Villanueva & Sappelt Go Deep at HoHoKam

Christian Villanueva and Dave Sappelt drilled solo home runs to lead the Cubs to a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies this afternoon in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.



box score


Jhoulys Chacin and Edwin Jackson were the starting pitchers, and both threw two innings of shutout ball. Chacin retired all six men he faced, while Jackson (making his Cub debut) allowed back-to-back two-out singles in the top of the 1st inning. Jackson really had his sinker working today (5/1 GO/FO), and after struggling a bit with his control in the 1st (although he did not issue any walks), he got into a groove and fired 12 out of 14 pitches for strikes in the 2nd (30 total pitches over the two innings - 21 strikes).


After the first eight Cubs hitters were retired, Christian Villanueva took Jorge de la Rosa deep with a towering home run over the LF fence and onto to the berm just to the right of the scoreboard. The Cubs added another run off de la Rosa in the 4th as Starlin Castro ripped a lead-off double into the left-center alley, advanced to 3rd on an Anthony Rizzo 4-3 GO, before scoring on a Brett Jackson sacrifice fly (on a two strike pitch against a LHP). Including an intrasquad game last week, B-Jax has struck out only once in four games (8 PA).  


The Rockies plated a run off Drew Carpenter in the 4th (Carlos Gonzalez singled, stole 2nd, and scored on a Ben Paulsen RBI single), but the Cubs responded in the 6th when Dave Sappelt slugged a HR over the fence and to the base of the scoreboard in left off Edgmer Escalona to give the Cubs a 3-1 lead. 


Chris Rusin followed Carpenter and threw two impressive & efficient shutout innings (30 pitches - 22 strikes), allowing a single in one inning and a double in the other, while inducing five ground outs. Rusin recorded another out when he showed a nifty pick-off move and caught Tyler Colvin leaning the wrong way off 1st base.   


Ex-Rockie Zach Putnam threw a 1-2-3 7th (P-4, 1-3, F-9) at his former teammates, but Nick Struck gave up a lead-off triple to ex-Cub D. J. LeMahieu in the 8th, and LeMahieu scored on a sacrifice fly as the Rockies closed to the score to 3-2.


The Cubs added an insurance run in the 8th, as Brad Nelson, Welington Castillo, and Matt Szczur drew consecutive two-out walks off Adam Ottovino following a Dave Sappelt one-out single. Struck then recovered to throw a rocking-chair 1-2-3 9th (P-4, F-9, K-looking) to record the save.


Another sparse crowd at HoHoKam today (just over 4,000). The ticket scalpers working Center Street are on suicide watch. 


 

Comments

Very encouraged by BJax and now EJax too. Thanks for the great coverage APhil!

AZ Phil: I haven't heard much about Johermyn Chavez but he seems to be getting some playing time this early spring. All I recall is he was a throw in in the Brandon League for Brandon Morrow trade in 2009. Can you give us some insight as to where he fits in the organizational scheme? Is he still somewhat of a prospect or just filler (which is what it seems)?

CUBSTER: I have mentioned Johermyn Chavez a couple of times so far, mostly negative.


He was the last player to report to camp, he made two errors on one play (one fielding & one throwing) in one of the intrasquad games. and he struck out (looking) after swinging at what should have been "ball four" in the dirt (it ended up being a wild pitch) with no outs and the potential wnning run at 3rd in the last inning of the second intrasquad game. One the positive side, he absolutely crushed a line-drive double to the LF fence on Sunday that almost took Cole Gillespie's face off. 


Chavez reminds me a lot of Nelson Perez, sort of the proverbial Bull in a China Shop. He has plus-power, an above average arm, he takes a lot of walks, and he has the physique of a body-builder, He also is a lousy hitter (discounting the power) and streuggles to recognize and hit breaking balls, he's a lumbering & erratic baserunner, and he's a below-average fielder who has difficulty tracking fly balls. 


If I didn't know better i would say he has never played baseball before, but he was actually rated one of the Seattle Mariners Top 10 Prospects (#7) by Baseball America post-2010. 


It's unusual to find a Six-Year Minor League Free-Agent (a guy who has spent the previous seven seasons playing in the minor leagues--including the last two seasons drowning in AA) who is this raw.  


Unlike guys like Brad Nelson, Brian Bogusevic, Alberto Gonzalez, et al, I wouldn't describe Chavez as "filler." He's more of a prospect than he is 4-A, but he is also probably down to his last chance this season, and I'm not so sure he realizes that. Spending a third season in AA wouldn't be a good thing for his career. He needs to play well in Spring Traning (or at least at Minor League Camp after he gets cut) and make the Iowa roster.  

"Injured pitcher Matt Garza is scheduled to begin throwing again on Thursday but must first be cleared by the Chicago Cubs medical staff before he can get back to work."

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/id/151...

re: Garza...

"He has gone through all the lower body (tests) and that went really well," Sveum said. "Today it will be more upper body (tests) and we will see how he responds to that. He is getting really close."

Sounds like they will use a doctor fluent in Hockey/NHL speak to clear him.

aaron harang fail...cubs taking an early 1st inning lead, 4-1.

through the lineup 1-9 in the 1st to get 3 outs.

b.raley + t.mcnutt combining for a top 2nd mess...dodgers lead 5-4.

...add j.chapman to the "today's suck" list...dodgers lead 8-4, top 3.

8-7 after 4...shaping up to be a long game.

Theo admits Colvin trade was a mistake

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-02-26/spor...

Apparently trading for Rizzo, a former Red Sox draft pick, represented one of two things every new executive does after taking over a team.

"Typically, they make a pretty good trade with a player they're familiar with (Rizzo) and, two, they'll screw up a trade because they won't have the first-hand knowledge you need with some players in their own organization,'' Epstein said. "We definitely did that.''

The rare mistake Epstein admitted came in December 2011 when the Cubs traded outfielder Tyler Colvin and infielder D.J. LeMahieu to the Rockies. Another happened when the Cubs left Ryan Flaherty unprotected in the Rule 5 draft and the Orioles signed the second baseman, who started in the playoffs.

and a handful on the Internet feel validated....nice bone for Theo to throw them.

t.wood/sappelt/torreyes have a bit to prove, themselves. torreyes is still years away from even being able to make a judgement call, though.

CIN looks to have quite a deal on marshall's quality returned for 4/$19.6m

That's not entirely fair, because they paid fair market value, even if they did have the exclusive negotiating window.

if that's fair market value then they should have kept marshall, imo.

it's not like he's old or only effective vs lefties or something.

cubs just gave k.fujikawa 2/$9.5m (possible 3/$15m if option vests) and he's never thrown a pitch vs MLB batters.

i don't hate the k.fuji signing...but if the target is high end relievers who can throw to R+L on the cheap, marshall fit the bill.

Present value v Future value was the name of the trade. It was probably a very fair trade between a rebuild team and a win-now team.

As for the extension, if Marshall remains as effective for the next 3 years as he had been for the last 3, then it's a steal. If he exhibits some decline at the end or misses a year due to injury, then it's fair value. That's the result of the negotiating window they bought.

The extension was actually $5.5M a year for 3 years beginning in 2013. Ages 30-32. So yes, I think that's actually just about right. It's hard to imagine him crushing that number on the free market this last winter.

given what wood/sapplett were going into the trade they must think a lot of torreyes, then.

torr is still way too young to know what he's capable of...hope he becomes something.

I would prefer cash.

Great comeback! Too bad you have to scroll way up to see the comments it responds to. AZ Phil was on top of this issue from the beginning.

Castro leaves game, after pulling up lame on ground out

"left hamstring tightness"

taka gives up the 1st cubs pitcher HR of the spring...last team left without a pitcher giving up a HR this spring.

top 7, 11-7 lad/chc

The Matheny article quotes the STL manager saying, "it's a tag play. Nobody would run over the third baseman. Why is it different?"
Because you don't score at third base, dipshit

Because you don't score at third base, dipshit

you and your details...

What about breaking up double plays?

"Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Wednesday that Luis Valbuena is a candidate to hit leadoff some against left-handed pitching."

okay, then.

"[He's a possibility] because he gives you great at-bats, he sees a lot of pitches, he can score first with a home run once in a while, he drives the ball," Sveum said. "He's got all the things you want in a leadoff hitter."

.196/.303/.321 vs lefties last year in case anyone's wondering...though, career he's .247/.326/.399

Jeebus...is Sveum going to pull off his mask...and it's really Dusty Baker? Valbuena hitting lead off...awesome.

if it was really dusty this comment/quote would have pushed this thread to 100 replies by now.

it's an odd one to me...performance issues + giving the leadoff slot to a lefty vs lefties...kinda odd. the only part that makes total sense is keeping dejesus away from lefties as much as possible. you'd think that s.harriston's name would be thrown around for the leadoff slot vs lefties, but it seems like quade's not ready to commit to him as a starter vs lefties.

it's a shame d.barney is such a see-ball-swing hacker that he doesn't even get a substantial R/L split.

overall, it's just talk for now...but this could cost the cubs a shot at the post-season. hahahahaha...sigh...sigh...

"quade's not ready to commit to him as a starter vs lefties."

Careful, you seem to be having an acid flashback there.

lulz...quade, sveum, dusty, charlie grimm, cap anson...same thing...or not...mostly or not.

Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • I think while I get you're saying with moving around a lot of baseball is very rhythm based and for many players moving around a lot could disrupt that. It's the same reason many players aren't cut out for phing or dhing since they need to be in the rhythm of the game to hit.

    Of course then you have players like LaStella who are terrible as starters and should only PH. Really hope Madden doesn't get enthralled with him starting too much.

  • KKVG: Among the players at Extended Spring Training, Isaac Paredes is the most-impressive position-player from the Cubs 2015-16 IFA class (I'm not including OF Eddy Julio Martinez, because he skipped EXST and began the season at South Bend). Paredes has legit game power and handles himself well at SS, although I think he will likely eventually end-up at 2B or 3B (maybe not this year, but down-the-line). It is possible that Paredes will get assigned to Eugene (and skip AZL) next month, and I would say he's the only one of the Cubs 2015-16 IFA position players who could.

  • Having been a mediocre HS player, I would think at a professional level - and in their 20's - doesn't it sound actually FUN to have a chance to play different positions in a 162-Game, uber-long season?

    It has to take some of the monotony out of the job and keep you on your toes.

    In fact, the best manufacturing floor job satisfaction training theories include job rotation as a way to improve employee satisfaction.

    I hope Maddon can keep it going.

  • (It's usually KK, because his DNA is more like ours.)

  • Not just Maddon, but the organization as a whole. If the rumors are to be believed, they did a good job of letting Baez learn that he needed to change his approach, and Baez has done a good job listening to their instructions an adapting. Hopefully the same is true of Alomar, who is ripping up AAA.

    Previous management teams haven't been as good at this (e.g. Corey Patterson).

  • Man, this team makes you greedy. Going into Pittsburgh -- with Cole vs. Hammel Game 1 -- I was hoping for 2 out of 3. After winning the first 2 games 14-3, I now want a sweep. Same thing happened in STL. Very, very fun.

  • Repeating myself, but I give Maddon a lot of credit for Baez's success. Instead of talking about monster HRs and high K totals, he has talked up his defense, versatility and being a "special" player. The kid seems to have responded.

  • BOB: The attendance has taken a big hit since you left. 

  • K-DUB: I think the Cubs might consider skipping Dylan Cease past South Bend and starting him at Myrtle Beach next season, especially if he gets some time at South Bend this season and pitches well there. As a southern kid with TJS history, pitching at Myrtle Beach in April is probably a lot more attractive than pitching in South Bend, but Cease can't go to Myrtle Beach if he isn't ready for Hi-A. 

  • His story makes him someone I completely root for to succeed but it's interesting that he's not succeeding in the way anyone thought when he was just a prospect. Great defense and contact instead of power. I think failing so glaringly and getting sent back down might have been the best thing for him and his ego.

    He still swings at too many balls out of the strike zone but he's making a lot more contact on them which I think is helped by the less violent swing. So we might not get all the HRs we were expecting but I'll gladly take what he's giving.

  • "KingKongVsGodzilla"? So - was there a winner?

  • Baez is looking like a pretty special player.

  • Hey AZPhil,

    Love checking TCR for your writeups. Quick question - any of these 2015 positional IFAs stand out to you yet? I'm most specifically referring to Kwon, Sierra, Paredes, and Amaya, but I know there's a couple other guys from that class in EXST as well.

  • bored...looking at stats for the hell of it...

    felix pena (26yo) moving to the pen in AAA is looking like an insanely good fit so far in a smallish sample size

    13ip 4h 3bb 20K

    remembering back to spring training he was regularly hitting mid-90s (though he didn't have a good spring stats-wise). as a starter in the minors he usually worked low-90s.

    this could be an arm worth keeping an eye on even if he's only a 1-inning guy who was "demoted" to the pen to start the year.

  • Phil, historically this front office has been patient with their prep pitchers keeping their IP low and moving them one level at a time. I know I'm getting ahead of myself, and you may not be able to formulate an opinion on this, but you've seen a lot of pitchers over the years, so...

  • nice.

    also, after tonight's loss, STL is 13-14.

    also also, the wsox are 19-8.