Valbuena & Maysonet Rally White Squad to Victory
Luis Valbuena smacked a two-out two-run HR into the upper bullpen beyond the RF fence in the bottom of the 4th to turn a one run deficit into a one run lead, and then after the Blue Squad pushed across a run to tie the game in the top of the 5th, Edwin Maysonet blasted a three-run HR with two outs in the bottom of the frame to lift the White Squad to a 6-3 victory in a five-inning intrasquad game played this afternoon at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.
Brett Jackson (two singles and a double) and Dave Sappelt (two doubles and a single) had three hits a piece for the Blue Squad.
After rolling out 4-3 twice in yesterday's game, B-Jax showed a really nice stroke in all three of his AB today, driving an opposite-field double into the left-center alley off LHP Brooks Raley leading off the game (before stealing 3rd & scoring on a Darnell McDonald RBI single), ripping a hard ground ball single through the 3.5 hole with two outs in the top of the 2nd (also off Raley), and stroking a line-drive single to right-center off Drew Carpenter with two outs in the 4th. He also made a fine running catch to rob Steve Clevenger of extra bases.
Sappelt hammered a single in the 1st off Raley, and then a double off the right-centerfield fence in the 3rd inning off Shawn Camp. Sappelt also collected a "gift" double leading off the 5th (and later scored the tying run on a Christian Villanueva RBI double) when White Squad CF Matt Szczur lost a routine fly ball in the sun.
Brooks Raley got the start for the White Squad and labored through his two innings of work (55 pitches - only 28 strikes), allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits and a walk. The damage probably would have been a lot worse if not for a timely & nifty Raley pick-off of baserunner Darnell McDonald (froze him like the proverbial "Deer in Headlights") at 1st base after McDonald drove-home Brett Jackson with the game's first run in the top of the 1st.
Alberto Cabrera started for the Blue Squad and had an outing worthy of Carlos Marmol, walking four while striking out three in two innings. Cabrera racked up a lot of strikeouts but struggled with his command while pitching in the Dominican Winter League post-2012, too (13/20 BB/K in 14.1 IP), so today's performance was probably not an aberration. Like Marmol, Cabrera has nasty stuff and is sometimes virtually unhittable, but he has had a lot of trouble finding the strike zone lately.
Japanese RHP Kyuji Fujikawa made his U. S. (and Cub) game debut today, throwing a scoreless inning. He obviously has an effective splitter, and had several of the White Squad hitters flailing away at it.
The two late long-balls were surrendered by Michael Bowden (the Luis Valbuena two-run bomb in the 4th) and Blake Parker (the game-winning Edwin Maysonet three-run dinger in the 5th). Parker allowed two hits and threw a wild pitch to put runners at 2nd & 3rd with no outs, but looked like he might get out of the jam when he struck out Johermyn Chavez (looking) and Junior Lake (swinging). But then Maysonet drilled his game-winning shot over the LF fence to give the White Squad the victory.
Johermyn Chavez has had an inauspicious debut in a Cub uniform (he was signed as a Six-Year Minor League FA post-2012 after spending seven seasons in the Seattle organization). Besides being the last player to arrive in Camp (not the best way to make a good first impression), Chavez (playing RF) kicked & threw the ball around in the top of the second in today's game, making two careless errors on the same play (one fielding & one throwing). And while he did draw walks in his first two AB, he also swung at a pitch in the dirt (Parker's WP) and then struck out (looking) with no outs and the potential winning run at 3rd base in the bottom of the 5th (the pre-planned final inning of the game).
Chavez was a Mariner Top 10 Prospect just a couple of years ago, but after struggling at AA in 2011 and 2012 (hitting just 222/322/369 in 201 AA games), he was outrighted off the Seattle 40-man roster and became a Rule 55 minor league free-agent (6YFA), signing with the Cubs last November.
Here is the unofficial box score from today‘s game:
BLUE SQUAD LINEUP:
1. Brett Jackson, CF: 3-3 (2B, 1B, 1B, R, SB)
2. Darnell McDonald, LF: 2-3 (1B, L-8, 1B, RBI, PO)
3. Rafael Lopez, C: 0-2 (BB, L-3, K)
4. Dave Sappelt, DH: 3-3 (1B, 2B, 2B, R)
5. Brian Bogusevic, RF: 0-3 (K, 4-3, 6-3)
6. Christian Villanueva, 3B: 1-2 (6-4 FC, BB, 2B, RBI)
7. Alberto Gonzalez, 2B: 0-3 (6-3, 5-3, 6-3)
8. Brad Nelson, 1B: 0-3 (4-3, F-8, 3-U)
9. Javier Baez, SS: 1-2 (1B, 5-3, R)
WHITE SQUAD LINEUP:
1. Logan Watkins, 2B: 0-3 (K, K, 4-3)
2. Matt Szczur, CF: 1-2 (BB, 6-3, 1B, R, CS)
3. Steve Clevenger, C: 1-3 (F-8, F-8, 1B, R)
4. Johermyn Chavez, RF: 0-1 (BB, BB, K, R)
5. Junior Lake, 3B: 0-2 (BB, P-3, K)
6. Edwin Maysonet, SS: 1-3 (K, P-4, HR, R, 3 RBI)
7. Brent Lillibridge, 1B: 1-2 (2B, BB, 6-3, R, RBI)
8. Jorge Soler, LF: 0-1 (BB, F-7)
9. Luis Valbuena, DH: 1-2 (P-2, HR, R, 2 RBI)
BLUE SQUAD PITCHERS
1. Alberto Cabrera: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 4 BB, 3 K, 37 pitches (13 strikes), 0/2 GO/FO
2. Kyuji Fujikawa: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 22 pitches (13 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
3. Michael Bowden: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HR, 17 pitches (11 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
4. Blake Parker: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 1 WP, 22 pitches (17 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
WHITE SQUAD PITCHERS
1. Brooks Raley: 2.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 PO, 55 pitches (28 strikes), 3/1 GO/FO
2. Shawn Camp: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 16 pitches (7 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
3. Drew Carpenter: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 14 pitches (8 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
4. Jensen Lewis: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 19 pitches (13 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
BLUE SQUAD ERRORS: NONE
WHITE SQUAD ERRORS: 2
1. RF Johermyn Chavez - E-9 - fielding error on a ground single to RF allowed batter to advance an extra base
2. RF Johermyn Chavez - E-9 - throwing error allowed one runner to score unearned run from 3rd base and another to advance from 2nd to 3rd
BLUE SQUAD CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Rafael Lopez: 1-1 CS
WHITE SQUAD CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Steve Clevenger: 0-1 CS
WEATHER: Sunny & cool with temperatures in the low 60's
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
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