Trey Doubles the Fun at HoHoKam Park
Trey Martin doubled twice, the second one a laser-shot off the RF fence that drove-in the go-ahead run and capped a four-run 7th, as the AZL Cubs rallied to edge the AZL Indians 6-5 in Arizona League action this evening at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.
In addition to Martin's heroics, 1B Jacob Rogers (2012 40th round draft pick out of Mt Olive College) pulled two hard-hit ground RBI singles into the 3.5 hole, one in the 2nd and one in the 7th, to the aid the Cubs offense. (Rogers was 6th in NCAA Division II in HR in 2012).
And DH Dan Vogelbach belted his 4th double in three AZL games--a line shot down the RF line--and then came around to score the Cubs first run of the evening on Rogers' first RBI single.
Vogelbach's approach at the plate was way out of kilter at Extended Spring Training (189/306/379 in 111 PA) and he displayed a lot of visible frustration with how things were going (not to mention the ten errors at 1st base), but it looks like he's got the old Vogelbomb swing back now. Hopefully it's just matter of time before he starts depositing baseballs over the fence.
RHP David Cales (2011 shoulder surgery rehab) saw his first game action in over a year (not including a couple of Extended Spring Training "sim" games and an intrasquad game), and he did not look good. He allowed a run on two hits (a lead-off double and an RBI single) and two walks in just 2/3 of an inning (26 pitches), and he kept pinwheeling his arm like he couldn't get it loose. That's never a good sign for a guy coming back from a shoulder injury.
Another rehab hurler had a different problem, as veteran RHP Shane Lindsay (sent down from AAA Iowa to iron-out some "mechanical issues") continually fell behind in the count over the course of his 2.1 IP. The Australian fireballer did throw shutout ball (allowing a single and two walks) and got lots of swings & misses at his extreme heat, but he also needed 49 pitches (only 25 strikes) to get his seven outs. He threw seven consecutive balls when he entered the game with one out and a runner at 1st in the top of the 3rd, and then he threw seven consecutive balls again to open the 4th.
20-year old RHP Jin Young Kim threw two no-hit innings for the save, as the one-time Korean bonus baby ($850K signing bonus in 2010) is apparently being tracked into the closer role in Mesa. One unearned run did score off Kim, but that was thanks to a two-base error that put a Tribe runner on 2nd base with no outs in the top of the 9th (with the runner eventually scoring after a couple of 6-3 ground outs).
RHP Tony York (2012 NDFA - UCSD) made his pro debut tonight and threw a 1-2-3 12-pitch 6th. York was UCSD's closer in 2012, and indeed he does look like your typical RH college reliever (warms-up quickly, works fast, throws strikes).
RF Bijan Rademacher (Cubs 2012 13th round draft pick out of Orange Coast CC) also made his pro debut in tonight's game, and went 1-4 with a double and a run scored. He has a nice line-drive stroke and sprays the ball all over the yard. He looks like he might be a decent hitter (although HR power is always preferred in a corner OF), and he displayed a plus-arm in RF.
Rademacher was recruited by perennial D-1 baseball powerhouse Cal State - Fullerton out of HS and spent his freshman year there, before transferring to Orange Coast CC. He was set to transfer to Oral Roberts University if he hadn't signed with Cubs.
Apparently the Yankees had the choice of either Gleyber Torres or Eloy Jimenez in the Chapman deal, and they chose Torres.
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.