LaHair Ball Day at Fitch Park
Bryan LaHair singled, doubled, and tripled, scored two runs, and knocked-in two more, and Nate Samson had two hits, drove-in three runs and scored another, but it wasn’t anywhere near enough, as the Arkansas Travelers (Los Angeles Angels AA affiliate) took advantage of six errors to defeat the Tennessee Smokies 7-3 on Field #2, and the Salt Lake Bees (Angels AAA affiliate) outlasted the Iowa Cubs 13-8 on Field #3, in Cactus League Minor League game action this afternoon at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.
Cubs first-baseman Bryan LaHair (hitting .188 with only one XBH and 11 K in 33 PA in Cactus League games through this past weekend) was assigned to Fitch Park today, and was apparently advised to get as many Plate Appearances as possible in as short a time as possible, because he was inserted into both the Tennessee and Iowa lineups (usually batting 2nd in the inning) at every opportunity. In total, he batted seven times, had three hits (a single, a double, and a triple), grounded out twice, flied out once, and struck out (swinging) in his final AB (he was probably tired). On two occasions he no sooner had scored a run for the I-Cubs on Field #3 than he ran through the gates separating the fields to take an AB for the Smokies on Field #2.
While LaHair was being omnipresent, the other players just confined themselves to playing in one game or the other.
Cubs #1 pitching prospect RHP Trey McNutt got the start for Tennessee, and allowed two runs on three hits (two doubles and single) plus a walk and a HBP in two innings of work. He struggled with his command (51 pitches – only 30 strikes), but he had good velocity and struck out three (two swinging).
22-year old LHP Eric Jokisch (who led all Cubs minor leaguers in wins last season, with 10 combined between Peoria and Tennessee) threw the next two innings, and allowed a run on two hits (a single and a triple) and a walk. He did not rack-up any strikeouts.
One-time Venezuelan bonus baby Larry Suarez (all 6’4 270 of him) was the third Tennessee pitcher to take the hill, and he struggled with his control. The 22-year old right-hander allowed two runs on three hits and two walks, and was pulled out of the game prior to completing his second inning of work.
24-year old Cuban defector RHP Juan Yasser Serrano threw a hitless 9th.
Meanwhile over on Field #3, RHRP Brian Schlitter saw his first game action since 2010, needing only six pitches to get through his one inning. Schlitter missed the 2011 season with an elbow injury that kept him on the 60-day DL for the entire season, a “pre-existing” injury that resulted in two waiver claims being voided, with the Cubs having to refund the waiver payment and pay Schiltter his major league split salary ($417K) while he spent the year at Fitch Park. He was outrighted to AAA after the season. Some of you may remember Schlitter as the PTBNL acquired by the Cubs from the Phillies in exchange for veteran LHRP Scott Eyre in August 2008, and he made his MLB debut (with the Cubs) in August 2010.
RHP Ty’Relle Harris (acquired from Atlanta in 2010 in the Derrek Lee trade) saw his first game action since being seriously injured after being hit by a drunk driver outside a nightclub in Knoxville last June. He appeared to be throwing the ball very well today.
The rest of the pitchers who took the hill at Fitch Park this afternoon were moved up (just for the day) from the Daytona, Peoria, or Boise/Mesa squads, and (generally) it showed. The one exception was Daytona RHRP P. J. Francescon (Cubs 2011 40th round draft pick out of Trevecca Nazarene U), who threw two shutout innings and struck out five. He was really dealin’ today. Francescon put up a 1.20 WHIP with 8/44 BB/K in 38 IP at three stops after signing last Summer, finishing up his pro debut at Hi-A Daytona.
Most of the roster movement at Minor League Camp is downward (as players cut from the MLB squad are sent to Fitch Park, a cascade of other roster moves result as another player gets moved down from the Iowa squad to Tennessee, and then another goes from the Tennessee squad to Daytona, etc), but every now & then someone manages to swim upstream. A performance like Francescon’s today (a Daytona pitcher throwing “light’s out” in a AAA game) could open some eyes and cause one of those reverse movements.
As usual, several of the player assigned to the Boise/Mesa squad served as late-inning replacements. (Boise/Mesa does not play games until it becomes the Cubs Extended Spring Training squad next month).
Here are the abridged box scores from the two games played today at Fitch Park (Cubs players only)
FITCH PARK FIELD #2
NOTE: Bryan LaHair batted 3rd in the 1st inning, and 2nd in the 5th.
X. Bryan LaHair, DH #1: 0-2 (F-7, 3-U)
1a. Zeke DeVoss, 2B: 1-3 (K, K, 1B, SB)
1b. Pierre LePage, 2B: 1-1: (1B, RBI)
2a. Logan Watkins, SS: 0-1 (6-3, BB, BB, SB)
2b. Brad Zapenas, SS: 0-1 (6-4-3 DP)
3a. Matt Cerda, 3B: 0-2 (BB, 4-3, 6-4-3 DP, R)
3b. Jeimer Candelario, 3B: 0-1 (K)
4. Justin Bour, 1B-DH: 1-4 (1B, L-5, 4-3, 3-1, R)
5a. Richard Jones, DH-1B: 0-3 (F-9, F-8, F-7)
5b. Justin Marra, PH: 0-1 (K)
6a. Nelson Perez, RF: 1-1 (BB, 2B)
6b. Dong-Yub Kim, RF: 0-1 (5-3)
7a. John Andreoli, LF: 1-2 (1B, 5-3, RBI)
7b. Delbis Arcila, LF: 0-0 (BB)
8a. Rafael Lopez, C: 1-2 (1B, 5-3, RBI, PO)
8b. Chad Noble, C: 0-1 (K)
9. Taiwan Easterling, CF: 0-1 (K, HBP, HBP, R, 2 SB)
10. Luis Flores, DH #3: 0-3 (K, 3-U, F-9)
1. Trey McNutt: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 51 pitches (30 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
2. Eric Jokisch: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 25 pitches (17 strikes), 3/2 GO/FO
3. Larry Suarez: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 40 pitches (24 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
4. Scott Weismann: 2.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 29 pitches (23 strikes), 4/1 GO/FO
5. Juan Serrano: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 14 pitches (12 strikes), 0/1 O/FO
TENNESSEE ERRORS: 6
1. C Rafael Lopez - E2 (errant throw allowed runner on 1st base to advance to 2nd base)
2. 3B Matt Cerda - E5 (overthrow to 1st base on infield single allowed batter to advance to 2nd base)
3. 3B Jeimer Candelario - E5 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
4. P Scott Weismann - E1 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
5. P Juan Serrano - E1 (errant throw allowed batter to reach base
6. SS Brad Zapenas - E6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
TENNESSEE CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Rafael Lopez: 1-1 CS, 1 E (see above)
FITCH PARK FIELD #3
NOTE: Bryan LaHair batted 2nd in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 6th innings, and he led-off the 3rd inning.
X. Bryan LaHair, DH #1: 3-5 (3B, 4-3, 2B, 1B, K, 2 R, 2 RBI)
1. Nate Samson, 2B: 2-3 (1B, F-7 SF, F-9, 2B, R, 3 RBI)
2. Ty Wright, LF: 2-4 (1B, 1B, K, K, 2 RBI, CS)
3. Jae-Hoon Ha, CF: 1-3 (BB, 3B, 6-3, K, R)
4. Rebel Ridling, DH #2: 1-4 (K, 1B, F-7, K)
5a. Michael Burgess, RF: 0-2 (K, K)
5b. Abner Abreu, RF: 0-1 (K)
6a. Jason Jaramillo, C: 0-2 (F-8, 6-4-3 DP)
6b. Juan Apodaca, C: 0-1 (F-8)
7a. Marquez Smith, 3B: 0-2 (6-3, K)
7b. Jake Opitz, 3B: : 0-1 (F-7)
8a. Jonathon Mota, SS: 1-2 (6-3, 2B)
8b. Carlos Penalver, SS: 1-1 (1B, R, SB)
9. Greg Rohan, 1B: 0-1 (BB, 6-3, BB, 2 R)
10. Leugim Barroso, DH #3: 1-3 (K, 2-3, 1B, R, RBI)
1. Brian Schlitter: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 6 pitches (4 strikes), 0/3 GO/FO
2. Ty’Relle Harris: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 30 pitches (16 strikes), 1/3 GO/FO
3. Bryce Shafer: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 3 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 1 K, 4 WP, 24 pitches (9 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO
4. Eduardo Figueroa: 0.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R (5 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 26 pitches (11 strikes), 0/2 GO/FO
5. P. J. Francescon: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 30 pitches (20 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
6. Ramon Garcia: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 5 R (5 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 25 pitches (13 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
7. Austin Reed: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 19 pitches (8 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
IOWA ERRORS: 2
1. C Jason Jaramillo – E2 (overthrow at 2nd base on stolen base attempt allowed runner to advance to 3rd base)
2. 2B Nate Samson - E4 (errant throw on rundown between 2nd & 3rd allowed runner to score)
DAYTONA CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Jason Jaramillo: 0-1 CS, 1 E (see above)
Juan Apodaca: 0-2 CS
WEATHER: Mostly cloudy, cool, and VERY breezy, with temperatures in the 50’s
One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players.
CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.
Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.
As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?
AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?
Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.
AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.
I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.
But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.
Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.
Jason deGrom -- oh, my.
Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.
Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.
Considering how players reacted it seemed pretty accurate high and wide (to righties), but not so accurate low and in. I thought the strike zone by the ump was awful, but it was consistent and the Cubs never adjusted.
Rizzo and Bryant need to have good at bats. They are really looking outclassed in these two games.
that game sounds fun as hell.
I was just wondering the same thing. I'd rather not see it at all. If it's inaccurate, it's a bad viewer experience. If it's accurate, it shows some shitty calling by the umpire.
TBS' K Zone seems to be more harsh than the others.
I wonder if MLB will ask the networks to stop using them. They just make the umps, and the game, look bad, and it only pisses off the fans.
"Strop vs. Cardinals." Seen the movie. Hated it.
Not all that disappointed -- I didn't think they would beat Lackey in Game 1. Need to get the bats going against the guys with less experience -- and they hit Wacha pretty good.