva bounced an RBI FC. The second run scored on a two-out E-4.
The Cubs narrowed the Rockies lead to one, scoring once in the bottom of the 6th inning on a balk after consecutive singles by Danny Lockhart and Shawon Dunston, Jr.
That set-up the bottom of the 7th as the final half-ining of the game (and 2011 Instructs), with the Cubs down 7-6.
Rubi Silva led-off with an infield single, outracing the pitcher to 1st base (the pitcher was late covering). Micah Gibbs lined a single to RF to move Silva to 3rd, and then Trey Martin came through with his game-tying bloop hit.
With runners at 1st & 2nd and no outs, it looked like the Cubs might come all the way back and win the game, but Danny Lockhart struck out after trying (unsuccessfully) to lay down a sacrifice bunt, and Shawon Dunston, Jr grounded out 4-3 (although the runners did advance to 2nd & 3rd). Justin Marra then walked to load the bases, leaving it up to Zeke DeVoss.
But DeVoss lined-out to SS for the 3rd out, bringing the 2011 AZ Instructional League season to a close for the Rockies and for the Cubs. (The Giants, Royals, and Reds have not yet concluded intructs, and will be playing games next week).
Here is the abridged bix score (Cubs players only)
1. Zeke DeVoss, 2B: 1-5 (P-3, K, 1B, K, L-6)
2. Rubi Silva, SS: 2-4 (5-3, 1B, 4-6 FC, 1B, 3 R, RBI)
3. Micah Gibbs, 1B: 3-4 (K, 1B, 1B, 1B, R)
4a. Dan Vogelbach, DH #1: 1-3 (P-3, 2B, E-4, R, RBI)
4b. SLOT WAS SKIPPED 4th TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
5. Trey Martin, LF: 2-4 (5-3, 1B, F-8, 1B, 2 RBI)
6. Danny Lockhart, 3B: 1-4 (K, 6-3 DP, 1B, K, R)
7. Shawon Dunston, Jr, CF: 1-4 (3-U , K, 1B, 4-3)
8. Justin Marra, C: 0-3 (K, K, 5-3, BB)
9a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED 1st & 4th TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
9b. Yaniel Cabezas, DH #2: 2-2 (2B, 1B, R, CS)
10. Garrett Schlecht, RF: NO AB - PLAYED DEFENSE ONLY
1. Zac Rosscup: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 12 pitches (7 strikes), 0/1 FO/FO
2. Tony Zych: 0.2 IP, 4 H, 6 R (6 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 30 pitches (20 strikes)
3. David Henrie: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 29 pitches (21 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO
4. Dillon Maples: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 12 pitches (6 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO
5. Jose Rosario: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 11 pitches (8 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
6. Dustin Fitzgerald: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 16 pitches (11 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
7. Frank Del Valle: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 6 pitches (5 strikes), 0/2 GO/FO
Justin Marra: 0-1 CS
WEATHER: Sunny with morning temperatures in the 80's
Good thing the Cubs have five left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties [edit - doesn't seem to faze Bryant!]
ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.
cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/
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.