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
"Terms of the deal were not disclosed."
Theo inks five year extension
PC tonite at PNC
Not as a major factor, but could be a tie-breaker. But, yeah, on performance and experience, it's Coghlan.
Arrieta’s 2.85 ERA would be good enough to lead 26 other teams. He's 3rd on #Cubs behind Hendricks (1.99) and Lester (2.28)
Meanwhile on the SouthSide
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.