Solid Goldschmidt Slam Helps D'backs Demolish Cubs at HoHoKam
Paul Goldschmidt blasted a grand slam home run, Henry Blanco and Alfredo Marte slugged solo shots, and Ian Kennedy threw four shutout innings, as the Arizona Diamondbacks coasted to an 12-2 victory over a split squad of Cubs in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in warm & sunny Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.
Ryan Dempster got the start for the Cubs, and was not particularly effective, allowing three runs (all earned) on eight hits (including one double and one HR) and a walk in 3.2 IP (3/1 GO/FO). He struck out three. The best part of Dempster’s outing was that he was stretched-out to 68 pitches (38 strikes), but otherwise the outing was mediocre at best.
Cubs #1 LHRP James Russell relieved Dempster with two outs in the 4th, retiring LH hitting Gerardo Parra on an inning-ending ground out. Russell then allowed a run on one hit in the 5th. However, the one hit allowed was a lead-off routine pop-up in medium deep CF that Marlon Byrd lost in the sun for a gift double, and then the D’backs moved the runner around on a couple of fly outs to plate the run. But the fact is, Russell looked VERY good today, throwing 31 pitches (21 strikes) with a 1/2 GO/FO and one strikeout (Geoff Blum).
Cub closer Carlos Marmol worked the 6th inning, and he threw a shoutout inning, allowing a walk and a single. But he also had control issues, laboring through a long inning of work (29 pitches – only 14 strikes) before finally retiring the side and leaving a runner stranded at 3rd base.
8th inning set-up man & back-up closer RHP Kerry Wood took the mound in the 7th, and was unable to retire the side. He was pulled from the game after striking out David Winfree (looking) with the bases loaded (for the first out of the frame), 27 pitches deep into the inning. LHP and Cubs 2011 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Jeff Beliveau (who was optioned to AAA Iowa earlier in the day) relieved Woody, and could not find home plate, walking in two runs before allowing the Goldschmidt grand slam that landed in the parking lot beyond the LF fence.
Beliveau had big-time control problems in college and in his first couple of seasons in pro ball, before making an adjustment in his delivery and becoming a control pitcher and definite MLB LH relief prospect. But other than a dominating outing at Camelback Ranch versus the Dodgers last Sunday (five strikeouts in two innings) he has reverted to his old form this spring.
The Cub home team offense was once again mostly silent today, scoring one run in the 7th on three singles, and a another on a Michael Brenly solo HR in the 8th.
The other squad of Cubs traveled up the Loop 101 Freeway to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, losing to the Rockies 7-5. I was not at that game, but Junior Lake did hit a three-run HR in the 6th to give the Cubs a temporary 4-3 lead, and Bryan LaHair apparently began to break out his Spring Training-long slump, collecting three hits, including a double.
Marcos Mateo threw a 1-2-3 8th (striking out Brandon Wood and Tyler Colvin and retiring Jordan Pacheco on an infield pop-up) to help advance his cause to make the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster (Mateo is out of minor league options and so irrevocable Outright Waivers would have to be secured before he can be sent to the minors).
Prior to the two games, the Cubs optioned pitchers Alberto Cabrera, Jeff Beliveau, and John Gaub (who did not pitch in a Cactus League game) and infielder Josh Vitters to AAA Iowa, and infielder Junior Lake and outfielder Matt Szczur to AA Tennessee. Also NRI catcher Jason Jaramillo (who has been sidelined with a leg injury since last month) was reassigned to Minor League Camp.
You might have noticed that there was an inordinate number of transactions around MLB today. That’s because today was the first day Draft-Excluded Players (any minor leaguer eligible for selection in the 2011 December Rule 5 Draft who was added to an MLB 40-man roster after 8-15-2011) could be sent to the minors, plus minor league Spring Training games start tomorrow.
Everytime I recall Szcur's bone marrow donation to a stranger, it makes me smile:
If Matt is out will Kawasaki get the call-up? Or "Shane"?
"Matt Szczur will undergo an MRI on his right hamstring on Tuesday."
One of the reasons I think Maddon is a great manager -- he has changed the conversation on Baez from HR & strikeouts to great defense, versatility and an all-around good ballplayer. He rarely talks about his offense, which is the only thing anybody used to talk about with Javy. He took a lot of pressure off the kid, and he seems to have responded.
Good pitching and some nifty D tonight -- nice win.
In case you didn't see it -- it was the Little League play where the guy on first gets caught in a rundown on purpose and the guy on third tries to score. It worked.
Gotta love the Pirates pitcher intentionally hitting Zobrist, then allowing Zobrist to score on a 2-out wild pitch.
Also, glad to see Zobrist coming around with RISP after my remarks last week. Heh!
ESPN reporting heyward day-to-day with an injured wrist
ESPN game tonight, btw.
Cardinal way #48
"negligent transmission of STDs"
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Twitterverse reporting that Heyward is dealing with a sore right wrist
Cardinal way #47
See ya on parrot chat
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.