A's Rough Up Cubs Cuban Connection at Papago Park

Rob Whitenack (rehabbing from June 2011 TJS) threw two innings (27 pitches) of shutout ball with three strikeouts, but Cuban southpaws Gerardo Concepcion and Frank del Valle allowed a combined seven runs on 10 hits, five walks, a HBP, and two wild pitches over the next six innings, as the Athletics defeated the Cubs 7-4 in Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #2 (AKA “Connie Mack Field”) at the Papago Sports Complex in Phoenix, AZ.

After throwing three innings of shutout ball and looking like a major league veteran in his EXST debut last Monday versus the Brewers (when he threw 75% strikes and kept the opposing hitters off-balance by effectively mixing-up his pitches), Concepcion showed today what happens when he pitches from behind in the count and has to throw a fastball over the plate.

He had an excellent first inning of work, striking out the side (including the first two hitters on six pitches), but then began to pitch from behind starting with his second inning, eventually allowing six hits (including three wall-banger doubles), and even walking the bases loaded at one point.

Concepcion's strength is throwing strikes (especially "strike one") and then working the hitter, so when he struggles with his command (as he did in his later innings today) he can get nailed, and it isn't pretty.

Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only):

CUBS LINEUP:
1. Shawon Dunston, Jr, CF: 1-4 (1B, 4-6 FC, F-9, L-4, SB)
2. Anthony Giansanti, DH #1: 0-4 (K, K, F-8, P-3)
3. Dan Vogelbach, 1B: 1-3 (BB, K, 2B, 4-3)
4. Jeimer Candelario, 3B-DH: 1-3 (1-3, 2B, 5-3, R)
5. Xavier Batista RF-DH: 1-3 (F-8, 1B, L-3, RBI)
6. Wilson Contreras, DH-C: 1-3 (3-U, 5-4-3 DP, 2B, R)
7. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 2-3 (1B, K, 2B, R)
8. Wilfredo Petit, C-DH: 0-2 (F-7, 6-3, BB)
9. Carlos Penalver, SS: 0-3 (K, 4-3, 5-4 FC, R)
10. Garrett Schlecht, LF: 2-3 (1B, K, 1B, RBI)
11a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
11b. Delbis Arcila, RF: 1-2 (K, 1B, RBI)
12a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
12b. Mark Malave, 3B: 0-2 (6-3, 3-1)

CUBS PITCHERS:
1. Rob Whitenack: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 27 pitches (20 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
2. Gerardo Concepcion: 3.1 IP, 6 H, 5 R (5 ER), 3 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 1 BALK, 69 pitches (41 strikes), 1/4 GO/FO
3. Frank del Valle: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 77 pitches (36 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
4. Roderik Pichardo: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 17 pitches (10 strikes), 0/3 GO/FO

CUBS ERRORS: 2
1. SS Carlos Penalver - E-6 (overthrow to 1st base on infield single allowed batter-runner to advance to 2nd base)
2. C Wilson Contreras - E-2 (errant pick-off attempt at 1st base allowed base-runner to advance to 2nd base)

CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
1. Wilfredo Petit: 0-1 CS
2. Wilson Contreras 0-1 CS, 1 E (see above)

ATTENDANCE: 12

WEATHER: Partly cloudy and VERY breezy with temperatures in the 60’s

Comments

Baez out. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

TIM: I believe today was a pre-scheduled "Camp Day" at Fitch Park for most of the guys who played yesterday (including Javier Baez).

Phil, two questions: (1) any chance you have seen or will get a chance to look out the manual the Cubs are giving each minor league player? (2) I personally don't mind a player like Baez showing what HS/College players around here call 'swag'. Do you think any of these 'incidents' would prevent Baez from moving up to Peoria, or will they just wait until June and send him to Boise?

Sat, 04/14/2012 - 5:47pm — George Altman

Phil, two questions: (1) any chance you have seen or will get a chance to look out the manual the Cubs are giving each minor league player? (2) I personally don't mind a player like Baez showing what HS/College players around here call 'swag'. Do you think any of these 'incidents' would prevent Baez from moving up to Peoria, or will they just wait until June and send him to Boise?

==========================================

GEORGE A: The Cubs are guarding The Cubs' Way like it's a state secret, so I am not expecting to ever see a copy of it (at least until it's made into a feature film).

As for Javier Baez, I think the Cubs have planned all along to have him spend April and May at Extended Spring Training and then go to Boise. If that's the case, I don't know if the plan can be changed, or if it's written in stone, and I don't know how his on-field demeanor might affect the Cubs decision if the plan is subject to change.

The fact that he wasn't removed from the game after yesterday's verbal outburst could be a sign that they intend to let him be Javier Baez, but at the same time I'm sure they don't want him to develop into the next Carlos Zambrano or Milton Bradley, either.

Thanks, Phil. I'm sensing this administration has less urgency to aggressively advance high profile prospects which I'm OK with that.

I wonder if it's simply unique to this year. I don't recall theo or jed as xconservative in their previous stops. This, though, is such a clear rebuilding year.

I'm very intrigued as to what the draft will bring in.

The draft has always been a gold mine for Epstein, because he always ended up with the equivalent of 4 or 5 first round choices, because of the ability to pay large prices to lower round choices, as the Cubs did last year.

But the new labor agreement makes that extremely difficult to do, and Epstein is likely to end up with a draft that is more in line that of the rest of baseball.

That said, the number 8 choice should bring in a really good pitching prospect, and the two extra draft choices should also help a lot.

We draft sixth, but yeah. A large part of Theo's success is that he tends to figure out which hitters will be able to hit off-speed stuff before draft day. The Cubs usually wouldn't find out until their third year in the bigs.

well, b.wilson (SF) throwing 90mph lately makes more sense...torn elbow...fun.

Az Phil:

At the Cubs convention in January they had a "family" session with the Brenlys, the Dunstons and the Lockharts. Although Danny Lockhart seemed pretty quiet and mostly is a 2B prospect, I'm wondering what your thoughts are as to his "prospect" status after seeing him a few times now.

Thanks.

Sun, 04/15/2012 - 6:08am — Cubster

Az Phil:

At the Cubs convention in January they had a "family" session with the Brenlys, the Dunstons and the Lockharts. Although Danny Lockhart seemed pretty quiet and mostly is a 2B prospect, I'm wondering what your thoughts are as to his "prospect" status after seeing him a few times now.

Thanks.

=====================================

CUBSTER: Danny Lockhart is a good defensive infielder with the versatility to play SS-2B-3B, a decent hitter but without much power, runs OK (though not particularly fast) and is a very good baserunner, and he's well-schooled in baseball fundamentals (bunting, situational hitting, turning the DP, etc).

I think he certainly will move up the pipeline, but his ceiling may be as a AAA or MLB utility infielder.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/...

Byrd to Boston rumors pick up due to Ellsbury subluxing his shoulder (early estimate, out 6-8 weeks)

Wittenmeyer also says Sveum is considering using the LaRussa pitcher bats 8th gimmick. Seems doubtful as the Cubs don't even have one real leadoff man let alone two.

and the Cubs are looking for veteran relievers...

‘‘We worked to acquire starting pitching depth over the course of the winter, but we traded out of the bullpen,’’ Hoyer said, ‘‘so replenishing that depth is something we’re going to be looking to do throughout the summer.’’

Maybe they'll have to shop some starters to do so. Or shop your bats, then trade from the rotation when you realize you don't have bats. /fun

The RedSox designated Michael Bowden for assignment. I wonder if Theo & Co. would have an interest in bringing him over.

-michael boden + nate spears....wtf?

no cubs stuff in Cafardo's sunday baseball notes...but he went on a food tangent:

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/...

8. If you can afford a few calories, try the “Moby Dick’’ offered by the Lake County Captains of the Single A Midwest League for 20 bucks. It’s about 4,000 calories of five quarter-pound fish filets, eight slices of cheese, 6 ounces of clam strips, a third of a pound of french fries, and a cup of cole slaw topped with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and, of course, tartar sauce on a 15-inch hoagie roll. At least it’s healthy fish.

From the Bill Chuck files: “The Washington Nationals are offering the ‘StrasBurger’ - an all-beef burger (combination of ground brisket, chuck, and short ribs) served on a large bun with secret sauce, American cheese, shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced red onions, pickle chips, and weighing 8 pounds total.’’

------------
if the Cubs go into that kind of promotion, I'd expect to see the Soto Brownies (instead of the hot chocolate and cookie vendors).

Recent comments

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  • video of Maddon.

    http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561343809737202839-4

    always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.

    Rob G. 9 hours 41 min ago view
  • from Muskat:

    #Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs

    Rob G. 9 hours 46 min ago view
  • http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561339391889382475-4

    Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.

    Rob G. 9 hours 51 min ago view
  • great defense

    Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.

    Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.

    I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.

    Rob G. 10 hours 3 min ago view
  • If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?

    Craig A. 10 hours 14 min ago view
  • #Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.

    Fun with FIP

    • J. Hammel   3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
    • J. Arrieta     2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
    • J. Lester     2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
    • K. Hendricks  2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
    • J. Lackey     3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
    Rob G. 10 hours 40 min ago view
  • zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k

    he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.

    crunch 11 hours 20 min ago view
  • JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.

    My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.

    Jackstraw 12 hours 32 min ago view
  • Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...

    billybucks 12 hours 49 min ago view
  • joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1

    not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.

    really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.

    crunch 12 hours 53 min ago view
  • Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.

    Eric S 13 hours 38 min ago view
  • Classic Scully - great stuff.

    Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)

    Eric S 18 hours 29 min ago view
  • Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:

    "And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."

    VirginiaPhil 19 hours 42 min ago view
  • When the Cubs were the old, hundred-year Cubs, one bad hop did not undo their opponents.

    VirginiaPhil 19 hours 46 min ago view
  • If only he was clutcher. More clutcher.

    Jackstraw 21 hours 4 min ago view
  • cubs win...bryant with 7HR in his last 8 games.

    crunch 1 day 4 hours ago view