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).
Please be Noah Syndergaard and Andrew McCutchen...
Joking. I really like Andrew McCutchen. ...
Wow -- no Soler today, despite begin short of OF. As Baez's star rises, Jorge's has dimmed considerably.
"OTL: More PED busts coming from Major League Baseball"
Don't be a Cub, don't be a Cub, don't be a Cub!!!
Sorry typing too fast.
I think while I get what you're saying with moving around a lot of baseball is very rhythm based and for many players moving around a lot could disrupt that. It's the same reason many players aren't cut out for phing or dhing since they need to be in the rhythm of the game to hit.
Of course then you have players like LaStella who are terrible as starters and should only PH. Really hope Madden doesn't get enthralled with him starting too much.
The players are required to perform with minimal thinking, relying on reflex, reaction, and muscle memory (or, as you say, rhythm). I think this point of view doesn't lend itself well to changing things up. Wearing Zany suits, on the other hand, does sound like fun and definitely keeps things interesting.
Scared me for a minute with your anagram for "Almora".
KKVG: Among the players at Extended Spring Training, Isaac Paredes is the most-impressive position-player from the Cubs 2015-16 IFA class (I'm not including OF Eddy Julio Martinez, because he skipped EXST and began the season at South Bend). Paredes has legit game power and handles himself well at SS, although I think he will likely eventually end-up at 2B or 3B (maybe not this year, but down-the-line). It is possible that Paredes will get assigned to Eugene (and skip AZL) next month, and I would say he's the only one of the Cubs 2015-16 IFA position players who could.
Having been a mediocre HS player, I would think at a professional level - and in their 20's - doesn't it sound actually FUN to have a chance to play different positions in a 162-Game, uber-long season?
It has to take some of the monotony out of the job and keep you on your toes.
In fact, the best manufacturing floor job satisfaction training theories include job rotation as a way to improve employee satisfaction.
I hope Maddon can keep it going.
(It's usually KK, because his DNA is more like ours.)
Not just Maddon, but the organization as a whole. If the rumors are to be believed, they did a good job of letting Baez learn that he needed to change his approach, and Baez has done a good job listening to their instructions an adapting. Hopefully the same is true of Alomar, who is ripping up AAA.
Previous management teams haven't been as good at this (e.g. Corey Patterson).
Man, this team makes you greedy. Going into Pittsburgh -- with Cole vs. Hammel Game 1 -- I was hoping for 2 out of 3. After winning the first 2 games 14-3, I now want a sweep. Same thing happened in STL. Very, very fun.
Repeating myself, but I give Maddon a lot of credit for Baez's success. Instead of talking about monster HRs and high K totals, he has talked up his defense, versatility and being a "special" player. The kid seems to have responded.
BOB: The attendance has taken a big hit since you left.
K-DUB: I think the Cubs might consider skipping Dylan Cease past South Bend and starting him at Myrtle Beach next season, especially if he gets some time at South Bend this season and pitches well there. As a southern kid with TJS history, pitching at Myrtle Beach in April is probably a lot more attractive than pitching in South Bend, but Cease can't go to Myrtle Beach if he isn't ready for Hi-A.
His story makes him someone I completely root for to succeed but it's interesting that he's not succeeding in the way anyone thought when he was just a prospect. Great defense and contact instead of power. I think failing so glaringly and getting sent back down might have been the best thing for him and his ego.
He still swings at too many balls out of the strike zone but he's making a lot more contact on them which I think is helped by the less violent swing. So we might not get all the HRs we were expecting but I'll gladly take what he's giving.