Tulo Two RBI Too Much for Cubs
Troy Tulowitzki drove-in both Colorado runs with an RBI double and a sacrifice fly, and Jorge de la Rosa and four relievers combined to toss a six-hit shutout, as the Rockies blanked the Cubs 2-0 in Cactus League action this afternoon at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.
The Cubs offense sputtered all day, but they did threaten to score twice.
The Cubs loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the 3rd inning but did not score (Luis Valbuena drew a walk, Darwin Barney reached on an infield hit down the third-base line, and Starlin Castro grounded a single to left, but then Alfonso Soriano and Scott Hairston struck out swinging and Dioner Navarro flied out to CF), and the first two Cubs reached base in the bottom of the 9th but were left stranded (Steve Clevenger reached on an infield single that glanced off the pitcher's glove and Johermyn Chavez drew a walk, but Darnell McDonald was called out on strikes on a 3-2 pitch, Jorge Soler popped out to the first-baseman in foul territory, and PH Brad Nelson rolled out 4-3).
After not pitching in an "A" game since a week ago Sunday, Edwin Jackson got the start for the Cubs today and became the first Cub hurler to go five innings, E-Jax allowed one run on three hits (two infield singles and the Tulo RBI double) and one walk in his 5.0 IP (59 pitches - 38 strikes, 6/5 GO/FO), while striking out two. This was definitely the best Jackson has looked so far this Spring.
Japanese import RHRP Kyuji Fujikawa labored through a 25-pitch 6th, as the Rockies loaded the bases on a single and two walks, followed by the Tulowitzki SF. Although Fujikawa was behind on most every hitter he faced, he did strike out two (one looking and one swinging).
Both Cory Wade and Carlos Marmol breezed through seven-pitch shutout innings in the 7th & 8th, and Jensen Lewis pitched a scoreless 9th, allowing a lead-off single, but eventually leaving the runner stranded at 2nd.
Catcher Dioner Navarro had another strong game behind the plate, picking one runner off 1st base, and nailing another runner trying to steal 2nd.
After missing two weeks with a hamstring injury, Starlin Castro returned to the lineup and looked fine. He played shortstop for three innings and handled five chances easily (Eric Young, Jr did beat-out an infield single to deep short, but there was no realistic chance to throw Young out although Castro did make the play close at 1st), and reached base in both of his AB (drawing a walk in the 1st, and grounding a single to LF in the 3rd).
2nd in defensive WAR, NL.
6th in NL in RBI
Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.
Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.