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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  • Yes! In a 12-way tie for first!

  • Shit.

    Blew my prediction! I had them signing Zimmerman and trading for another arm.

  • Damn wanted Zimmermann

  • Yeah, this market. Remember when Ted Lilly signed a 4/$40m with the Cubs? It was like "Well, I guess if you can throw a ball, that's what the 3 and 4 starters are all getting." I'm glad I'm not a GM. Of course, they're spending our money...

  • in this market that seems like a decent deal relative to the market.

    given that d.price will probably get 30m-ish a year, 22m for 29yo zimm doesn't seem bad. i wouldn't complain about him suiting up for the cubs. one less option gone...

  • Zimmermann 5/$110m with Tigers. Youch.

    And the updated predications page:

  • Cubs 3B Christian Villanueva (who is out of minor league options) is hitting 358/464/500 for Obregon in the Mexican Pacific League (LMP), and is leading the LMP in OBP, is second in BAvg and walks, is seventh in SLG, and is tied for 8th in HR. He also has struck out only 16 times in 175 PA. 

  • CTSteve, thanks for spelling Zimmermann correctly. We don't need another first baseman.

  • The media has linked Cueto and the Cubs approximately zero times this winter. I'm thinking there's just not a lot of interest there on the Cubs' part. It seems unlikely.

    If the Cubs miss on Price, Grienke, and Zimmerman, they will aim for a mid-rotation starter via free agency or trade. However, I think this scenario also significantly boosts the odds that they extend Arrieta.

  • The Tigers are going after Zimmermann and the Red Sox will be throwing money at Price. Bringing Cueto back to the NL with the Cubs is looking like a serious possibility. Thoughts?

  • Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe in the financial impact to the Red Sox for not signing Jon Lester early in the free agent process:

    It will be interesting to ultimately add up the cost of letting Jon Lester go.

    The Red Sox botched up their negotiations with Lester in during spring training of 2014, making an initial offer of $70 million that was roughly $40 million short of what it should have been. Talks broke down and Lester was traded in July.

  •'re flip-flopping again?!

    Is this legal? What is the rule here on opining definitively and then changing your mind?

    I am not only surprised at your declaration, but Cutler's better 2015 showing. I don't get it - he went through Martz, Turner, Trestman, Kromer, and now Gase...and he is still here! And. he'll be here mext year too.

  • Happ signs w Jays

    Morsi saying Price won't be a Jay

  • needs more d.beeler and e.jokisch

  • As an Illinois tax payer I appreciate what they r doing

  • + Bankruptcy Court