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):

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)

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 

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

Carlos Escobar: 1-4 CS, 1 PO

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


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




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.


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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  • May the best team win, and subsequently humiliate the Cardinals.

  • I love arriving here first thing in the morning, adding a few moronic posts (moranic for any Cardinals fans who may be trolling), and reading the sage posts of all you guys. Most knowledgeable fans on any forum, by far. So post like crazy today and help give TCR some visibility!

    I told my wife last night that I'm going to need a support system for tonight's game. Tonight is going to be a lot harder on me than it is going to be on these rookie bad asses.

  • James Russell elected free agency.

  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.