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)
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

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 



When you don't hustle, you don't play for the Daytona Cubs.

That was the message that was delivered to outfielder Jorge Soler on Sunday, when the highly touted prospect was benched for a game for not running hard on two at-bats in a Saturday night loss to Lakeland.

The first month of the season has been inauspicious for Mr. Soler.

speaking of...

cespedes (OAK) just turned a double/triple into a single by watching what he thought was a HR bounce off the wall before he started running to 1st.

he tied the game in the 9th at least.

Might want to think about holding the runner, Meat.

The batter looked a little bummed. "Wait. Where do I fit in all this?"

Kyle Hendricks starting to pitch well for Tennessee. Very well: in his last two starts (including today) his numbers are 13 innings, 4 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 17 K's.

ninja with 2 wild pitches in the 1st...leading to a run...that's 6 WP in 33.2ip this season.

s.hairston + c.ransom back to back solo HR, bottom 2nd, cubs lead by 1


Hairston and Ransom go back to back...better odds at winning lotto.

vidal nuno making his debut (out of the pen) for the yanks...that's the guy i really wanted the cubs to go after in the rule 5 and was kinda shocked no team snagged him.

cubs have done okay with rondon, least with early returns.

The Unsinkable Cody Ransom 

Greatest Cub of all time?

him or ace closer kevin gregg.

a close second to Jose Macias...

Sheesh, kids these days. None of those mopes even make the Carmen Fanzone wing of Cubs greats.

welly got his 1st walk of the season only took 73 trips to the plate.

Strasburg - forearm tightness.

worked out well for you Rizzo

sorry for Strasburg if its serious...

bottom 14th, NYM/MIA...NYM out of relievers so s.marcum comes in to pitch, 2 days after starting fresh off the DL.

i guess if you throw 85mph fastballs it doesn't matter too much.

mets score 1 in the top 15th...marcum comes on to pitch the bottom up 2 runs and picks up his 2nd loss of the season. neat.

speaking of doing weird things with starters...

b.anderson (OAK) who has been in the dugout with a cast/boot to immobilize his ankle all game is now pitching in the top 13th.

that said, his ankle has been bothering him a while and hurt since his last start (which he made) it's not like it's broken or something.

crazy game...going to the middle 17th now.

both crisp and c.young have left the game due to leg injuries (crisp 13th, hamstring - c.young 15th, right quad).

b.anderson just finished his 5th inning and is showing signs of discomfort, though pitching effectively.

longest game in oakland colosseum history...3rd longest OAK game ever.

b.anderson done after 5.1 (man on 1st) in the top 18th...he was getting really messy on the mound and was obviously in pain for a few innings...limping hard into the trainer's room.

j.blevins up for his 1st MLB AB (they lost the DH slot due to injured player shuffling)...the A's crowd (an impressive amount still at the game considering the time/length, especially in the OF bleachers) with a huge JERRY BLEVINS chant...dugout with rally hats turned inside-out, fan style...and he Ks.

...a couple of outs the 19th.

b.moss 2r HR ends it in the bottom 19th on the 598th pitch of the game...longest (by time) game in A's times.

c.iannetta (LAA) caught all 19 of steel.

J. Baez with his 11th error of the season last night -- on April 29. I can't bear to do the math for a full-season projection.

And we think he's a defensive upgrade to Castro? Yikes.

Who is "we"? Anyway, Baez was also Florida State League player of the week for April 22-28

Sorry..."we" = seems to be a growing consensus that Baez is the SS of the future and Castro will move.

I have it from an inside source that the real reason Matt Garza missed his rehab start is because he got kicked in the arm by a billy goat. Also, the Cubs are definitely going to lose 100 games this year. #negativity

Today is the beginning of a new MLB waiver period, and it is in effect until 4 PM (EDT) on July 31st. .

For the past seven months or so the Cubs have had second waiver claim priorty (because they had the second-worst record in MLB last season), but starting today waiver claim priority changes daily, based upon the standings the morning the two-day waiver-claiming period ends for a particular player. So as of this morning, the Cubs are now 6th in waiver claim priority, behind MIA, HOU, TOR, SD and LAA. (The Padres and Angels are tied in the standings, so either could have 5th waiver claim priority, depending on whether the player is waived by an American League club or a National League club).     

Also, beginning with the new waiver period, Outright Assignment Waivers (once secured) are good for the entire waiver period, so (for example) a player who is outrighted during this waiver period can be sent back & forth to the minors without having to be placed on waivers each time. However, the player would have the right to decline the Outright Assignment and elect free-agency i9f he is outrighted a second in the waiver period, since he would have been outrighted at least twice in his career. But at the same time, a player on a minor league roster who is called up to MLB and is added to an MLB 40-man roster can sign a 45-day waiver that allows the club to outright the player without the player electing free-agency anytime during that 45-day period. This would be used (for example) in the case of a veteran player on the Iowa roster (somebody like Brad Nelson, J. C. Boscan, Alberto Gonzalez, Brian Bogusevic, et al) who is brought up to MLB to replace an injured player for a short period of time, where the club tells the player "we will bring you up for 15 days, but only if you sign the 45-day waiver." Sometimes a player will agree to sign the 45-day waiver (especialy if he understands his role in the organization), and sometimes he won't. And if two players play the same position and one agrees to sign the waiver and the other doesn't, the club will likely select the contract of the one who agrees to sign.

Here is a refresher on how waivers work:

For Optional Assignment Waivers, Outright Waivers, and Release Waivers, if a player is claimed by only one club, that club is awarded the claim. If more than one club makes a claim, the club with the lowest winning percentage (regardless of league) on the day the player clears waivers is awarded the claim. If two clubs with the same winning percentage make a claim, the club in the player's own league is awarded the claim. If two clubs from the same league make a claim and they are tied in the standings, the club with the lowest winning percentage from the previous season is awarded the claim. If the clubs are still tied, standings from two years back (or three years back, four years back, etc) are used to break the tie.

However, in the case of Trade Waivers (only), if a player is claimed by more than one club, the club in the player's own league with the lowest winning percentage is awarded the claim, even if that club has a higher winning percentage than the club or clubs making a claim from the other league. So a player placed on Trade Assignment Waivers must first be "waived out of his own league" before he can be assigned to a club in the other league. BUT THIS ONLY APPLIES TO TRADE WAIVERS, and Trade Waivers are only used beginning on August 1st up through the conclusion of the MLB regular season.  

For the purpose of determining the awarding of waivers claims, the previous season's standings are used during the off-season and up through the first 30 days of the following season. Then beginning on the 31st day of the season, the standings as of the date the player clears waivers are used to determine the awarding of waiver claims, with the previous season's standings used to break any ties.

"Mariners signed OF Corey Patterson to a minor league contract."

lulz etc.

"Randy Wells has announced his retirement from baseball."

the ex-cub ratio in MLB is balanced again.

appel vs gray...and HOU gets to force the decision for the cubs...should be a boring, yet highly satisfying draft.

outside chance of kris bryant (3rd, power + plate selection, college player).

fwiw...the stats so far...

M.Appel - 78.2ip 57h 14bb 93k - 1.49era (1hr)
J.Gray - 74.1ip 40k 13bb 91k - 1.09era (1hr)

K.Bryant - 156ab 55h 11dbl 22hr 46rbi - 53bb 31k 6/9sb - .346/.517/.865 (6e - 44g)

Bryant's bombs aren't really coming against elite arms, but it's hard to ignore all that jack.

DeJesus CF, Castro SS, Riz 1B, Sori LF, Schierholtz RF, Castillo C, Valbuena 3B, Barney 2B, Jackson P.

84F night game not even 1/2 full at 1st pitch.


late-comers have filled to park to about 2/3rd this LA or something?

a.rizzo just stole 3rd base with 2 outs...lulz.

Jackson and Sori should bring a boatload of prospects come trade deadline.


How about flipping Sori and Schierholtz in line up for awhile?

4/52 = the new 3/44

Thanks Theo.

that extra 4m a year for a.sanchez is looking really sane right now.

And thats putting it mildly. You know salary inflation is in full effect when soriano's contract goes from outright insane to just plain crazy.

Can we get a mercy rule or something? Maybe it's time to put Borbon on the mound.

mark grace update...

“He is now beginning his new chapter as a uniformed coach on the field, and I am thrilled for him and us,” Derrick Hall, Diamondbacks president and CEO, said Monday.

“He is full time and will be with us long after June 10 (when his sentence ends),” Hall said. “When the Arizona Summer League begins, he will be our hitting coach for that team.”

CRUNCH: Mark Grace was the EXST Diamondbacks 1st base coach on Jackrabbit Field in the Cubs-D'backs doubleheader at Talking Stick last week. He also is one of the hitting coaches.

He kind of gave me a double-take at one point when he saw me writing stuff down. I think he thought maybe I was working for Sheriiff Joe and was there to keep tabs on him.

But his situation (work release) is kind of like Field of Dreams, where Shoeless Joe (not to be confused with Sheriff Joe) can't walk off the field and go the house. He can go into the corn field when the game is over, but he otherwise he can't leave the field. It's sort of like that with Mark Grace,     

he was corny as hell, but i'm gonna miss him behind the mic (and it's weird hearing bob calling for ARZ again)...

he deserves every bit of punishment he's getting for endangering lives...repeatedly...

still, i hope he learned something and can stick around the game until he gets bored with it rather than the game getting bored with his antics.

Seems to be a lot of dead air with Len and JD at this point -- or, one will make a comment and the other doesn't pick up on it. I realize it takes a while to develop "chemistry" -- but I think Len misses his old pal.

JD is a lot chattier than Bob was. Len used to have to carry the conversation quite a bit, since BB would only chime in when he really had something to say. JD tends to carry the conversation line a lot more. I think they're still working out the chemistry, but the dynamic is going to be different too.

I think with the Cubs the way they are, WGN ought to hire two or three more color commentators so that the broadcast is like a Superbowl party: constant chatter about nonsense until something truly exciting happens.

Cant wait for the wacky plays on the video board

Recent comments

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  • Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.

  • Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.

    Think Baby Maddux.

    Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.

    Kyle is on the far left.

  • I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.

  • Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.

  • That was good!

  • Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.

  • My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
    1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.

  • Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.

  • Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.

    How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?

    Call me lost.

  • Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.

  • Unbeleivable Dodgers:
    I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
    Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:

    Some "Highlights"
    Carl Crawford $20MM
    Brandon McCarthy $17MM
    Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
    Darwin B $2.2MM
    Dan Haren $10MM
    Matt Kemp $18MM
    Brian Wilson $10MM
    Ryan Webb $2.2MM
    Dee Gordon $2.5MM

  • So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.


    And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):

  • i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.

    there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.

  • I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.

  • O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already. 

  • I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.

    I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.