A's Keep Soler In Check at Papago Park
Matt Hillsinger and Daniel Robertson each smacked a two-run home run, leading the Athletics to a 7-4 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Papago Park Sports Complex Field #2 (AKA "Connie Mack Field") in Phoenix, AZ.
Kevin Encarnacion roped a two-run double down the RF line and Wilfredo Petit followed with an RBI single one out later to key a Cub rally in the top of the 9th, but it fell short and the A's hung-on to win the game.
RHP Ryan McNeil (Cubs 2012 3rd round draft pick) threw three innings of one-hit shutout ball in a losing cause.
Jorge Soler played CF and hit 3rd in the Cub lineup, going 1-5. He lined out sharply to left in the top of the 1st (outstanding diving catcher by A's LF Hillsinger), hammered a single through the 5.5 hole in the 4th, bounced out 6-3 in the 6th, and struck out (swinging) in his last two AB. Soler is now 1-8 (with three strikeouts) in two EXST games since arriving in Mesa last Thursday. (He took BP on Friday, played in a game at Fitch Park on Saturday, and the EXST Cubs have Sundays off).
RHP Guillermo Moscoso got the start for the Cubs, his first game action since being claimed off waivers last month. He threw two innings, allowing just one single while striking out two.
Moscoso had a fine rookie season as a rotation starter with Oakland in 2011, going 8-10 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. allowing just 102 hits with 38/74 BB/K in 128 IP. He was then traded to Colorado after the season for OF Seth Smith, and had a very poor year with the Rockies in 2012, posting a 6.12 ERA and 1.72 WHIP in 50 MLB IP, and a 6.13 ERA and 1.56 WHIP in 98.1 AAA innings at Colorado Springs. He was claimed off waivers by both KC and Toronto during the 2012-13 off-season, before ending up with the Cubs in March. The Cubs put Moscoso back onto waivers immediately after claiming him, and were able to outright him to the minors when no teams put in a claim. He will probably eventually end up at AAA Iowa.
Today's game was continued into the 10th inning to allow all of the pitchers who were scheduled to throw for the two squads to get their work.
Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only):
1. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 0-5 (4-3, 6-U FC, 3-U, 4-3, P-6)
2a. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 0-3 (6-3, K, K)
2b. Roberto Caro, LF: 0-2 (K, K)
3. Jorge Soler, CF: 1-5 (L-7, 1B, 6-3, K, K)
4a. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 0-2 (4-1, HBP, K)
4b. Jose Dore, 1B: 0-0 (BB, R)
5a. Francisco Sanchez, SS: 0-1 (1-3, HBP)
5b. Carlos Penalver, SS: 2-2 (1B, 1B, R)
6a. Garrett Schlecht, RF: 0-1 (K, BB)
6b. Kevin Encarnacion, RF: 1-2 (P-1, 2B, R, 2 RBI)
7. Mark Malave, 3B: 1-4 (1B, 4-3 DP, K, 6-3)
8a. Erick Castillo, C: 0-2 (F-8, F-8)
8b. Wilfredo Petit, C: 1-2 (P-6, 1B, RBI)
9. Alberto Mineo, DH: 1-4 (K, 6-3, F-7, 1B)
1. Guillermo Moscoso: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 28 pitches (18 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
2. Ryan McNeil: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 40 pitches (30 strikes), 6/1 GO/FO
3. Trey Lang: 2.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R (4 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 44 pitches (27 strikes), 1/3 GO/FO
4. Tyler Bremer: 0.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 11 pitches (8 strikies)
5. David Cales: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 17 pitches (14 strikes)
CUBS ERRORS: 1
2B Danny Lockhart - E-4 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Wilfredo Petit: 0-1 CS, 1 PO
CUBS OUTFIELD ASSISTS:
RF Kevin Encarnacion - threw out runner 9-2 trying to score from 2nd base on line single
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80's
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?
Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump
Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.
j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.
felix pena, your turn.