Angels Cruise Past Cubs at Fitch Park
Aided by 12 walks, a HBP, a balk, four wild pitches, two passed balls, and two errors, the Angels defeated the Cubs 8-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, AZ.
The Cubs managed only four hits, but one of them was a Dan Vogelbach solo home run that gave the Cubs an early 1-0 lead.
Cubs 2011 1st round draft pick Javier Baez broke a lengthy slump with a 9th inning ground single to left. Prior to the 9th inning hit, Baez had gone 0-20 with ten strikeouts since hitting for the cycle last week versus the Angels in Tempe.
Even with the recent batting skid, Baez is hitting 278/278/750 with three HR, three triples, two doubles, and 12 RBI in ten EXST games (36 PA). He also has no walks and 11 strikeouts (all swinging), two stolen bases (no CS), and he has committed six errors in the field (four throwing, two fielding).
While the Cubs were playing the Angels on Field #3, RHP Su-Min Jung and LHP Brian Smith squared-off in a two-inning "sim" game on Field #2, facing some of the Cub position players who were not in the lineup on Field #3. Both Jung and Smith have had control issues going back to Minor League Camp in March, and so they are being held out of EXST games until they show that they can throw strikes more consistently. (And the way Ryan Hartman and Alvido Jimenez threw the ball today, they might be joining Jung and Smith in the "sim" game plan very soon).
Here is the abridged box score from today’s game (Cubs players only):
1. Trey Martin, CF: 1-4 (K, 1B, 6-3, F-8)
2a. Pierre LePage, 2B-DH: 0-2 (BB, 4-3, K, SB)
2b. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FINAL TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
3. Javier Baez, SS: 1-4 (K, K, 6-3, 1B)
4. Xavier Batista, LF: 0-4 (1-3, 6-3, K, 5-4-3 DP)
5. Dan Vogelbach, DH-1B: 1-2 (HR, K+PB, HBP, R, RBI)
6. Yasiel Balaguert, RF: 0-3 (E-6, K, 4-3)
7. Jeimer Candelario, 3B: 0-3 (F-8, 1-3, K)
8a. Ryan Durrence, 1B: 0-1 (K)
8b. Trevor Gretzky, PH-DH: 0-1 (3-U, BB, R)
9. Gioskar Amaya, DH-2B: 1-3 (K, K, 1B, RBI)
10. Wilson Contreras, C-DH: 0-3 (F-8, K, 6-3)
11a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
11b. Anthony Giansanti, DH-C: 0-2 (F-9, F-9)
1. Carlos Martinez: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 4 BB, 2 K, 2 GIDP, 52 pitches (23 strikes), 4/0 GO/FO
2. Ryan Hartman: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 3 WP, 35 pitches (15 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO
3. Alvido Jimenez: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 4 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 BALK, 37 pitches (19 strikes), 0/2 GO/FO
4. Charles Thomas: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 34 pitches (21 strikes), 3/1 GO/FO
5. Pete Levitt: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 32 pitches (17 strikes), 3/2 GO/FO
CUBS ERRORS: 2
1. C Wilson Contreras - E-2 (errant pick-off attempt at 1st base allowed baserunner to advance to 2nd base)
2. SS Javier Baez - E-6 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely and baserunner to score unearned run)
CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Wilson Contreras: 1-3 CS, 1 PO, 1 E (see above)
Anthony Giansanti: 2 PB
WEATHER: Overcast and breezy with temperatures in the 80’s
listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.
That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.
it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?
sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.
HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).
Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.
I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.
One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players.
CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.
Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.
As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?
AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?
Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.
AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.
I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.
But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.
Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.
Jason deGrom -- oh, my.
Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.
Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.
Considering how players reacted it seemed pretty accurate high and wide (to righties), but not so accurate low and in. I thought the strike zone by the ump was awful, but it was consistent and the Cubs never adjusted.
Rizzo and Bryant need to have good at bats. They are really looking outclassed in these two games.
that game sounds fun as hell.