Cubs Pitchers Now Know How Custer Felt
Nick Swisher singled twice, homered, and drove-in four runs, Lonnie Chisenhall singled, doubled, and homered, and collected three RBI, Drew Stubbs singled and tripled and drove-in three runs, and Mark Reynolds homered and doubled and knocked-in two runs, leading a 20-hit attack as the Cleveland Indians scalped the Cubs 13-5 in Cactus League action this afternoon at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Meaa, AZ.
RHP Alberto Cabrera got the start for the Cubs and was battered to the tune of five runs (all earned) on seven hits (three singles, two doubles, and two home runs) and a walk in 2.2 IP (52 pitches - 29 strikes).
Because he has a three-pitch arsenal (mid-90's fastball, hard slider, and change), the Cubs would like to move Cabrera back to the starting rotation in 2013 (he was converted to a reliever after the 2011 season), but he has struggled to throw strikes in both the Dominican Winter League post-2012 and at Spring Training 2013. And today when he did throw the ball over the plate, he was consistently and relentlessly hammered by Tribe hitters. Cabrera is a lot like Carlos Marmol, in that he has electric stuff but has a tendency to always be pitching from behind in the count. Today he seemed intent on not walking the world (as he has in the recent past), so when he got behind, he tried to pitch to contact, and it just didn't work. Cabrera is a strikeout pitcher, and to try and be something else is probably not a good strategy.
LHP Brooks Raley followed Cabrera to the mound and he fared poorly, too. Once again Raley had a long inning (a 28-pitch 4th inning), and he also surrendered five runs (four earned) on six hits (a triple, a double, and four singles) and a walk in 2.1 IP. Raley has labored in every outing so far this Spring (one intrasquad game and two Cactus League outings), and has been unable to get through an appearance without at least one high-pitch inning.
RHP Ty'Relle Harris was called up from Minor League Camp for the second time in a week, and he had a lugubrious 34-pitch (only 13 strikes) 6th inning where he allowed three runs on three hits and three walks. Harris was one of the players acquired from Atlanta in the Derrek Lee trade in 2010, and he suffered near-career ending injuries when struck by a hit & run driver outside a Knoxville nightclub in 2011. It's been a long road back and it's a miracle that he's even pitching again, but Harris will have to do a lot better in Minor League Camp than he did today at HoHoKam Park to avoid getting released.
Casey Coleman threw two scoreless innings, and RHP Marcus Hatley (brought up for the day from Minor League Camp) worked a scoreless 9th, although he did allow a hit and a walk.
A converted JC outfielder who was one of the last "Draft & Follow" signings by the Cubs before DNF was eliminated per the 2006 CBA, Hatley was ranked by Baseball America as the Cubs #29 prospect going into the 2013 season, and while he does have some upside as a hard-throwing reliever, he has yet to establish himself at the AAA level, and he will be a Rule 55 minor league free-agent (Six-Year Minor League free-agent) post-2013 if he is not added to the Cubs 40-man roster by the 5th day following the conclusion of the 2013 World Series. So the Cubs will have to watch him carefully this season so that they can make an informed decision by the deadline.
Today's Cub offensive output might have been enough to win most days, but not when the opposition scores 13 runs.
Alfonso Soriano led-off the bottom of the 2nd with a HR over the LF fence off Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco, and after Steve Clevenger drew a walk, Brad Nelson drove him home from 1st base with an RBI double. Soriano (who doubled in his second AB) appears to be in great shape, and I would not be surprised if he matches or even exceeds his 2012 numbers this season.
Down 13-2, the Cubs scored two runs off Indians #1 pitching prospect Trevor Bauer (acquired from Arizona during the off-season) in the bottom of the 7th. Jorge Soler drew a one-out walk and scored on a Logan Watkins double, and then after advancing to 3rd base on an error, Watkins scored on a Javier Baez 5-3 GO RBI (Baez's fourth RBI in two days).
Johermyn Chavez slugged a solo HR off Bauer in the bottom of the 8th for the Cubs fifth and final run of the game.
It was another small crowd at HoHoKam Park today (5,465),
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.