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
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.