Stewart Stick Helps Cubs Whip A's at Fitch Park
Ian Stewart singled, doubled, drove-in a run, and scored another, Jacob Rogers singled twice and scored twice, Garrett Schlecht hammered an RBI double and walked, and Justin Marra ripped an RBI single, walked, and scored a run, leading the Cubs to a 7-4 victory over the Athletics in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, AZ.
Continuing his Extended Spring Training rehab assignment, Stewart played 3B for six innings and batted five times (once in each of the first five innings), going 2-5. He grounded out 3-U in his first AB, struck out swinging in his 2nd and 5th PA, roped a line-drive single to right in his 3rd AB, and crushed an RBI double into the RF corner his 4th time up. He didn't handle any chances at 3rd base, but he ran the bases at full tilt, showing no ill effects from the quad strain that sidelined him for most of MLB Spring Training.
The Defensive Play of the Game featured (once again) CF Rashad Crawford, who sprinted at full speed toward the infield and then made a diving catch in short center of what would otherwise have been a bloop single.
Slapped with a five-game suspension following an on-the-field incident in a game at Clearwater a couple of days ago, Daytona Cubs RF Jorge Soler is now at Fitch Park. He took BP on Field #1 with the recent-arrivals from the Dominican Academy (Acosta, Caro, K. Encarnacion, and F. Sanchez) during the EXST game. Whether he will remain in Mesa beyond the five-game FSL suspension remains to be seen...
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
X. Ian Stewart, 3B: 2-5 (3-U, K, 1B, 2B, K, R, RBI)
NOTE: Stewart batted five times, hitting 2nd in each of the first five innings
1a. Shawon Dunston Jr, CF: 0-2 (6-3, 6-U FC, HBP)
1b. Rashad Crawford, CF: 0-0 (BB)
2a. David Bote, 2B: 1-2 (K, 3B, SH-E1, R)
2b. Mark Malave, 3B: 0-0 (BB)
3. Danny Lockhart, DH-2B: 0-3 (BB, 4-3, 4-6-3 DP, F-8)
4. Xavier Batista, DH #2: 1-4 (1B, 4-3, 5-3, P-3)
5a. Yasiel Balaguert, RF: 0-2 (K, 6-3)
5b. Reggie Golden, RF: 0-1 (BB, 5-3, R)
6a. Jose Dore, 1B: 0-2 (F-9, P-3)
6b. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 2-2 (1B, 1B, 2 R)
7a. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 0-2 (F-8, K)
7b. Garrett Schlecht, LF: 1-1 (BB, 2B, RBI)
8. Carlos Penalver, SS: 1-4 (K, 2B, 6-4-3 DP, P-3, R)
9a. Lance Rymel, C: 0-0 (HBP)
9b. Justin Marra, C: 1-1 (1B, BB, R, RBI)
1. Duane Underwood: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 43 pitches (23 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
2. James Pugliese: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 32 pitches (18 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
3. Daniel Adrian: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 28 pitches (18 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
4. Tyler Bremer: 2.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 35 pitches (22 strikes), 3/1 GO/FO
5. David Cales: 1.0, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 10 pitches (7 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
CUBS ERRORS: 1
1B Jose Dore - E-3 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE
1. Lance Rymel: 0-2 CS
2. Justin Marra: 0-1 CS
WEATHER: Mostly sunny & a bit breezy with temperatures in the 80'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.