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
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.
a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...
it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.
soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.
he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.
j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.
so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.
im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.
That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.
9 pitches in and this game already rules.
HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).
...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.
First time I saw Herrera was yesterday. He took like 100 pitches, fouled off a ton off Lester.
Very nice young player and perfect leadoff guy.
Obviously not Phil. But he mentioned this on Wednesday.
"Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day is Saturday June 4th, so probably about 8-10 pitchers and position players presently at EXST in Mesa will be sent to the Cubs Dominican Academy (probably sometime this week) and be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2."
In the comments here: http://www.thecubreporter.com/05242016/cub-power-d...
Per FanGraphs, Cubs have a 72.5% chance of winning today. Jinx! Next highest percentage on today's games is D-backs with a 64.7% chance (Greinke vs. Cesar Vargas, in Arizona.)