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+
Chapman shouldn't be reserved anymore on 40 man.
Interesting split on Heyward according to ESPN. As a CF, his slash line .292/.363/.375/.738. At RF: .212/.204/.300/.604. 21/72 as a CF, 58/273 as a RF.
He's also been better when batting 2nd, but he had a nice start in the 6 hole, but has slumped ever since. He was heating up before the All Star break, but is only hitting .108 in the 2nd half.
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.
The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.