Cubs Bats Stay Hot in Arizona Heat
Shawon Dunston Jr ripped an RBI single and a three-run inside-the-park HR and Lendy Castillo threw three innings of shutout ball, leading the AZL Cubs to an 11-8 victory over the AZL Athletics in Arizona League action tonight at Field #2 (Connie Mack Field) at the Papago Park Sports Complex in Phoenix, AZ.
Dunston was mired in 2-20 slump before slicing an RBI single to left to drive-in Jacob Rogers from 3rd base with one out in the top of the 4th, and then he ripped a line-drive to CF in the top of the 6th that bounced past A's CF B. J. Boyd (who made an ill-advised dive trying to catch the liner) and rolled all the way to the CF fence, allowing Dunston to score behind Justin Marra and Garrett Schlecht with the inside-the-park job.
In addition to Dunston's contributions, Danny Lockhart tripled, singled, and walked, and scored three runs, Jacob Rogers doubled twice (one of which knocked-in two runs) and walked, and Dan Vogelbach walked three times, scored a run, and collected an RBI (one of his walks was with the bases-loaded).
RHP Lendy Castillo (on the Cubs 15-day DL since May 12th with a groin injury) made his second AZL rehab start and looked very good, allowing two hits (a single and a double) and no walks while striking out four in his three innings of work (35 pitches - 26 strikes, and a 3/1 GO/FO). He finished strong, striking out the side in the bottom of the 3rd. He is probably close to being ready to move up to a higher level (probably to Daytona).
AZL sensation Tim Saunders (Cubs 2012 32nd round draft pick out of Marietta College) pumped out a couple more hits tonight (he is now hitting a league-leading .493), and he got another start in CF, as it appears that the Cubs are tracking the 22-year old as an INF-OF super-sub. (He has already started games at 2B, SS, 3B, and CF in his short pro career).
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of there money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already.
I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.
I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.
Enjoyable read on David Ross.
Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.
With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined).
BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.
If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).
As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).
I want my baseball team to win by playing better baseball. I don't want umps, fields, or fans to have anything to do with it.
Just with the chanting thing it worked to rattle Cueto last year where he dropped a ball and gave up a HR next pitch so you can't really hate on the fans for trying it again in this important of a game.
I felt the same way, too, but...
I was very disappointed with Pittsburgh fans. At Wrigley a few weeks ago, they were very obnoxious guests, the cockiness on Twitter, and what's the deal with chanting Arrieta's name during the game? Very bush league. Add that up with Rodriguez's poor sportsmanship and you quickly have a team that you don't mind beating 4-0 in a do or die game.
Absolutely-It was tense. And when the Pirates couldn't push any runs across, you could see the frustration boil over.
I meant December.