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)

1B Trevor Gretzky - E-3 (missed catch allowed batter to reach base safely)

Erick Castillo: 0-1 CS


WEATHER: Sunny & breezy with temperatures in the 90's  



"Ian Stewart sat out Friday at Triple-A Iowa due to a sore elbow."

he was HBP on to day.

stewart back in the lineup tonight...0-3, 1bb

also another error. that's 3 errors in 9 games...rust.

I may be revising my position that he couldn't do worse than what the Cubs have now.

leadoff triple (which should have only been a double and a m.stanton error, but official scoring decided to not saddle him with his 5th (wtf?) error on the year) followed by a wild pitch scoring the run.

can the cubs play MIA every day?

speaking of stanton...tie game.

1st of the year...OVER the LCD video screen...massive.

...and the cubs take the lead back...playing MIA is fun.

If the Asstros were still in the central, the Cubs could be a .500 team.

...and it's a tie game. olivo HR

t.wood done after 91 pitches in order to pinch hit borbon with 2 outs and a man on 1st in a tie game in top

borbon walks...dejesus singles in the run...everything is now genius level managing!

good luck with the bullpen tonight, swainy.

k.loe is set to get the call...that's the kind of guts that gives k.gregg 2 save chances to cash in.

Sveum pulled Wood after 80-something pitches last time, too. I wonder if Sveum is just afraid of over exposing him? He's a very good hitter.

k.gregg up in the pen getting ready for a save...lulz.

cubs win 3 in a row...4 out of 5.

world series here we come!

All games are free today (Sunday).

One thing that grinds me about Rizzo is the way he takes so many called third strikes on borderline pitches. He needs to learn to protect better with two strikes. This is what is causing him to strike out so much.

watching him try to handle a slider, especially on the inside, is frightening.

if the pitcher "misses" out over the plate or hangs it,'s awesome.

Cubs to whomever plays Miami after this: "We're sorry. We did not mean to wake up Giancarlo. But we're sure you'll be okay anyway."

Line drive should have hit Castro in the head, possibly wake him up.

He's been playing good defense recently though. Offensively I'm wondering if both him and Rizzo have suffered from being young, ordained stars on a team expected to fail and wanting to do too much. Players like that hate losing and I've read with Castro a lot that he's worked his butt off to get better everywhere. No way to prove it but gotta be a huge amount of pressure on them to succeed.

Well, recently in that he'll make a web-gem play, then cost his team the game or his pitcher 20 more pitches needlessly with his next error. He can hit though, and this certainly can cover a lot of shit.

Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • deno ended the season well even though ajax heavily cut into a lot of his chances to play. it's either him or ajax. i'm a bit partial to deno, but least ajax isn't hitting 2nd.

  • Agreed. And, with Hendricks on the mound, Cubs will probably need to score some runs to win -- why not start Soler for his bat and bring in Ajax for defense later?

    NEVER MIND....just re-read the lineup.

  • If the Cubs have the lead in the 8th, who pitches? Rodney? Travis? Yikes.

  • The Cubs had some good runs and nice winning streaks that propelled them to the playoffs. Austin Jackson wasn't part of that. I don't quite understand what it is about Jackson that they are so enamored with.

  • I think the strike zone was very inconsistent, but it's hard to blame the loss on the ump. They had chances and mistake pitches and just couldn't cash in. Lackey ran the ball inside and outside very effectively.

  • Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.

  • Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell

  • if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.

  • I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth

  • Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.

    Wtf is up w/that?!

  • Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...

  • I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.

  • Awesome stuff, Phil.

  • listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.

    That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.

  • it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
    should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?

    sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.

  • HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).  

    Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.