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
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.