Vitters' Stick Leads Cubs to Victory at Talking Stick
Josh Vitters singled twice and ripped an RBI double, Carlos Penalver doubled twice, scored a run, and knocked-in another, Trey Lang tossed three innings of no-run no-hit ball, and catcher Lance Rymel threw out five baseruners (four caught stealing and one picked-off), as the Cubs edged the Rockies 5-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.
Vitters was placed on the AAA Iowa Cubs DL with a back strain earlier this month, and before that he missed most of MLB Spring Training with a quad strain. He is presently on a rehab assignment with the EXST Cubs, and he played 1st base for five innings today and batted four times (once each in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings). All three of his hits were rockets, and even the F-7 out was a near HR. (He also played 3rd base in yesterday's intrasquad game -- see below).
Cubs 2012 1st round draft pick Albert Almora (broken hamate bone during Minor League Camp) has started taking pre-game BP with the other position players, so I would think he will probably be seeing some EXST game action very soon, and then perhaps get moved-up to Kane County sometime next month.
Here is the box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
X. Josh Vitters, 1B: 3-4 (1B, 1B, F-7, 2B, R, RBI)
NOTE: Vitters batted four times, hitting 2nd in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings
1a. Shawon Dunston Jr, CF: 2-4 (F-7, 1B, 1B, K)
1b. Kevin Encarnacion, CF: 1-1 (2B)
2a. David Bote, 2B: 0-3 (F-9, F-8, 6-3)
2b. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 1-2 (F-7, 1B, RBI)
3a. Xavier Batista, DH #1: 0-2 (K, F-8, BB, R)
3b. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 0-2 (F-9, 1-6-3 DP)
4. Yasiel Balaguert, RF: 0-4 (P-3, K, L-9, L-4)
5a. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 2-3 (2B, L-4, 1B, R)
5b. Brad Zapenas, 3B: 0-1 (K)
6a. Carlos Penalver, SS: 2-3 (F-8, 2B, 2B, R, RBI)
6b. Francisco Sanchez, SS: 0-1 (5-3)
7a. Garrett Schlecht, LF: 0-1 (4-3, F-7 SF, BB, RBI)
7b. Roberto Caro, LF: 0-1 (K)
8. Lance Rymel, C: 1-4 (K, K, K, 1B, R)
9a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST THREE TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
9b. Justin Marra, DH #2: 0-1 (F-8)
1. Kyler Burke: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 36 pitches (23 strikes), 1/3 GO/FO
2. Trey Lang: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 38 pitches (20 strikes), 3/2 GO/FO
3. Anthony Prieto: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 19 pitches (13 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
4. Daniel Adrian: 2.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 35 pitches (25 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
5. Carlos Martinez: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 8 pitches (7 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
CUBS ERRORS: 2
1. SS Francisco Sanchez - E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely - eventually scored unearned run)
2. 2B Danny Lockhart - E-4 (two-base throwing error trying to double runner off 1st base allowed runner to advance to 3rd)
CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Lance Rymel: 4-4 CS, 1 PO
WEATHER: Sunny and a bit breezy with temperatures in the 80's
NOTE: It wasn't a Cactus League Extended Spring Training game. but the Cubs did play a nine-inning intrasquad game yesterday (Thursday) at Fitch Park Field #4 (formerly known as "Field #3")
Veteran MLB RHP Guillermo Moscoso got the start for Squad "B" and he was absolutely dominating, throwing five innings (74 pitches) of two-hit shutout ball with ten strikeouts. He was sent to Extended Spring Training (after being outrighted) to get stretched-out as a starting pitcher after getting almost no innings in MLB Spring Training games with KC and TOR. He could be headed to the Iowa Cubs starting rotation in the near-future.
RHP Duane Underwood threw three innings of one-hit shutout ball for Squad "A," but he struggled with his command (46 pitches - only 22 strikes), walking three.
Josh Vitters (on the Iowa DL with a back strain) saw his first game action in a couple of weeks, playing 3B for five innings and batting four times. He went 0-3 (6-3, P-4, 1-3) with a walk.
Kevin Encarnacion tripled twice for Squad "A,", and Jeffrey Baez doubled and tripled for Squad "B." Both had an RBI.
Bryant Flete left the game after being struck above the right eye with a bad-hop single.
Three of the pitchers who arrived from the Dominican Academy after the start of Extended Spring Training pitched in the intrasquad game. 22-year old RHRP Juan Francisco was dialing it up to 97, but he had zero command of his secondary stuff (he was consistently bouncing his slider in front of the plate), 19-year old Dominican RHP Alexander Santana (who was at AZ Instructs post-2011) looked great, throwing two easy 1-2-3 innings with two strikeouts and four ground outs (he could be the ace of the AZL Cubs starting rotation). and 19-year old Venezuelan LHP Angel Mejias threw 1.1 IP with two strikeouts.
6'6 230+ 24-year old ex-Diamondbacks minor league RHP Orbandy Rodriguez (formerly known as "Manuel Gil") and 17-year old Venezuelan LHP Carlos Rodriguez threw two innings a piece in a "sim" game on Field #3 (formerly Field #2) on Monday, so they will probably be getting into an EXST game pretty soon. I have not seen RHP Jorge Diaz or LHP Luis Villalba throw in a "sim" game yet (both were at Extended Spring Training last year), but they may have done so on a day when the EXST Cubs were on the road.
Here is the box score frrom yesterday's intrasquad game:
CUBS SQUAD "A" LINEUP:
1. Shawon Dunston Jr, CF: 0-4 (K, F-8, 1-3, 4-3)
2. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 1-4 (K, K, 2B, K, R, 2 RBI)
3a. Xavier Batista, RF: 0-2 (K, 5-3)
3b. Kevin Encarnacion, RF: 2-2 (3B, 3B, RBI)
4. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 0-3 (K, K, F-8, BB)
5. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 0-4 (L-8, K, F-7, K)
6a. Jose Dore, LF: 1-3 (2B, K, 3-U)
6b. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FOURTH TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
7a. Bryant Flete, SS: 0-1 (K)
7b. Francisco Sanchez, SS: 1-3 (1B, P-4, F-9, SB, PO)
8a. Alberto Mineo, C: 0-1 (6-3)
8b. Justin Marra, C: 2-2 (1B, 2B, R)
9a. Neftali Rosario, DH #1: 0-2 (K, K)
9b. Dong-Yub Kim, PH: 0-1 (K)
10a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
10b. Rony Rodriguez, DH #2: 0-1 (BB, 1-3, R)
CUBS SQUAD "B" LINEUP:
X. Josh Vitters, 3B: 0-3 (6-3, P-4, BB, 1-3)
NOTE: Vitters batted four times, hitting 2nd in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings
1a. Rashad Carwford, CF: 1-2 (K, BB, 1B)
1b. Brad Zapenas, PH: 0-1 (6-3)
2a. Frandy de la Rosa, SS: 0-3 (1-3, 3-1, 3-1)
2b. Lance Rymel, PH: 0-1 (6-3)
3a. Wilfredo Petit, C-DH: 0-2 (E-6, BB, 6-3)
3b. Erick Castillo, C: 0-1 (4-3)
4. Trevor Gretzky, 1B: 0-2 (BB, P-2, F-7)
5. Carlos Escobar, DH-C-DH: 0-2 (P-3, 5-3 DP, BB, R)
6. Jeffrey Baez, RF: 2-3 (2B, K, 3B, RBI)
7. David Bote, 2B: 2-3 (1B, 1B, F-7, CS)
8a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
8b. Mark Malave, 3B: 0-1 (BB, 1-3)
9a. Reggie Golden, LF: 0-2 (K, F-7)
9b. Roberto Caro, LF: 0-1 (K)
10a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TWO TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
10b. Garrett Schlecht, DH #2: 0-1 (K)
CUBS SQUAD "A" PITCHERS:
1. Dayan Diaz: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 35 pitches (23 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
NOTE: Bottom of 2nd inning was stopped with two outs when Diaz reached his pre-planned max pitch limit
2. Duane Underwood: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 46 pitches (22 strikes), 4/2 GO/FO
3. Ethan Elias: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 2 WP, 29 pitches (14 strikes), 2/3 GO/FO
4. Alexander Santana: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 24 pitches (16 strikes), 4/0 GO/FO
CUBS SQUAD "B" PITCHERS:
1. Guillermo Moscoso: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 K, 1 PO, 74 pitches (46 strikes), 3/1 GO/FO
2. Hunter Ackerman: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 32 pitches (18 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
3. Angel Mejias: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 26 pitches (13 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
4. Juan Francisco: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 19 pitches (11 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
CUBS SQUAD "A" ERRORS: 1
SS Bryant Flete - E-6 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)
CUBS SQUAD "B" ERRORS: NONE
CUBS SQUAD "A" CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Alberto Mineo: 1-1 CS
CUBS SQUAD "B" CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Wilfredo Petit: 0-1 CS
CUBS SQUAD "A" OUTFIELD ASSISTS:
1. LF Jose Dore - threw out batter (David Bote) 7-4 trying to stretch single into double
2. CF Shawon Dunston Jr - threw out baserunner (Mark Malave) trying to score from 2nd base on 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
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.
O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already.
I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.
I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.
Enjoyable read on David Ross.
Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.
With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined).
BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.
If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).
As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).
I want my baseball team to win by playing better baseball. I don't want umps, fields, or fans to have anything to do with it.