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.
They've mentioned Henry Rodriguez (2013), Chris Carpenter, and Andrew Cashner as Cubs who have gone 100+. They said Rodriguez was tops at 100.8. Who knows before 2008?
He'll play regardless of what he does, just like Soriano played for seven years before they finally ditched him.
What can they do? All I can think of is they can keep hiring and firing hitting coaches until they find one who can get him to stop hitting balls with the handle of the bat.
(All those broken bats added to his paycheck is just a bit much.)
Lester will probably be all right.
I think Arrieta might have added too much muscle preparing for that butt-naked ESPN photo shoot. Pitchers are supposed to be loose, not muscled up.
I have basically written off Heyward for this year -- if you are working on major swing changes in late July, you are going to struggle. Hopefully, he can be more productive at the plate next year. It will be interesting to see what they do with him if the Cardinals keep winning and close the gap. Heyward is dead last in the NL in slugging and in the bottom 5 in OPS -- yet still has a positive WAR. Hunh.
Has anybody in a Cub uniform ever thrown a ball 103 before?
He certainly looks better, no doubt, and is a different player than what we saw when he first came up. Full credit to him for changing his approach and saving his career.
But he has zero walks in 35AB since the break, and 10 in 251 AB all year. He does seem to be able to hit some pitches out of the zone, but, a guy with his pop should be drawing more walks. However, it's easy to forget he is still only 23, and probably trying to make an impact to prove he should be an everyday player.
The usual suspects, Molina and Wong. Gyorko drew a walk with two outs, none on. I recall us (particularly Szczur and Bryant) swinging at everything Familia threw.
Yup. Thanks Q
Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTNekUcY-XM
I for one hope that Sosa comes back soon.
O/B interesting you should mention that. Google ESPN Science Aroldis Chapman and you'll be treated to how his mechanics and delivery are possibly historic. It's the 120% of his body stretch plus the torque. They compare him to the Unit and NRyan.
Amazing how much lower the production gets when Bryant runs into a mini-cold streak. He doesn't stay cold for long. If just one of Zobrist or, gulp, Heyward, gets hot, they oughta have one more really nice winning streak in them. Having a closer that you have absolute confidence in can't hurt.
I hope they hold onto Jimenez. Outfield depth is questionable, especially with McKinney, who struggled this year but still, gone.
You don't think he's improved? He looks completely different out there than he did when he first came up. The last I checked his K rate was in the low 20% range - 22-23 or so. When he came up it was 40%+.
To me, what is scary about him if I'm the other guy is that he IS learning the strike zone. This guy could easily be the MVP someday.
So, playing .500 for the rest of the year puts them at 91 wins. You would think there is enough talent to do a little better than that, right?
First team to 60 wins! Onward to 70, 80, 90 and 100!