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
My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.
Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.
Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.
How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?
Call me lost.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.
O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already.
I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.
I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.
Enjoyable read on David Ross.
Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.
With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined).
BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.
If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).
As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).
I want my baseball team to win by playing better baseball. I don't want umps, fields, or fans to have anything to do with it.