Cubs Err on the Side of Defeat at HoHoKam
Anthony Rizzo and Blake Lalli hammered solo home runs, and Matt Garza threw four innings and allowed two runs, but the Giants took advantage of two costly Cub fielding errors and a 9th inning base-running gaffe to edge the Cubs 3-2 in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in warm & sunny Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.
NOTE: Scroll down for the updated CUBS MINOR LEAGUE CAMP ROSTERS (effective 3/16)
The Cubs scored the first run of the day in the bottom of the 2nd, when Anthony Rizzo clubbed an opposite-field lead-off home run over the left-centerfield fence (just to the left of the “Green Monster” Batter’s Eye) off Giants LHSP Eric Surkamp.
Meanwhile, Cub starter Matt Garza was breezing through the first three innings, before running into trouble in the top of the 4th. Melky Cabrera walked and Pablo Sandoval singled to put runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs. Garza then threw a ball in the dirt that was blocked nicely by catcher Steve Clevenger, but then Clevenger tried to pick-off Sandoval (who had strayed a bit off 1st base when the ball hit the dirt) and made a wild throw past 1st base and into RF, allowing Cabrera to score from 2nd and Sandoval to move up a base. Sandoval scored later in the inning on an Aubrey Huff RBI single.
LHP Chris Rusin threw two solid shutout & hitless innings (the 6th & 7th), allowing just a walk while striking out two (29 pitches – 18 strikes, 3/1 GO/FO). Rusin will probably be in competition with Jay Jackson for the honor of starting for the Iowa Cubs on PCL Opening Day.
The game remained a 2-1 battle going into the 8th, when Rule 5 RHP Lendy Castillo took the mound for the Cubs. Emmanuel Burriss led-off the inning with a single and immediately stole 2nd base (very bad throw by catcher Blake Lalli), but L. Castillo fanned Brett Pill and Eli Whiteside (both swinging) and got Tyler Graham to tap weakly to the mound. Unfortunately, Castillo (an ex-shortstop of all things) inexplicably tossed a rainbow far over the 1st baseman’s head for an error, allowing Graham to reach base safely and Burriss to score from 2nd.
But the Cubs weren’t finished.
Facing ex-Cub RHP Ramon Ortiz, Blake Lalli lofted a one-out solo moon-shot HR over the RF fence in the bottom of the 8th, and after Trever Miller had an easy top of the 9th, Joe Mather (representing the tying run) grounded a lead-off single down the LF line (an outstanding defensive play by SF LF Justin Christian kept Mather from taking 2nd). Brett Jackson then laid down a textbook sacrifice bunt to the third-baseman that should have advanced Mather into scoring position, but Mather saw that 3rd base was uncovered and tried to take the extra base on the bunt and get to 3rd base with one out. But SS Joaquin Arias outraced Mather to the bag, tagging him out after taking the throw (on the run) from 1B Brett Pill. (I guess this is why taking infield practice matters).
Joe Mather played 3B once again today (all nine innings this time), and handled two chances and a couple of throw-cuts flawlessly.
While the Cubs were playing the Giants at HoHoKam Park, Minor League Cactus League play got underway, with the Cubs minor leaguers (the Iowa and Tennessee squads) playing two games at Fitch Park. (Daytona and Peoria were on the road).
With yesterday’s roster cuts and the arrival of three more players (SS Luis Acosta, OF Jeffrey Baez, and INF Carlos Penalver) from the Dominican Academy, the Cubs Minor League Camp rosters were adjusted prior to the games.
Some of the moves (and corresponding changes) were made to cover for a couple of injuries on the Iowa squad, but what’s most notable in today’s roster transfers is that several of the Cubs young stud prospects who had been assigned to Boise/Mesa earlier in the week were back with the Peoria squad today. Also, LHP Gerardo Concepcion (the Cuban bonus baby signed by the Cubs earlier this month) was moved down to Hi-A Daytona from AA Tennessee.
UPDATED CUBS 2012 MINOR LEAGUE CAMP ROSTERS (3/16)
* bats or throws left
# bats both
* Jeff Beliveau
Justin Berg (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* John Gaub
* Brooks Raley
* Nate Robertson
* Ryan Rowland-Smith
# Micah Gibbs
# Jason Jaramillo
Leugim Barroso (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
# David Macias
* Jake Opitz
Rebel Ridling (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Michael Burgess
* Jeffry Antigua
David Cales (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Frank Del Valle (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Brent Ebinger
Ricardo Estevez (see NOTE)
* Casey Harman
* Eric Jokisch
* Andrew McKirahan
* Matt Spencer (ex-OF)
Rob Whitenack (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
NOTE: Ricardo Estevez is on the RESTRICTED LIST while serving a 50-game Prohibited Substance suspension, but he is participating in Minor League Camp activities
Luis Flores (see NOTE)
* Rafael Lopez
Nate Maldonado (player-coach)
NOTE: Luis Flores is on the RESTRICTED LIST while serving a 50-game Prohibited Substance suspension, but he is participating in Minor League Camp activities
* Justin Bour
* Matt Cerda
# Zeke DeVoss
* Richard Jones
* Logan Watkins
* Kyler Burke (ex-OF)
* Gerardo Concepcion
P. J. Francescon
* Austin Kirk
* Jeff Lorick
A. J. Morris
* Zac Rosscup
* Sergio Burruel
Anthony Giansanti (ex-OF)
# Arismendy Alcantara
* Ryan Cuneo (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Wes Darvill
* Rubi Silva
* Pin-Chieh Chen
* Ben Klafczynski
* Hunter Ackerman
* Willengton Cruz
Dillon Maples (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Sheldon McDonald
* Brian Smith
Charles Thomas (ex3B)
Wilson Contreras (ex-3B)
# Wilfredo Petit
# Jeimer Candelario
# Marco Hernandez
* Danny Lockhart
# Rock Shoulders
* Dan Vogelbach
* Shawon Dunston, Jr
* Eduardo Gonzalez
# Oliver Zapata
Ethan Elias (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Graham Hicks (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
Austin Reed Colin Richardson
Austin Urban (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
Yaniel Cabezas (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Justin Marra
* Alberto Mineo
Antonio Valerio (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
# Brian Inoa
* Delbis Arcila
* Trevor Gretzky (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Garrett Schlecht (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
NOT ON FIELD - WHEREABOUTS STILL UNKNOWN (by me):
Gregori Gonzalez, IF-OF (?)
Yohan Gonzalez, P (?)
* Cam Greathouse, P (supposedly will report to EXST)
Alvido Jimenez, P (?)
Arturo Maltos-Garcia, P (2011 TJS rehab)
Amaury Paulino, P (?)
* Nelson Perez, OF
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.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.
soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.
he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.
j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.
so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.
im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.
That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.