Cub Power and Wood Arm Fry Padres
Alfonso Soriano laced a two-out line-drive two-run double down the LF line and Dioner Navarro followed with a towering two-run HR over the RF bullpens to rally the Cubs to a 4-2 lead in the 6th, and then Jorge Soler slugged a solo home run to the top of the berm over the LF fence and Christian Villanueva drilled two-run HR over the left-center fence to key a five-run 8th, as the Cubs defeated the San Diego Padres 9-3 in Cactus League action this afternoon at Dwight Paterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.
LHP Travis Wood contributed with both his arm and his bat, throwing four innings of one-hit shutout ball with six strikeouts, and roping a line-drive lead-off single and then scoring on the Soriano double to ignite the four-run 6th. On the negative side, Wood did walk three over the course of the 4.0 IP (63 pitches - 35 strikes).
RHP Scott Feldman got the start for the Cubs and worked three innings (51 pitches - 33 strikes), allowing two runs on four hits (including a Mark Kotsay two-run line-drive double into the RF Corner) with three strikeouts. He was aided by two nearly identical outstanding defensive plays by SS Alberto Gonzalez, as the veteran utility infielder made two diving stops to his right and then righted himself and make a pinpoint throw to 1st base to retire the batters. Before you get too excited, Gonzalez also booted a routine grounder for an E-6 that should have been turned into a 6-4-3 DP.
In addition to Gonzalez's two highlight-reel stops & throws, catcher Dioner Navarro picked a runner off 2nd base and nailed another runner trying to steal 2nd.
Down 2-0 heading into the bottom of the 6th, the Cubs rallied for four runs off SD RHP Tim Stauffer.
Travis Wood ripped a line-drive single to left and David DeJewsus lined a single to RF to start the inning, Then with two outs, Alfonso Soriano laced a line-drive double into the LF corner to drive-in Wood and DeJesus, and Dioner Navarro followed immediately with his two-run HR over the bullpens in RF.
The Cubs added some insurance, putting-up a five-spot in the 8th against Padres RHRP Dale Thayer.
Jorge Soler slugged a one-out solo HR to the top of the berm in left, and then Dave Sappelt lined a single into left-center and Logan Watkins walked. J. C. Boscan roped an opposite-field line-drive RBI single to RF to score Sappelt, and Steve Clavenger lifted a sacrifice fly to left to plate Watkins. Christian Villanueva then completed the Cubs scoring with a two-run HR over the left-centerfield fence, his team-leading third HR of the Spring.
Carlos Marmol and Michael Bowden followed Feldman and Wood to the mound, each throwing one inning. Marmol had an easy 1-2-3 8th (F-8, 4-3, 6-3), but Bowden allowed a run on two hits in the 9th (one a bloop double that fell between Sappelt, Villanueva, and Edwin Maysonet near the foul line in short left, and the other a line-drive RBI single that glanced off the glove of second-baseman Logan Watkins).
That was good!
Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.
My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.
Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.
Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.
How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?
Call me lost.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.
O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already.
I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.
I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.
Enjoyable read on David Ross.
Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.
With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined).