Angels Can't Even Contain Baez, Much Less Stop Him
Javier Baez drove-in six runs with a two-run HR and a grand slam, Yasiel Balaguert knocked-in four runs with a three-run home run and a sacrifice fly, Dong-Yub Kim drove-in two runs with an RBI single and a solo HR, and Wilson Contreras ripped a two-run double, leading the Cubs to a 14-4 demolition of the Angels in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, AZ.
Both of Baez's home runs were hit 420+ feet over the right-centerfield fence, landing on Field #5 (the "half-field" infield located north of the clubhouse).
Baez now has eight home runs and 26 RBI in 24 EXST games, and he has saved his best work for games against the Angels. In six EXST games (24 AB) versus the Halos, Baez is hitting .468 with two doubles, a triple, five home runs and 16 RBI. Apparently he can do whatever he wants when he faces the Angels.
RHP Jose Arias got the start for the Cubs today and threw four innings (55 pitches), allowing two runs (only one earned) on four hits (all four singles) and a walk, with seven strikeouts. Arias now leads the EXST Cubs pitchers in strikeouts with 26 (in 21.0 IP)
While the Cubs were playing the Angels on Field #3, RHP Marcos Mateo (on the Cubs 60-day DL with a sore elbow), RHP Justin Berg (2011 TJS rehab), LHP Luis Villalba, RHP Loiger Padron, RHP Ramon Garcia (broken hand rehab), and RHP Ethan Elias threw a five-inning “sim” game on Field #2, facing Cubs players who were not in the lineup on Field #3. Mateo looks to be close to returning to full-scale game action, and a healthy Marcos Mateo could possibly help the beleaguered Chicago Cubs bullpen.
RHP Su-MIn Jung --who has been throwing in "sim" games for the past month while trying to resolve major control issues--got into a Cactus League EXST game for the first time since April 18th. Jung got only one out, and allowed two runs on a single, two walks, and two HBP (including one that hit an Angels hitter in the head, knocking him out of the game), before getting pulled out of the game after throwing 24 oitches (only nine strikes).
In EXST roster news, 1B Ryan Durrence has been released. Durrence was signed by the Cubs after the 2011 June draft as a Non-Drafted Free-Agent (NDFA) out of Bethune-Cookman, and he hit 247/314/406 with a team-leading three HR for the AZL Cubs in 2011. But he has struggled this year, hitting just .120 with no XBH in nine EXST games (26 PA). He was also blocked at 1B by Dan Vogelbach, Rock Shoulders, Ryan Cuneo, Paul Hoilman, Justin Bour, and Anthony Rizzo in the Cubs farm system, so he would have had to really light it up at Minor League Camp and Extended Spring Training to get any consideration for advancement.
Veteran LHRP Ryan Rowland-Smith (on the Iowa Cubs DL since April 19th with a sore back) has completed his EXST rehab and has returned to the I-Cubs. He threw in two EXST games (1.2 IP) last week and allowed no runs on one hit and a walk, with three strikeouts.
Also, Peoria Chiefs RF Reggie Golden (Cubs 2010 2nd round draft pick) has undergone season-ending surgery for a torn ACL. He injured his knee while running the bases in a MWL game last month. He will be out of action until Minor League Camp (Spring Training) 2013.
Cubs VP of Player Personnel Oneri Fleita was at the game today.
Here is the box score from today’s game (Cubs players only):
1. Shawon Dunston Jr, CF: 2-4 (K, 4-3, 1B, 1B)
2. Gioskar Amaya, 2B: 1-2 (1B, BB, 6-4 FC, BB, 2 R)
3. Javier Baez, SS: 2-4 (6-4-3 DP, HR, HR, 7-4 FC, 2 R, 6 RBI)
4. Xavier Batista, LF-DH: 0-4 (6-3, F-9, F-7, P-2 DP)
5. Jeimer Candelario, DH-3B: 0-3 (5-3, BB, F-8, F-7, R)
6. Dustin Geiger, 3B-DH: 2-4 (5-3, 1B, 1B, 4-3, 2 R)
7. Dan Vogelbach, 1B: 0-3 (K, HBP, FC, K, R)
8a. Wilson Contreras, C: 2-3 (1B, 2B, 2-3, 2 R, 2 RBI)
8b. Neftali Rosario, C: 0-0 (BB)
9. Yasiel Balaguert, RF: 2-3 (1B, HR, F-8 SF, K, 2 R, 4 RBI)
10a Dong-Yub Kim, DH #2: 2-3 (1B, HR, 5-3, 2 R, 2 RBI)
10b. Trevor Gretzky, LF: 0-1 (F-7)
11a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TWO TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
11b. Brian Inoa, DH #3: 0-1 (K)
1. Jose Arias: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 7 K, 1 GIDP, 55 pitches (36 strikes), 4/1 GO/FO
2. Su-Min Jung: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 2 HBP, 24 pitches (9 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
3. James Pugliese: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 27 pitches (16 strikes), 4/4 GO/FO
4. Roderik Pichardo: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 6 pitches (5 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
5. Pete Levitt: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 15 pitches (10 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
CUBS ERRORS: 1
SS Javier Baez - E-6 (throwing error on run-down between 1st & 2nd allowed runner at 3rd base to score unearned run)
CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
1. Wilson Contreras: 0-1 CS
2. Neftali Rosario: 0-1 CS
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures 100+
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?
Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump
Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.
j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.
felix pena, your turn.