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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  • 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.