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

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)

Anthony Giansanti: 3-5 CS


WEATHER: Mostly sunny with temperatures in the 90’s


Attendance: THAT'S more like it, lulz.......

Sure didn't take Ozzie long to piss off the locals...

AZ, you didn't say much about Concepcion, but from what I read between the lines ("advanced feel for pitching", etc.) it sounds like you were impressed. I do remember reading Hoyer saying something about his control being outstanding.

Can't wait to see Soler and Concepcion together on our team.

What would Castro think of that?!

ask Ozzie?


Little worried abut Cubs actually landing Soler . . . Cespedes is crushing the ball out of the gate in Oakland and Concepcion looking good. Wonder if the bidding will get ugly for Soler?

I am sure Starlin is always excited to have good talent in the system :)

woo...night game @wrigley on ESPN.

wind blowing out a about a zillion mph.

it's relentless...should make for some interesting hits and defense tonight.

mix of boos and cheers for aram...mostly cheers...but there's only like 10-15K people in the park...lot of people still streaming in.

Barney Power!

LaHair Power!

Top 1st: Seattle
- C. Figgins walked
- D. Ackley struck out swinging
- I. Suzuki singled to shallow left, C. Figgins to second
- J. Smoak singled to right, C. Figgins to third, I. Suzuki to second
- K. Seager singled to center, C. Figgins and I. Suzuki scored, J. Smoak to third
- K. Seager to second on wild pitch
- M. Saunders walked
- M. Olivo singled to shallow right, J. Smoak scored, K. Seager to third, M. Saunders to second
- M. Kawasaki walked, K. Seager scored, M. Saunders to third, M. Olivo to second
- B. Ryan struck out swinging
- C. Figgins grounded out to third

ew darvish. welcome to the big show, dude.

that dejesus attempted steal was f'n awful. what the hell made him take off from 1st after the catcher had the ball in his glove? that was little league looking as hell.

It was a delayed steal and caught the middle infielders out of place. If the throw was 12 inches in either direction he is safe.

Nyjer Morgan lost the ball in the sky lead inning to a Soto triple, couldn't have happened to a better person.

Sean Camp beat out who for the last bullpen spot?

Dunno, but he beat out Gaub for a spot on the 40-man. Seems like Coleman could do everything that Camp can do.

I think that they still think Coleman is more valuable as a starter.

Can we all just agree that Bobby V. is just hating life right now?

I-Cubs with a 9-2 lead over the Isotopes in the 5th.

Rizzo with another HR (2 run). Travis Wood (whoa) also has a 2 run HR.

Rizzo, Cardenas (double, triple) and Vitters with 2 hit nights

Rizzo now 3-3, just hit his second HR of the night (3rd for the season)

The Lendy Castillo experience is exciting, if nothing else.

I-Cubs more exciting than C-Cubs, #shawfacts

This is not news.

Several of us have already mentioned this before #shawfacts.

Real Cubs are gonna be pretty cool this year. Just watch!

The Real Cubs will be cool when they make some midseason trades and inject some of the I-Cubs onto the roster.

Someone please notify Castro that you don't have the luxury to guess with bases loaded, bottom of the ninth, 2 out, 0-2 count and down 2. Jesus. Especially if you are not guessing fastball and frickin swinging.

He wasn't quite ready for that situation. He was swinging at everything, even more than usual.

I do like what Ian Stewart is doing at the plate and in the field. Barney might be a starting 2B. Our starters look decent if anything.



Thank you for your insight Capt. Obvious.


He looked pretty off to me tonight, especially in that final PA. He didn't look comfortable in general.

Yeah Castro was way off tonight. The one at bat he swung at strike two 6" off the plate, and swung next pitch 12" off plate in same spot. Like teasing a puppy ...

Hey AZ Phil, I'm curious if you've seen/ heard what's going on with Ramon Garcia, Roderik Pichardo, and Charles Thomas? Also, have you seen anything of a couple guys from last year's draft, like Levitt, Urban, Dickson, Maltos-Garcia (how's his rehab going?), Elias, Marra, and Tayler Scott?

Thanks as always

Volstad reminds me a bit of Matt Clement.

Stewart managed an opposite field double tonight.

Camp's stuff reminds me of Casey Coleman's.

Why would you pinch run Samardzija the day after he pitches 8 2/3, early in the season, in a year the Cubs are unlikely to contend? I understand he's fast and all, but that seems like an unnecessary risk. Don't most baseball injuries happen on the mound or on the base paths?

He was the potential winning run. I don't think that pinch running is a particularly dangerous activity. I doubt that it is as dangerous as Dempster riding his bike to the park.

Mon, 04/09/2012 - 9:01pm — Koyies Bansaw

Hey AZ Phil, I'm curious if you've seen/ heard what's going on with Ramon Garcia, Roderik Pichardo, and Charles Thomas? Also, have you seen anything of a couple guys from last year's draft, like Levitt, Urban, Dickson, Maltos-Garcia (how's his rehab going?), Elias, Marra, and Tayler Scott?


K-BANSAW: Charles Thomas, Ramon Garcia, Roderik Pichardo, Pete Levitt, Ian Dickson, Ethan Elias, and Tayler Scott are all presently active at Extended Spring Training.

C. Thomas got demoted from the Peoria squad right at the end of Minor League Camp because he had difficulty throwing his 98 MPH fastball for strikes, but he looked very good when he threw in one of the Fitch Park intrasquad games last week. He could be back with Peoria sooner rather than later.

R. Garcia pitched well enough in Minor League Camp where he maybe could have made the Peoria Opening Day roster, but he got caught in the end-of-camp numbers game.

After signing with the Cubs in June, Ethan Elias spent the balance of the 2011 season on the AZL Cubs DL, and he also missed AZ Instructs and was restricted to limited activity the first half of Minor League Camp, too. He is active now, but I don't know why he was not active earlier.

Austin Urban hasn't thrown in a game (including AZL, Instructs, Minor League Camp, and EXST) since the Cubs signed him. He is in the Rehab Group at Fitch Park, and he was restricted to limited activity throughout Minor League Camp, too. I don't know if he had surgery or some kind of lingering soreness someplace, but he has been basically inactive for at least nine months.

Arturo Maltos-Garcia had TJS last June (at about the exact same time as Rob Whitenack) but he didn't throw in Minor League Camp, so his rehab is going much slower than Whitenack's (who threw another 15 pitches in the bullpen after his one inning/15 pitch stint this morning, BTW).

Justin Marra was active the first half of Minor League Camp and was playing in Cactus League Minor League games, but he is now out with an injury that precludes him from running and/or hitting but not catching. I don't know when he will be back active.

BTW, 1B Ryan Cuneo (who had an outstanding Minor League Camp with the Daytona squad before getting moved down to the Boise/Mesa squad with back issues) just got moved up to Peoria from Extended Spring Training (his ST performance literally saved him from getting released), and RHP Joe Zeller just got promoted to Tennessee from Extended Spring Training.

Getting bumped from EXST to AA might seem a bit much, but Zeller throws a knuckleball, and he can be downright mystifying to hitters (at any level) at times. And then other times he gets whacked. I doubt that Zeller will go back down. Either he makes it at Tennessee, or he gets released.

Thanks again, Phil, you're the best.

I'm happy to hear about Cuneo's promotion, I've always been a fan of his. I prefer him to Richard Jones, for sure.

"Guillen's remarks, which were offensive to an important part of the Miami community and others throughout the world, have no place in our game," said Selig, who, with Orioles owner Peter Angelos, sat with Castro when Baltimore played an exhibition game in Cuba in 1999.


just got arrested for brawling with police... did anyone else think that Guerrero was still playing baseball?? I sure did!

I would like to get some thoughts on Baez being in extended spring training. I thought for sure he would be in Peoria. I know he is a year out of high school, but I believe Corey Patterson went straight to low A and had a really good year, probably the only really good year he had. Is this a sign that they are taking it slow with the prospects?

Two answers.

The Bonus Babies are being shown "The Cubs Way".

Specific things must be shown (player specific) before a promotion is earned. When Baez shows what he's supposed to, he will get a bump. Be that Boise or Peoria.

they have to become level 20 paladins before they can advance to A ball...level 52 mages before they can get to AA.

hell, they can only use a standard 6-sized dice rather than a 10-sided dice until they get out of rookie ball

Very well played.

Must use cursed bats of infield pops until leaving Extended Spring Training.

if you use julio zueleta in your team you can find the uncursed boomstick using a fruit tonic potion. it's very effective.

RF DeJesus
2B Barney
SS Castro
LF Soriano
3B Stewart
1B LaHair
C Soto
CF Byrd
P Dempster

Recent comments

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  • Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.

  • Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.

    Think Baby Maddux.

    Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.

    Kyle is on the far left.

  • I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.

  • Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.

  • That was good!

  • Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.

  • 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.

  • Unbeleivable Dodgers:
    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:

    Some "Highlights"
    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.