Late Dinger the Difference as Brewers Edge Cubs
Chris McFarland led-off the bottom of the 8th with a moon-shot solo home run over the LF fence and onto the roof of a portable classroom at Frank Borman Elementary School, breaking a 1-1 tie and giving his team the lead, as the Brewers scored one in the 7th and one in the 8th to edge the Cubs 2-1 in Opening Day Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #7 (Paul Molitor Field) at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix, AZ.
Milwaukee’s 18th round pick in the 2011 June draft, McFarland received a $315K “overslot” bonus to give up a chance to play college ball at perennial NCAA powerhouse Rice University.
Rehabbing from June 2011 Tommy John Surgery, RHP Rob Whitenack got the start for the Cubs and threw a shutout inning (15 pitches), allowing two hits before getting out of the frame thanks to a timely 6-4-3 DP and a 5-3 GO.
20-year old Cuban defector LHP Gerardo Concepcion followed Whitenack to the mound and threw three shutout innings, showing an advanced feel for pitching to go along with a plus-curve, solid change, and outstanding control (75% strikes).
Although the Cubs scored only one run, they did have a plethora of baserunners during the course of the game. Gioskar Amaya, Jeimer Candelario, and Trey Martin reached base three times a piece (Amaya walked three times, Candelario tripled, singled, and walked, and Martin singled twice and doubled and stole two bases), but some bad baserunning at inopportune moments hurt the Cub cause.
The game was extended an extra three outs so that Felix Pena could get his pre-scheduled inning of work.
Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only):
1. Oliver Zapata, CF: 1-4 (F-8, 1-3, 1B, 3-1, RBI)
2. Gioskar Amaya, 2B: 0-1 (BB, BB, F-9, BB)
3. Jeimer Candelario, 3B: 2-3 (3-U, 1B, 3B, BB)
4. Rock Shoulders, 1B-DH: 0-4 (K, 4-6-3 DP, 1-3, K)
5a. Javier Baez, SS: 1-3 (5-3, 2B, 2-5 FC, SB)
5b. Danny Lockhart, SS: 0-1 (P-5)
6. Dan Vogelbach, DH-1B: 0-4 (P-6, K, 4-3, 6-3)
7a. Trey Martin, RF-DH: 3-3 (1B, 2B, 1B, 2 SB, PO)
7b. Neftali Rosario, PH: 0-1 (K)
8a. Wilson Contreras, C: 0-0 (BB, E2-CI, R)
8b. Jeffrey Baez, RF: 0-2 (5-3, 5-3)
9. Shawon Dunston, Jr, LF: 1-2 (BB, 1B, 1-3)
10. Anthony Giansanti, DH-C: 1-2 (F-8, BB, 3B)
1. Rob Whitenack: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 15 pitches (11 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
2. Gerardo Concepcion: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 36 pitches (27 strikes), 2/5 GO/FO
3. Frank del Valle: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 3 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 62 pitches (35 strikes), 4/0 GO/FO
4. James Pugliese: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 27 pitches (14 strikes)
5. Felix Pena: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 11 pitches (9 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
CUBS ERRORS: 3
1. 2B Gioskar Amaya - E-4 (dropped pop fly allowing batter to reach base safely)
2. 2B Gioskar Amaya - E-4 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely and unearned run to score)
3. P Felix Pena - E-1 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Anthony Giansanti: 3-5 CS
WEATHER: Mostly sunny with temperatures in the 90’s
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?
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
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.
It looked like the baserunner might have screened Russell some though it's still a play he should have made.
I wasn't thrilled with the use of Rondon in that situation. In save situations opponents have a 77 OPS. In non-save situations it's a 116 OPS. We had other relievers for that spot we could have used.
I'm not sure if it's his normal swing but it's obvious he can hit and he's always hit for power just not HRs so if it is his normal swing there's something else going on.
This article from spring training said he was trying to pull the ball a lot more:
Oh, thanks. I guess I should actually look at the schedule. Yay, 3-game road trip!
Good call, indeed. This ought to be a good series.
Sorry to nit-pick -- but the games against the Nats this week are at home.
Can't remember a worse weather-start to a season. Yuck.
Basically Russell booted a slam dunk DP grounder letting a run score. But he drove in the tying run in 9th. Just not their day, Rondon notwithstanding.
Didn't see the game, but it sounded like the Cubs gave away 2 runs with poor fielding. Bummer.
Well, it's been a fun diet of Reds, Brewers and Braves, but now the Cubs have to play real teams in May (Pirates, Nationals, SF, Cards and Dodgers) -- hope we are all still smiling when we wake up on Memorial Day.
He does seem out of synch. His body seems to start forward, then his arms sort of try to catch up -- if that's his normal swing, he will never hit for power. It's an all-arms slasher swing, but the timing seems off.
He is currently slugging .256 -- I realize the weather has been bad, but that's epically bad. Currently 92nd out of 94 qualified NL batters. Yikes.
Weird home stand -- 3-1, with 2 rainouts, vs. two teams that will lose 100 games. Feels oddly disappointing.
Miserable baseball weather all week -- hopefully better weather will get the bats going. Not just walking, but actually hitting.
That strike call on LaSterlla was terrible
I was hearing some talk that John Mallee is trying to change Heyward's swing. Wonder if that is lending itself to the slow start.
at least it wasn't a "nobody showed up" stomping.
anytime you wanna jumpstart your season would be nice, heyward.