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).
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.
Didn't see the game, but it sounded like the Cubs gave away 2 runs with poor fielding. Bummer.
Well, it's been a fun diet of Reds, Brewers and Braves, but now the Cubs have to play real teams in May (Pirates, Nationals, SF, Cards and Dodgers) -- hope we are all still smiling when we wake up on Memorial Day.
He does seem out of synch. His body seems to start forward, then his arms sort of try to catch up -- if that's his normal swing, he will never hit for power. It's an all-arms slasher swing, but the timing seems off.
He is currently slugging .256 -- I realize the weather has been bad, but that's epically bad. Currently 92nd out of 94 qualified NL batters. Yikes.
Weird home stand -- 3-1, with 2 rainouts, vs. two teams that will lose 100 games. Feels oddly disappointing.
Miserable baseball weather all week -- hopefully better weather will get the bats going. Not just walking, but actually hitting.
That strike call on LaSterlla was terrible