Pitchers Labor and Castro Hurt in Cub Loss
Elian Herrera singled twice, doubled, scored two runs, and drove-in another, and Alfredo Amezaga singled three times and drove-in two runs, leading the Dodgers to an 11-7 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League action this afternoon at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.
Nate Schierholtz and Darwin Barney had two hits a piece, and combined to drive-in three of the Cubs runs.
LHP Brooks Raley got the start for the Cubs and worked a 30-pitch 1st inning where the Dodgers loaded the bases on two singles and a walk before Raley uncorked a wild pitch that allowed the Dodgers to take a 1-0 lead.
The Cubs responded with a four-run 1st off Dodgers starter Aaron Harang.
Luis Valbuena (batting lead-off) cranked a line-drive double into the RF corner, and Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo followed with singles as the Cubs tied the game. Nate Schierholtz put the Cubs ahead with a sharply hit ground RBI single into RF to score Castro, and after Welington Castillo worked a walk to load the bases, Darwin Barney lined a two-strike two-out two-run RBI single to center.
Raley returned to the mound in the top of the 2nd and faced two more batters without recording an out (both runners reached base on singles and both runners scored). Raley threw a total of 49 pitches (only 22 strikes) in the game, coming on the heels of a start in an intrasquad game last week where he logged 55 pitches in just two innings of work. For the day, Raley allowed three runs on four hits and a walk in 1.0 IP, with a WP thrown in for good measure.
One-time Cubs top pitching prospect RHP Trey McNutt relieved Raley and immediately surrendered a rapid festival of line drives (a single, a two run double, an RBI single, and a sacrifice fly... plus a willd pitch) before finally retiring the side, as the Dodgers took a 5-4 lead.
NRI RHRP Jaye Chapman entered the game to start the 3rd and walked the first two men he faced and Scott Hairston dropped a fly ball in deep CF for an E-8 to load the bases, before a Jerry Hairston Jr SF and an Alfredo Almezaga RBI single plated two more runs for the Dodgers as Los Angeles took a 7-4 lead. Needing 31 pitches (only 15 strikes) to record the one out, Chapman was then relieved by Alberto Cabrera, who himself has struggled to throw strikes. But Cabrera actually restored order by inducing an inning-ending 5-4-3 DP, then set the side down 1-2-3 in the 4th in impresive fashion (two strikouts and a ground out), and struck out the lead-off hitter in the 5th... before getting hammered for two runs on four consecutive line-drive hits (three singles and a double) after logging pitch #20.
Meanwhile the Cubs scored one in the 3rd and two in the 4th, narrowing the Dodger lead to 8-7 at one point.
Nate Schierholtz and Welington Castillo reached base on singles in the 3rd, and then Schierholtz scored when Darwin Barney reached base on an infield single plus a throwing error by Dodger 3rd baseman Omar Luna (who had a shaky day in the field).
Junior Lake walked to lead-off the 4th, stole second, and then scored when Starlin Castro reached base on a throwing error by shortstop Dee Gordon (who made an ill-advised throw after ranging far to his left to even get the ball in the first place). Castro limped into 1st base and left the game with what appeared to be a left leg injury at this point, and PR Johermyn Chavez eventually came around to score on a walk, a passed ball, and a Scott Hairston SF.
Cubs NRI LHP Hisanori Takahashi surrendered a solo HR to Alex Castellanos in the top of the 7th to complete the day's scoring.
Michael Bowden, Shawn Camp, and James Russell did work clean (1-2-3) innings in the 6th, 8th, and 9th (which at least allowed the game to end before 5:00 local time), but by that point the Dodgers had a commanding lead, and the Cubs offense was mostly silent over the final five innings.
Also, glad to see Zobrist coming around with RISP after my remarks last week. Heh!
ESPN reporting heyward day-to-day with an injured wrist
ESPN game tonight, btw.
Cardinal way #48
"negligent transmission of STDs"
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Twitterverse reporting that Heyward is dealing with a sore right wrist
Cardinal way #47
See ya on parrot chat
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.
It looked like the baserunner might have screened Russell some though it's still a play he should have made.
I wasn't thrilled with the use of Rondon in that situation. In save situations opponents have a 77 OPS. In non-save situations it's a 116 OPS. We had other relievers for that spot we could have used.
I'm not sure if it's his normal swing but it's obvious he can hit and he's always hit for power just not HRs so if it is his normal swing there's something else going on.
This article from spring training said he was trying to pull the ball a lot more:
Oh, thanks. I guess I should actually look at the schedule. Yay, 3-game road trip!
Good call, indeed. This ought to be a good series.
Sorry to nit-pick -- but the games against the Nats this week are at home.
Can't remember a worse weather-start to a season. Yuck.
Basically Russell booted a slam dunk DP grounder letting a run score. But he drove in the tying run in 9th. Just not their day, Rondon notwithstanding.