Rockies Arms Keep Cub Bats Quiet at Talking Stick

Matthew Carasiti threw five shutout innings and combined with three relievers to throw a four-hitter, and Raimel Tapia and Dillon Thomas drilled RBI singles, as the Rockies edged the Cubs 2-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort, east of Scottsdale, AZ. 

Jeffrey Baez belted a solo HR to account for the Cubs lone run.

RHP Dillon Maples got the start for the Cubs and threw four innings (67 pitches), allowing one run on two hits (both singles), three walks, and a HBP. He struck out three and really had the sinker working (8/0 GO/FO). Maples did struggle with his comand throughout the first two innings (a 22-pitch 1st and a 25-pitch 2nd), but then retired six of the last seven men he faced on just 20 pitches. After completing his 67-pitch four inning stint, Maples went out to the bullpen and threw 20 more pitches, so he should be well stretched-out if the Cubs decide to move him up to Kane County before the end of Extended Spring Training. (FWIW, he also threw 78 pitches in an intrasquad game last Thursday). 

LHP Kyler Burke (strained oblique rehab) "piggy-backed" with Maples and also threw four innings (58 pitches), allowing one run (it was unearned) on three hits (all singles) and a walk, with two strikeouts. He looks like he is about ready to leave EXST and join either Kane County, Daytona, or Tennessee (depending upon where a slot is available).    


Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):

CUBS LINEUP:
1a. Rashad Crawford, CF: 0-2 (3-1, K, BB, SB)
1b. Jeffrey Baez, CF-DH: 1-1 (HR, R, RBI)
2. David Bote, SS: 0-4 (L-7, F-8, K, P-5)
3a. Yasiel Balaguert, RF: 1-3 (F-7, 2B, P-6)
3b. Garrett Schlecht, RF: 0-1 (F-7)
4a. Jose Dore, DH: 0-3 (K, K, 3-U)
4b. Xavier Batista, LF: 0-1 (F-8)
5a. Trevor Gretzky, LF: 0-3 (6-3, 4-3, 3-1)
5b. Frandy de la Rosa, SS: 0-1 (3-U)
6. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 0-3 (F-8, K, K)
7a. Brad Zapenas, 2B: 0-2 (HBP, 4-3, K)
7b. Kevin Encarnacion, CF: NO AB
8a. Carlos Escobar, C: 2-2 (2B, 1B)
8b. Neftali Rosario, C: 0-1 (6-3)
9. Mark Malave, 3B: 0-3 (K, L-5 DP, 6-3)

CUBS PITCHERS:
1. Dillon Maples: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 67 pitches (37 strikes), 8/0 GO/FO
2. Kyler Burke: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 58 pitches (38 strikes), 2/5 GO/FO
3. Anthony Prieto: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 12 pitches (10 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO 

CUBS ERRORS: 1
3B Mark Malave - E-5 (throwing error on infield single allowed batter reach 2nd base - eventually scored unearned run)

CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Carlos Escobar: 1-4 CS, 1 PO

CUBS OUTFIELD ASSISTS:
CF Rashad Crawford - runner thrown out 8-5 trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on a single

ATTENDANCE: 4

WEATHER: Partly cloudy & breezy with temperatues in the 80's


 

Comments

3/44?

Cubs released RHP Cory Wade.

Marmol in to ruin everything 

pat Hughes more aware that Yadier was going to steal than the Cubs were.

Sweet, Molina TOOTBLAN to end the threat.

marmol was paying no attention to him...which is generally how molina gets most of his steals.

r.sweeney is the 1st person to successfully call off castro from fielding a ball in LF. =p

congrats, new guy.

1-2-3 9th for Gregg...

that felt weird

Continuing my temporary man love for Starlin Castro since he's such a favorite target, that was a helluvan at bat last night in the ninth. If I remember right, and trust me, there's less than a 50/50 chance I do, he was behind in the count, maybe 1-2, fouled off a bunch of pitches, then drove a no doubt about it double into the right field corner. That shows to me he is still a work in progress. Great at bats one day, but then another day he'll flail at something and look really bad. Also, I wonder if anyone has noticed or heard if Valbuena is doing anything differently at the plate. The sample size for this year is growing, and his numbers are quite the outlier compared to his career numbers: .264/.373/.483/.856. I thought I heard Deshaies say something about it but I didn't catch it.

Valbuena is a really interesting case right now. He's getting a lot of platoon ABs, so I think that might be part of the trick. His BB% and K% are slightly improved, but not enough to justify the transformation of his batting line. His ISO has exploded, which would not be unheard of for a guy in his age-28 season. That explains why he has 5 HRs in 100 ABs, as opposed to 4 in 300 ABs last year. But the biggest question mark is the batting average. It's not being fueled by BABIP. It appears maybe he's actually improved both as a hitter and as a slugger this season. Small sample size still relevant; but as someone who has talked about a lot of shit about LV on these comments, I look forward to him having the opportunity to continue to get plate appearances and hopefully prove me wrong.

Edit: One more thought. From 2008 to 2012, he split each year between AAA and MLB, always putting up a good line at AAA and a bad line at MLB. Certainly someone who has had so many good ABs at AAA, and now so many plate appearances upstairs, has the possibility of translating some of their success given enough time to adjust. If he's truly a "late bloomer," (still a premature conclusion at this point) then he can probably expect a good 2-3 years from him before it all falls apart. Just long enough to keep the seat warm for Villanueva or Baez, hopefully.

"Great at bats one day, but then another day he'll flail at something and look really bad."

If Castro wasn't flailing with two strikes in the eighth yesterday, it was because Rosenthal was throwing strictly fastballs and mostly strikes. There were no low outside pitches to flail at. (Rosenthal threw one breaking ball out of eleven pitches to Castro, and it was low-inside).

An eleven-pitch at-bat is pretty good, and it's tough to make even minor contact with eight 95+ fastballs in one trip to the plate. Even Sveum admits that Castro has remarkable hand-to-eye coordination. But before I call it a hell of an at-bat I would want to see him nudge the count to 3 balls, which he never did but could have done by the fifth pitch.

Rizzo came to the plate after Castro's double, and I liked his AB better. He took an outside fastball and then hit the next one to the wall in center. Rizzo comes to the plate with an idea of what he wants to do, an idea that goes beyond "see the ball, hit the ball." Baez is off to a slow start at Daytona but he has six bombs now. He, too, has an idea.

Ryan Sweeney tooks some groundballs over at firstbase. Probably just for emergency situations according to pregame radio.

There needs to be a blanket "no stealing third on Molina" rule implemented.

Why the hell is Rizzo trying to steal 3rd with 2 outs against anybody, much less Molina?

Shierholtz Shirsey's for everyone!

hey look, bullpen fail

(I'm sure the error didn't help much)

more pen fail...stl leads.

woo.

How many more games does the Cubs bullpen have to give away before they can file as a charitable organization?

Recent comments

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  • If he puts up Soriano numbers I will be ecstatic

    jacos 1 min 7 sec ago view
  • I think Javy is learning--but he's learning to make contact, not learning to lay off pitches out of the zone. A quick glance at his plate discipline numbers on Fangraphs shows that his contact rate is up, especially his contact rate out of the zone, but his swing rate is up too, especially his swing rate out of the zone.

    Charlie 35 min 37 sec ago view
  • I definitely saw ballpark radar guns go up to 102 on Kerry Wood back when he was still a starter, but who knows how accurate they were.

    Charlie 49 min 4 sec ago view
  • They've mentioned Henry Rodriguez (2013), Chris Carpenter, and Andrew Cashner as Cubs who have gone 100+. They said Rodriguez was tops at 100.8. Who knows before 2008?

    QuietMan 2 hours 13 min ago view
  • Regarding Heyward--

    He'll play regardless of what he does, just like Soriano played for seven years before they finally ditched him.

    What can they do? All I can think of is they can keep hiring and firing hitting coaches until they find one who can get him to stop hitting balls with the handle of the bat.

    (All those broken bats added to his paycheck is just a bit much.)

    VirginiaPhil 2 hours 13 min ago view
  • Lester will probably be all right.

    I think Arrieta might have added too much muscle preparing for that butt-naked ESPN photo shoot. Pitchers are supposed to be loose, not muscled up.

    Seriously.

    VirginiaPhil 2 hours 20 min ago view
  • I have basically written off Heyward for this year -- if you are working on major swing changes in late July, you are going to struggle. Hopefully, he can be more productive at the plate next year. It will be interesting to see what they do with him if the Cardinals keep winning and close the gap. Heyward is dead last in the NL in slugging and in the bottom 5 in OPS -- yet still has a positive WAR. Hunh.

    billybucks 2 hours 23 min ago view
  • Has anybody in a Cub uniform ever thrown a ball 103 before?

    VirginiaPhil 2 hours 27 min ago view
  • He certainly looks better, no doubt, and is a different player than what we saw when he first came up. Full credit to him for changing his approach and saving his career.

    But he has zero walks in 35AB since the break, and 10 in 251 AB all year. He does seem to be able to hit some pitches out of the zone, but, a guy with his pop should be drawing more walks. However, it's easy to forget he is still only 23, and probably trying to make an impact to prove he should be an everyday player.

    billybucks 2 hours 36 min ago view
  • The usual suspects, Molina and Wong. Gyorko drew a walk with two outs, none on. I recall us (particularly Szczur and Bryant) swinging at everything Familia threw.

    VirginiaPhil 2 hours 38 min ago view
  • Yup. Thanks Q

    The E-Man 2 hours 43 min ago view
  • QuietMan 2 hours 51 min ago view
  • I for one hope that Sosa comes back soon.

    Rob Richardson 3 hours 10 min ago view
  • O/B interesting you should mention that. Google ESPN Science Aroldis Chapman and you'll be treated to how his mechanics and delivery are possibly historic. It's the 120% of his body stretch plus the torque. They compare him to the Unit and NRyan.

    The E-Man 3 hours 49 min ago view
  • Amazing how much lower the production gets when Bryant runs into a mini-cold streak. He doesn't stay cold for long. If just one of Zobrist or, gulp, Heyward, gets hot, they oughta have one more really nice winning streak in them. Having a closer that you have absolute confidence in can't hurt.

    Old and Blue 4 hours 33 min ago view
  • I hope they hold onto Jimenez. Outfield depth is questionable, especially with McKinney, who struggled this year but still, gone.

    Old and Blue 4 hours 44 min ago view