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
He'll be fine. He's not some wimpy young pup.
In all seriousness the Cubs have the fewest amount of games played in the NL which means they're gonna be facing quite the grind later on including 24 games in a row at the end of June and beginning of July so I hope he does get a few days off.
Meh. He only got one hit today. Maybe give him a rest?
Good thing the Cubs have five left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties [edit - doesn't seem to faze Bryant!]
ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.
cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/
HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC.
ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels.
M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores) the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating.
E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.
Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).
PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.