Baez Long Ball Propels Cubs to Victory
Jeffrey Baez smacked a three-run home run onto 8th Street, Danny Lockhart singled twice and drove-in three runs, and Ryan McNeil (Cubs 2012 3rd round draft pick) threw three innings of shutout ball with four strikeouts, leading the Cubs to a 12-7 victory over the Angels in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, AZ.
Ian Stewart continued his Extended Spring Training rehab assignment, batting five times (once in each of the first five innings) and going 1-4, reaching base on an RBI single and an HBP. He also flied out, lined out, and grounded out.
The defensive gem of the game was a run-saving inning-ending diving catch in right-centerfield by Cubs CF Rashad Crawford. A star basketball player at Mundy's Mill HS in Jonesboro, GA (where he was known as "Baby Jordan"), the 6'4 switch-hitting Crawford is one of the fastest and most athletic players in the Cubs system.
Cubs 2012 6th round draft pick RHP Trey Lang struggled with his control today (throwing 30 pitches but only 11 strikes), and was pulled from the game after walking the bases loaded in the top of the 5th.
The Cubs managed to score their 12 runs on only eight hits, but they drew nine walks and seven of them scored
The game was called in the top of the 9th after all of the pitchers scheduled to throw in the game has completed their work.
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
X. Ian Stewart, DH #1: 1-4 (F-7, L-7, 1B, HBP, 3-1, RBI)
NOTE: Stewart batted five times, hitting 3rd in each of the first five innings
1a. Rashad Crawford, CF: 0-2 (6-3, K, BB, R)
1b. Jeffrey Baez, CF: 1-2 (HR, E-6, R, 3 RBI, CS)
2. Danny Lockhart, SS: 2-5 (K, 1B, 1B, F-7, FC+E3, R, 3 RBI, SB)
3a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST THREE TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
3b. Wilfredo Petit, DH #2: 0-1 (6-3, BB)
4a. Xavier Batista, RF: 1-3 (K, L-8, 1B)
4b. Reggie Golden, RF: 0-1 (BB, 6-3)
5. Roni Torreyes, 2B: 0-4 (F-9, L-6, F-7, 6-4-3 DP)
6a. Jose Dore, 1B: 0-1 (4-3, BB, BB, 2 R)
6b. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 0-1 (K)
7a. Lance Rymel, C: 1-1 (2B, BB, 2 R)
7b. Erick Castillo, PH-C: 1-2 (2B, F-8, R, RBI)
8. Mark Malave, 3B: 0-2 (6-3, F-7 SF, F-8, BB, R, RBI)
9a. Garrett Schlecht, LF: 0-1 (3-U, BB, R)
9b. Trevor Gretzky, LF: 1-1 (BB, 1B, 2 R)
1. Ryan McNeil: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 37 pitches (26 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
2. Corbin Hoffner: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 26 pitches (17 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
3. Trey Lang: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 1 K, 30 pitches (11 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
4. Loiger Padron: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 31 pitches (18 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
5. Hunter Ackerman: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 1 BALK, 39 pitches (25 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
CUBS ERRORS: 1
3B Mark Malave - E-5 (throwing error on infield single allowed batter to advance to 2nd base and baserunner to score unearned run)
CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE
Lance Rymel: 2-3 CS
WEATHER: Partly cloudy & breezy, with temperatures in the 70's
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.