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
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.
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).