Big Gun Balaguert Satisfies Need for Offense at Fitch Park
Shawon Dunston Jr reached base four times on three singles and a walk, scored twice, and drove-in a run, Yasiel Balaguert singled twice, tripled, and knocked-in four runs, and Jacob Rogers smacked a two-run triple and walked, leading one squad of Cubs to a 7-3 victory over one squad of Diamondbacks on Field #3, and Francisco Sanchez hammered a two-run triple and then scored on a WP in a three-run 5th, and Garrett Schlecht, Erick Castillo, and Wilfredo Petit punched-out consecutive singles with two outs in the bottom of the 7th, rallying the other squad of Cubs to a 4-4 tie with the other squad of D'backs on Field #2, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training doubleheader played this morning at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.
As is usually the case when they play an EXST doubleheader, both games were seven-inning affairs, and the games were played simultaneously on adjoining fields.
RHP Dayan Diaz saw his first 2013 game action today, starting and pitching one inning in the game on Field #3. Signed by the Cubs as a minor league free-agent last November, Diaz got an NRI to Spring Training, but never got to pitch in an MLB Cactus League game because of a sore arm. (In fact, he never even threw "live" BP while with the big club). He has been rehabbing at Fitch Park for the past six weeks.
The Cubs have signed 30-year old veteran switch-hitting C-1B-3B-PH Jose Morales to a minor league contract, and he was a DH in the game on Field #2. He went 2-3, roping two line-drive singles and striking out (swinging). With Steve Clevenger on the DL for at least 60 days with a strained oblique, it's possible that Morales was signed to eventually provide Manager Dale Sveum with the third catcher he seems to covet.
The Cubs have been working out Jose Dore (acquired from SD last month) at 3rd base this week, and he played there in yesterday's intrasquad game and then again in today's EXST game on Field #2. He looks like a "natural" at the hot corner, and although he probably will continue to see action at 1B-LF-RF, it looks like he wil be playing a lot of 3rd base in the coming days. (He also got three innings at 2nd base last week, as the Cubs apparently see him as a bit of a "super-sub").
Conversely, I doubt that 18-year old slugging INF Luis Acosta (signed on July 2, 2011 - $1.1M bonus) will be remaining at 3rd base. His throws have been consistently scatter-gun (in fact, about the worst I have ever seen), and he was worked-out at 2nd base in pre-game infield practice this morning (although he did not play in the game). He was signed as a ahortstop, but was moved to third-base at DSL Instrux post-2012 because of defensive struggles at SS. If second-base doesn't work out, he'll probably be moved to LF. (He also needs to learn how to hit breaking balls, or at least recognize a breaking ball and then not swing at it).
Here are the box scores from today's games (Cubs players only):
FITCH PARK FIELD #2
CUBS SQUAD "B" LINEUP:
1a. Bryant Flete, 2B: 0-1 (L-6, BB)
1b. Frandy de la Rosa, 2B: 1-1 (1B)
2. Kevin Encarnacion, RF: 2-3 (F-8, 1B, 1B)
3. Jesse Hodges, DH #1: 0-3 (K, F-9, F-8)
4. Jeffrey Baez, CF: 0-2 (HBP, K, 3-1)
5. Jose Morales, DH #2: 2-3 (1B, 1B, K, R)
6. Jose Dore, 3B: 1-3 (K, 2B, 4-3, R)
7. Francisco Sanchez, SS: 1-3 (F-9, 3B, K, R, 2 RBI)
8. Garrett Schlecht, LF: 2-3 (1B, 4-3, 1B, R)
9. Erick Castillo, C: 2-3 (5-4-3 DP, 1B, 1B)
10. Wilfredo Petit, 1B: 1-3 (5-3, 3-U, 1B, RBI)
11. Rashad Crawford, DH #3: 0-3 (K, P-6, K)
CUBS SQUAD "B" PITCHERS:
1. Duane Underwood: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 45 pitches (24 strikes), 5/1 GO/FO
2. Ethan Elias: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 1 GIDP, 29 pitches (18 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
3. Loiger Padron: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 35 pitches (18 strikes), 3/2 GO/FO
CUBS SQUAD "B" ERRORS: (1)
SS Francisco Sanchez - E-6 (throwing error on attempted 6-4 FC allowed baserunner to reach 2nd base safely - eventually scored unearned run)
CUBS SQUAD "B" CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Erick Castillo: 1-1 CS, 1 PB
FITCH PARK FIELD #3
CUBS SQUAD "A" LINEUP:
1. Shawon Dunston, Jr, CF: 3-3 (BB, 1B, 1B, 1B, 2 R, RBI)
2. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 0-1 (BB, BB, BB, 4-6-3 DP, 2 R)
3. Yasiel Balaguert, RF: 3-3 (1B, 3B, F-8 SF, 1B, 4 RBI)
4. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 1-3 (K, BB, 3B, L-7, 2 RBI)
5. Reggie Golden, LF: 0-3 (1-2 FC, 6-3, K)
6. Trevor Gretzky, DH #1: 0-3 (1-U, 6-3, K)
7. Justin Marra, C: 0-2 (BB, F-9, F-8, R)
8. Carlos Penalver, SS: 1-3 (F-9, 1-3, 3B)
9. Mark Malave, 3B: 0-2 (4-3, BB, P-1, R)
10a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TWO TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
10b. Neftali Rosario, DH #2: 0-0 (BB, R)
CUBS SQUAD "A" PiTCHERS:
1. Dayan Diaz: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 17 pitches (11 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
2. Jose Rosario: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 40 pitches (19 strikes), 5/3 GO/FO
3. Chad Martin: 2.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 33 pitches (21 strikes), 1/5 GO/FO
4. David Cales: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 18 pitches (11 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
CUBS SQUAD "A" ERRORS: NONE
CUBS SQUAD "A" CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Justin Marra: 1-1 CS
CUBS SQUAD "A" OUTFIELD ASSISTS:
CF Shawon Dunston - threw out baserunner 8-5 trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on a single
WEATHER: Sunny & VERY breezy with temperatures in the 70's
NOTE: It wasn't a Cactus League game, but there was a 3-1/2 inning intrasquad game played at FITCH PARK FIELD #3 yesterday morning.
RHP Josh Conway (Cubs 2012 4th round draft pick out of Coastal Carolina) was really on his game, striking out seven in 3.2 IP (64 pitches). And when he wasn't getting punch-outs, he was throwing ground balls (3/0 GO/FO).
Here is the box score from that game:
SQUAD "B" LINEUP:
1. Roberto Caro, CF: 0-2 (K, K)
2, Rashad Crawford, RF: 1-2 (1B, K, SB, CS)
3. Trevor Gretzky, 1B: 0-1 (K, BB, R, SB)
4. Jose Dore, 3B: 1-2 (4-3, 1B, RBI)
5. Erick Castillo, C: 1-1 (2B)
6. Francisco Sanchez, SS: 0-1 (K)
7. Alberto Mineo, DH #1: 0-1 (K)
8. Kevin Encarnacion, LF: 0-1 (K)
9. Bryant Flete, 2B: 0-1 (3-1)
10. Jesse Hodges, DH #2: 0-1 (5-3)
SQUAD "A" LINEUP:
1. Lance Rymel, C: 1-2 (1B, K)
2. Mark Malave, 3B: 1-1 (1B, R)
3. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 0-1 (5-3)
4. Garrett Schlecht, RF: 1-1 (3B, RBI)
5. Xavier Batista, DH #1: 0-1 (K)
6. Reggie Golden, DH #2: 0-1 (K)
7. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 0-1 (K)
8. Frandy de la Rosa, SS: 0-1 (4-3)
9. Shawon Dunston Jr, CF: 0-1 (6-3)
10. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 0-1 (5-3)
SQUAD "B" PITCHERS:
1. Andrew McKirahan: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 29 pitches (21 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
2. Anthony Prieto: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 BR, 0 BB, 1 K, 12 pitches (8 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
SQUAD "A" PITCHER
Josh Conway: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 7 K, 64 pitches (40 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
NOTE: Game was stopped with two outs in top of 4th when Conway reached his pre-planned max pitch limit
SQUAD "A" CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Lance Rymel 1-3 CS
SQUAD "B" OUTFIELD DEFENSE:
RF Rashad Crawford - threw out baserunner 9-5 trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on a single
My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.
Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.
Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.
How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?
Call me lost.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
Enjoyable read on David Ross.
Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.
BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.