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
Good thing the Cubs have five left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties [edit - doesn't seem to faze Bryant!]
ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.
cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/
HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC.
ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels.
M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores) the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating.
E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.
Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).
PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.
a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...
it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.