Almora & Vitters Lead Cubs to Victory over A's
Albert Almora laced an opposite-field RBI triple into the RF corner and then scored one out later on a sacrifice fly, Josh Vitters roped an RBI double, and Jose Rosario threw four innings of one-hit ball, helping the Cubs edge the Athletics 4-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #4 (formerly known as "Field #3") in Mesa, AZ.
Almora (the Cubs 2012 1st round draft pick) saw his first game action in more than six weeks, since having hand surgery on March 16th (he broke his hamate bone at Minor League Camp on March 14th). He was a DH and hit five times in today's game, once in each of the first five innings. He lined out to CF in his first AB, then bounced out to third, reached base on an E-5 (another bouncer that the A's third-baseman tried to cut-off in front of the shortstop), ripped his RBI triple (and then he tore his pants and got a pretty good "raspberry" on his left thigh sliding home on the sac fly), and (in his last AB) grounded out to short.
Josh Conway got the start for the Cubs and went five strong innings (80 pitches), allowing two runs on four hits (all four singles) and two walks, while striking out six (five swinging). He retired nine of the first ten men he faced and then four of the last five, but in between he gave up two runs on four hits in the top of the 4th. The way he is being stretched out makes it look like the Cubs might be thinking about moving him up to Kane County or Daytona in the near future.
Jose Rosario followed Conway to the mound and threw four innings of one-hit ball (although he did walk three). He surrendered a lead-off triple in the top of the 9th, but looked like he would get out of the inning and leave the runner stranded at 3rd after retiring the next two hitters. However, a two-out fielding error by 1st baseman Mark Malave allowed the runner at 3rd to score. Rosario looks like he might be about ready to move up to either Kane County or Daytona, too.
The game was pre-planned as a ten-inning affair, and the A's did score two runs off Ethan Elias to take a 5-4 lead in the top of the 10th. However, the game was called in the middle of the 10th because the A's ran out of available pitchers, and so the score reverted to what it was at the end of the 9th inning, and therefore the Cubs won 4-3.
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):
X. Albert Almora, DH #1: 1-5 (L-8, 5-3, E-5, 3B, 6-3, R, RBI)
NOTE: Almora batted five times, hitting 2nd in each of the first five innings
1a. Shawon Dunston Jr, CF: 0-1 (K, F-8 SF, RBI)
1b. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 1-1 (1B, F-7 SF, RBI)
2a. David Bote, 2B: 0-2 (L-9, 1-3)
2b. Roberto Caro, CF: 1-1 (1B, BB, CS)
3. Carlos Penalver, SS: 1-3 (E-6, 1B, F-8, R)
4. Josh Vitters, 3B-DH: 2-3 (5-3, 2B, 1B, RBI)
5. Yasiel Balaguert, RF: 1-3 (4-3, 1B, K)
6a. Jose Dore, 1B: 0-2 (L-4, 4-3)
6b. Wilfredo Petit, C: 0-1 (K)
7a. Xavier Batista, LF: 0-2 (K, K)
7b. Mark Malave, 1B: 0-1 (4-6 FC)
8a. Lance Rymel, C: 0-2 (6-4-3 DP, 4-3)
8b. Garrett Schlecht, LF: 0-0 (BB, R)
9. Kevin Encarnacion, DH #2: 0-1 (BB, K, BB, R)
10a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TWO TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
10b. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 0-1 (L-4)
1. Josh Conway: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 6 K, 80 pitches (50 strikes), 4/4 GO/FO
2. Jose Rosario: 4.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 3 BB, 2 K, 59 pitches (33 strikes), 4/6 GO/FO
3. Ethan Elias: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 19 pitches (14 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
CUBS ERRORS: 2
1. 1B Mark Malave - E-3 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely & unearned run to score)
2. C Wilfredo Petit - E-2 (overthrow at 2nd base on SB attempt allowed baserunner to advance to 3rd)
1. Lance Rymel: 1-3 CS
2. Wilfredo Petit: 0-1 CS , 1 E (see above)
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 90's
I love winning! It's, like, better than losing?
You lollygag the ball around the infield. You lollygag your way down to first. You lollygag in and out of the dugout. You know what that makes you? Larry!
Its too bad Warren didnt get to pitch. He would have saved us.
Whoa -- that Contreras play in the 8th looked too much like a "Schwarber" -- nearly crashed into the wall going full speed, with Heyward doing the same.
New rule: if you are a catcher playing LF, and find yourself sprinting after a fly ball in the gap -- stop, let the CF go after it and get ready to play it off the wall.
Cubs have no spark and no life. Pretty boring to watch these days.
I thought trips to Miami were supposed to be fun. This one sucked.
The bottom half of the bullpen now turns close games into blowout losses. Not good.
Once Fowler went to the DL, the team went into the tank. Wonder if he'll get any love this offseason? Probably not.
6IP, 2ER. The last one scored because of another botched Zobrist DP turn.
And now, a bad throw by KB. Sloppy.
What is it with Hammel always starting well and sucking after a couple months?
Ahhh...sad. Lke a few of you here, I saw him play during the '69-'71 seasons. He was the "hot Zobrist" for the club in August/September of '69 while everyone else was fizzling out...
I predict: "They will play hard and if they give the same effort every day, they'll win a lot of games."
OK, boys -- find a way to win today.
There's some BA is missing too, here's all signing bonus BA doesn't have some:
-6 Hockin $241,000 (slot price), 7 Cruz $75,000 (saved $110,00), 8 Ridlings $120,000 (saved $53,800), 9 Robinson $30,000 (saved $132,300), so far the Cubs have saved an extra $297,100
Zobrist (2B), Hayward (CF), Bryant (3B), Rizzo, Contreras (LF), Montero, Russell, Coghlan (RF), Hammel
Also -- despite losing 6 of their last 10, the Cubs picked up a game on both STL and PIT during that period. Weird, given that they swept PIT and were swept by STL.
Also, I'd like to know if there are numbers to back up my suspicion that there are a lot more fast starts than late June romps. This seems like a time where everybody not named Willson Contreras is looking a little tired and/or banged up a bit.
For once, the Cubs got off to a fast start. Seems like I've been waiting for that for 50 years.Everybody is really gunning for this team, too. It's their playoffs.