Eric Aybar Helps Rally Angels Past Cubs at Diablo Park
Eric Aybar (on an injury rehab assignment) singled and walked and scored two runs, Quentin Davis punched-out three RBI singles, and Jonathan Walsh belted a solo HR, as the Angels rallied to defeat the Cubs 7-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Diablo Park Field #7 in Tempe, AZ.
Dillon Maples got the start for the Cubs and allowed one run on two hits and two walks in three innings of work (50 pitches). He also struck out five and threw a wild pitch. His hammer-curve was virtually unhittable (as it usually is), and he was able to command his fastball somewhat better today than in previous outings.
Josh Vitters continued his EXST rehab assignment, playing 3B for seven innings and batting five times. He flied out twice, grounded out, and reached base on an Eric Aybar error and on an HBP, and he also made an outstanding double-saving backhanded diving catch on the 3rd base line. He certainly looks like he's ready to return to Iowa.
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
X. Josh Vitters, 3B: 0-4 (F-9, F-7, 4-3, E-6, HBP)
NOTE: Vitters batted five times, hitting 3rd in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 7th innings)
1a. Rashad Crawford, CF: 1-2 (BB, E-4, 1B, R)
1b. Jeffrey Baez, CF: 0-1 (K)
2a. Dong-Yub Kim, DH: 0-2 (HBP, 5-3, P-3, R)
2b. Carlos Escobar, PH: 1-1 (1B)
2c. Mark Malave, 3B: NO AB
3a. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 0-1 (BB, BB, L-7, CS)
3b. Trevor Gretzky, 1B: 0-1 (F-8)
4a. Jose Dore, RF: 1-2 (1B, K, 2 RBI)
4b. Kevin Encarnacion, RF: 0-1 (BB, 4-3, R)
5a. Reggie Golden, LF: 0-2 (F-8, 6-3)
5b. Roberto Caro, LF: 0-1 (BB, 1-3, R)
6a. Erick Castillo, C: 0-2 (4-3, 3-U)
6b. Alberto Mineo, C: 0-2 (K, 6-3)
7a. Brad Zapenas, 2B: 1-2 (F-9, 1B)
7b. Bryant Flete, 2B: 0-2 (3-U, L-1, RBI)
8a. Frandy de la Rosa, SS: 0-2 (3-U, 4-6 FC)
8b. Francisco Sanchez, SS: 0-1 (6-3)
1. Dillon Maples: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 50 pitches (31 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
2. James Pugliese: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 36 pitches (19 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
3. Tyler Bremer: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 26 pitches (16 strikes), 1/4 GO/FO
4. Jasvir Rakkar: 0.0 IP, 3 H, 4 R (4 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 2 WP, 27 pitches (13 strikes)
5. Mike Hamann: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 7 pitches (5 strikes)
CUBS ERRORS: 1
1B Trevor Gretzky - E-3 (missed catch allowed batter to reach base safely)
CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Erick Castillo: 0-1 CS
WEATHER: Sunny & breezy with temperatures in the 90's
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.
It looked like the baserunner might have screened Russell some though it's still a play he should have made.
I wasn't thrilled with the use of Rondon in that situation. In save situations opponents have a 77 OPS. In non-save situations it's a 116 OPS. We had other relievers for that spot we could have used.
I'm not sure if it's his normal swing but it's obvious he can hit and he's always hit for power just not HRs so if it is his normal swing there's something else going on.
This article from spring training said he was trying to pull the ball a lot more:
Oh, thanks. I guess I should actually look at the schedule. Yay, 3-game road trip!
Good call, indeed. This ought to be a good series.
Sorry to nit-pick -- but the games against the Nats this week are at home.
Can't remember a worse weather-start to a season. Yuck.
Basically Russell booted a slam dunk DP grounder letting a run score. But he drove in the tying run in 9th. Just not their day, Rondon notwithstanding.
Didn't see the game, but it sounded like the Cubs gave away 2 runs with poor fielding. Bummer.
Well, it's been a fun diet of Reds, Brewers and Braves, but now the Cubs have to play real teams in May (Pirates, Nationals, SF, Cards and Dodgers) -- hope we are all still smiling when we wake up on Memorial Day.
He does seem out of synch. His body seems to start forward, then his arms sort of try to catch up -- if that's his normal swing, he will never hit for power. It's an all-arms slasher swing, but the timing seems off.
He is currently slugging .256 -- I realize the weather has been bad, but that's epically bad. Currently 92nd out of 94 qualified NL batters. Yikes.
Weird home stand -- 3-1, with 2 rainouts, vs. two teams that will lose 100 games. Feels oddly disappointing.
Miserable baseball weather all week -- hopefully better weather will get the bats going. Not just walking, but actually hitting.
That strike call on LaSterlla was terrible
I was hearing some talk that John Mallee is trying to change Heyward's swing. Wonder if that is lending itself to the slow start.
at least it wasn't a "nobody showed up" stomping.
anytime you wanna jumpstart your season would be nice, heyward.