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
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.
If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?
#Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.
Fun with FIP
- J. Hammel 3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
- J. Arrieta 2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
- J. Lester 2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
- K. Hendricks 2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
- J. Lackey 3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k
he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.
JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.
My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.
Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...
joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1
not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.
really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.
Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.