Hail to Szczur!
Matt Szczur drove-in six runs with a two-run double and a grand slam home run, Brett Jackson slugged a solo home run, ripped an RBI double, walked twice, and scored three runs, and Tony Campana singled and scored in all three of his at bats, stole a base, and drove-in a run, leading one squad of Cubs to a 10-4 victory over another squad of Cubs in an intrasquad game played at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny, blustery, and cool Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.
The game was a pre-planned six-inning affair.
Brett Jackson got things started for the Rick Sutcliffe Squad, leading off the game by blasting a towering HR on a 1-2 pitch over the 390-foot sign in right-center off LHP Travis Wood. Matt Szczur followed with an opposite-field line-drive single over the 1st baseman’s head into short RF, and after advancing a base on a ground out, scored all the way from 2nd on a Reed Johnson sacrifice fly caught against the RF fence by David DeJesus. (Szczur did not hesitate rounding 3rd base, and scored easily, without a play at the plate).
The Sutcliffe Squad added to their lead in the top of the 2nd, as Szczur roped an opposite-field grand slam HR over the RF fence, driving in Junior Lake (who had led-off the inning with a line-drive single to left), Tony Campana (reached base on a line-drive single over SS Starlin Castro’s head), and Brett Jackson (walked to load the bases). The inning was stopped with one out (“roll it!”) after T. Wood hit Jeff Baker with a pitch and Anthony Rizzo lined a single past first-baseman Bryan LaHair into RF.
After being set-down 1-2-3 by Randy Wells in the bottom of the 1st inning, the Dale Sveum Squad plated three runs and cut the lead in half in the 2nd. The squad loaded the bases with one out, as Marlon Byrd roped a sizzling double down the line and into the LF corner, David DeJesus drew a walk, and Blake Lalli reached on a single. Darwin Barwin then chopped an RBI bouncer to Josh Vitters at 3rd base, who was able to get a force-out at 2nd before Jeff Baker threw the relay past 1st baseman Anthony Rizzo and into the 1st base dugout, allowing a second runner to score. Blake DeWitt followed with a line-drive RBI single off a diving Jeff Baker's glove to score Barney from 2nd base. (DeWitt had three line-drive singles in three AB, one to RF, one to CF, and one to LF).
The Sutcliffe crew came back with a run in the 4th and three more in the 6th off Andy Sonnanstine.
Brett Jackson creamed a line-drive RBI double over CF Marlon Byrd’s head (Byrd got all turned around trying to track the ball), scoring Tony Campana from 2nd base in the 4th (Campana had gone back to tag-up at 2nd, so he had to really turn on the “after-burners” to beat Darwin Barney’s relay throw home), and Campana smacked an RBI single and Matt Szczur cracked a two-run double in the 6th (this inning was also stopped before two outs, when Sonnanstine reached his max pitch count for the day).
The Sveum Group scored the final run of the game in the bottom of the 6th, on a Darwin Barney 4-6-3 DP ball.
Four pitchers worked in the game (two for each squad), with each pitcher throwing three innings (although two of the innings were stopped before a third out was recorded). None of the pitchers were particularly effective, although Casey Coleman allowed only one run in his three-inning stint.
Alfonso Soriano hit lead-off for the Sveum Squad, the first time he’s done that in a while. It didn’t provide much in the way of a spark, however, as Sori went 0-4 with two strike outs.
Other than Marlon Byrd playing the B-Jax line-drive into an RBI double, the bad relay throw by Jeff Baker that allowed an unearned run to score, and a harmless E-6 (bobble) by SS Junior Lake, the defense looked OK.
This was the first intrasquad game played by the Cubs prior to the start of Cactus League play since 2006. The Cubs did play an intrasquad game as their last Spring Training game last year, but both Lou Piniella and Mike Quade favored simple work-outs (BP and fielding practice) at HoHoKam Park on the two days prior to the start of Cactus League play.
There is no "official scorer" for Spring Training intrasquad games, so here is the unofficial box score:
SUTCLIFFE SQUAD LINEUP:
1. Brett Jackson, CF: 2-2 (HR, BB, 2B, BB, 3 R, 2 RBI)
2. Matt Szczur, LF: 3-4 (1B, HR, L-7, 2B, 2 R, 6 RBI)
3. Jeff Baker, 2B: 0-2 (5-3, HBP, 4-3)
4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B: 1-2 (BB, 1B, K)
5. Reed Johnson, RF: 0-2 (F-9 SF, P-4, F-8, RBI)
6. Josh Vitters: 3B: 0-3 (6-3, 5-3, 5-3)
7. Junior Lake, SS: 2-3 (1B, 6-3, 1B, 2 R, SB)
8. Michael Brenly, C: 0-3 (P-4, F-9, F-9)
9. Tony Campana, DH: 3-3 (1B, 1B, 1B, 3 R, RBI, SB)
SVEUM SQUAD LINEUP:
1. Alfonso Soriano, LF: 0-4 (6-3, P-6, K, K)
2. Ian Stewart, 3B: 0-3 (K, 4-3, 4-3)
3. Starlin Castro, SS: 0-3 (5-3, 5-3, E-6, CS)
4. Bryan LaHair, 1B: 1-3 (F-7, 1B, 4-3)
5. Marlon Byrd, CF: 1-2 (2B, BB, P-4, R)
6. David DeJesus: RF: 1-1 (BB, BB, 1B, 2 R)
7. Blake Lalli, C: 2-3 (1B, 6-U FC, 1B)
8. Darwin Barney, 2B: 0-3 (5-4 FC+E-4, F-8, 4-6-3 DP, R, RBI)
9. Blake DeWitt, DH: 3-3 (1B, 1B, 1B, RBI)
SUTCLIFFE SQUAD PITCHERS:
1. Randy Wells: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 60 pitches (30 strikes), 6/2 GO/FO
2. Casey Coleman: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 52 pitches (34 strikes), 4/2 GO/FO
SVEUM SQUAD PITCHERS:
1. Travis Wood: 2.1 IP, 6 H, 6 R (6 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 2 HR, 60 pitches (36 strikers), 4/3 GO/FO
2. Andy Sonnanstine: 2.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 57 pitches (31 strikes), 2/4 GO/FO
NOTE: Travis Wood’s second inning was stopped with runners at 1st & 2nd and only one out when he reached his max pitch limit for that inning, and Andy Sonnanstine’s last inning was stopped with a runner on 2nd base and only one out when he reached his max pitch limit for the day
SUTCLIFFE SQUAD ERRORS: (2)
1. 2B Jeff Baker E-4 – errant relay throw to 1st base while attempting to complete 5-4-3 DP allowed runner to score from 3rd base and batter-runner to advance to 2nd base
2. SS Junior Lake E-6 – bobbled ground ball allowing batter to reach base safely
SVEUM SQUAD ERRORS: NONE
Michael Brenly: 1-1 CS
Blake Lalli: 0-2 CS, 1 PB
Chapman shouldn't be reserved anymore on 40 man.
Interesting split on Heyward according to ESPN. As a CF, his slash line .292/.363/.375/.738. At RF: .212/.204/.300/.604. 21/72 as a CF, 58/273 as a RF.
He's also been better when batting 2nd, but he had a nice start in the 6 hole, but has slumped ever since. He was heating up before the All Star break, but is only hitting .108 in the 2nd half.
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.
The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.