Snakes Take Two Bites of the Apple at Fitch Park
17-year old Panamanian LHP Anfernee Benitez tossed four innings of no run/no hit ball with eight strikeouts, 16-year old Dominican SS Sergio Alcantara singled twice, tripled, and scored two runs, and Tyler Linton cracked a two-run double to cap a four run 8th inning rally, as the Diamondbacks outlasted the Cubs 8-6 on Field #4, and Wagner Mateo belted an RBI double to put the D'backs on the board in the top of the 1st, and Andrew Velasquez laced an RBI triple to plate the Diamondbacks final run in the top of the 4th, as the D'backs withstood a Cub rally in the bottom of the 9th (Cubs scored twice and left the bases loaded) and defeated the Cubs 5-3 on Field #2, sweeping a Cactus League Extended Spring Training doubleheader played this morning at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.
Jose Rosario got the start for the Cubs on Field #4 and had a rough 1st inning, surrendering four runs on four hits (three singles and a double) and a walk. But then he found his rhythm and retired 12 of the last 13 men he faced (five on strikes) before reaching his pre-planned pitch limit (67).
Rony Rodriguez whacked a two-run HR in the bottom of the 5th and Justin Marra followed an inning later with a two-run double to help the Cubs tie the game on Field #4, and then the Cubs took a 6-4 lead in the bottom of the 7th, before the D'backs erupted for four runs off reliever Chad Martin (capped by the Tyler Linton two-run two-bagger) in the top of the 8th. Martin had a really poor outing, allowing four runs on six hits (three singles, two doubles, and a triple) in just two innngs of work
Albert Almora was in the lineup on Field #4 and played CF for six innings, getting four AB and going 1-4. He struck out (swinging) twice against Anfernee Benitez, then he broke up the no-hitter by rifling a single off RHRP Bobby Hillier and past the D'backs third-baseman leading off the bottom of the 5th (before scoring on the Rony Rodriguez HR), and popped up to the second-baseman in short RF in his final PA (also versus Hillier).
Prior to the doubleheader, RHP Chang-Yong Lim (July 2012 TJS rehab) threw a 25-pitch "live" BP inning on Field #1, facing Jose Morales (strained hamstring rehab), Lance Rymel, and Justin Marra. The 36-year old side-armin' Korean and one-time closer for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows (NPB) was signed by the Cubs post-2012, and has been rehabbing at Fitch Park for the past couple of months. Barring a medical setback, I would think he will probably see some EXST game action soon. (Fellow South Korean Dong-Yub Kim bowed to Lim in "we are not worthy" style as he passed behind the batting cage on Field #1 on his way to Field #4).
In EXST Cubs roster news, INF Bryant Flete has been moved down to the VSL Cubs. Flete had an interesting weekend, playing in the EXST game at Talking Stick last Friday, flying to Venezuela on Saturday, and then playing in the VSL Cubs inaugural yesterday morning (Flete hit lead-off and played SS for the VSL Cubs).
Here are the abridged box scores from today's games (Cubs players only):
FITCH PARK FIELD #2
SQUAD "B" LINEUP:
1. Rashad Crawford, RF: 1-4 (1-3, 1B, F-7, HBP, K)
2. Carlos Penalver, SS: 0-5 (6-3, P-3, 4-3, P-3, 4-3)
3. Jeffrey Baez, CF: 1-4 (K, F-8, 1B, P-3, R)
4. Yasiel Balaguert, 1B: 2-4 (K, P-3, 1B, 1B, R)
5. Mark Malave, 3B: 0-2 (BB, F-7, K, BB, R)
6. Trevor Gretzky, DH: 2-4 (1B, K, K, 1B, RBI)
7. Brad Zapenas, 2B: 1-4 (K-DP, F-7, K, 1B)
8a. Erick Castillo, C: 0-2 (3-1, F-8)
8b. Alberto Mineo, C: 0-1 (BB, 6-3, RBI)
9. Roberto Caro, LF: 0-3 (6-3, F-7, 1-3, BB)
CUBS SQUAD "B" PITCHERS:
1. Trey Lang: 3.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 46 pitches (27 strikes), 3/4 GO/FO
2. Jasvir Rakkar: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 26 pitches (18 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
3. Mike Hamann: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 24 pitches (14 strikes), 4/1 GO/FO
4. Tyler Bremer: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 15 pitches (11 strikes), 2/3 GO/FO
CUBS SQUAD "B" ERRORS: 1
SS Carlos Penalver - E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
CUBS SQUAD "B" CATCHERS:
1. Erick Castillo: 1-2 CS
2. Alberto Mineo: 0-1 CS
FITCH PARK FIELD #4
CUBS SQUAD "A" LINEUP:
X. Albert Almora, CF: 1-4 (K, K, 1B, P-4)
NOTE: Almora batted four times, leading off the bottom of the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 6th innings
1. Frandy de la Rosa, 2B: 1-4 (K, K, 4-3, 1B, RBI)
2. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 1-3 (K, F-7, 1B, HBP, R)
3. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 1-4 (K, K, 1B, P-6, R)
4a. Rony Rodriguez, C: 1-2 (5-3, HR, R, 2 RBI)
4b. Justin Marra, C: 1-2 (2B, K, 2 RBI)
5. Jose Dore, LF-RF: 0-3 (K, HBP, K, K)
6. Kevin Encarnacion, RF-CF: 1-3 (BB, L-9, 1B, F-7, R)
7. Xavier Batista, DH: 0-3 (5-4 FC, F-7, BB, K, R)
8. Francisco Sanchez, SS: 0-4 (6-3, K, K, K)
9a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TWO TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
9b. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 0-2 (F-8, P-5)
CUBS SQUAD "A" PITCHERS:
1. Jose Rosario: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R (4 ER), 2 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 67 pitches (40 strikes), 4/5 GO/FO
NOTE: Top of the 5th inning was stopped with two outs when Rosario reached his pre-planned max pitch limit for the game
2. Daury Torrez: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 29 pitches (19 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
3. Chad Martin: 2.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R (4 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 34 pitches (26 strikes), 2/3 GO/FO
CUBS SQUAD "A" ERRORS: NONE
CUBS SQUAD "A" CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Rony Rodriguez: 0-1 CS
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures 100+
NOTE: It wasn't a Cactus League Extended Spring Training game, but the Cubs did play a seven-inning intrasquad game yesterday (Monday) at Fitch Park.
LHP Kyler Burke (strained oblique rehab) got the start for Squad "A" and went 5.1 IP (79 pitches), allowing one run (it was unearned) on three hits (two singles and a triple) and a walk. He struck out four, with a 7/1 GO/FO. Burke should be ready to move up to (presumably) either Daytona or Tennessee.
Jacob Rogers and Yasiel Balaguert were the offensive stars of the game. Rogers belted two doubles (including a two-run double high off the CF "Batter's Eye") and a two-run HR and drove-in four runs for Squad "A," and Balaguert collected a single, a double, and a triple, drove-in two runs, and scored one for Squad "B."
Albert Almora played CF for five innings for Squad "A" and batted four times, going 1-4. He grounded out 4-3 in his first AB, chopped a single over the third-baseman's head his second time up, grounded out 6-3 in his third PA, and flied out F-9 in his final AB.
Rashad Crawford batted once in each of the first three innings for Squad "B," to practice hitting LH against a LHP (Kyler Burke). Formerly a switch-hitter, Crawford is trying to learn to hit LH (only) to take better advantage of his blazing speed. He isn't a very good hitter to begin with (he's hitting 094/216/186 with 13 K in 37 PA in 14 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games), so it's not like he's giving up much by hitting LH versus LHPs.
The game was halted by the coaches briefly in the top of the 6th so that Frandy de la Rosa could run around the bases three times, after he neglected to run out an infield pop up.
Here is the box score from yesterday's intrasquad game:
SQUAD "B" LINEUP:
X. Rashad Crawford, CF: 0-3 (F-7, 4-3, K)
NOTE: Crawford batted three times, leading off the top of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd innings
1. Carlos Penalver, SS-DH: 0-3 (6-3, 5-3, L-7)
2. Yasiel Balaguert, LF-DH: 3-3 (3B, 1B, 2B, R, 2 RBI)
3. Reggie Golden, DH-LF: 0-3 (E-6, 4-3, K)
4. Trevor Gretzky, 1B: 1-2 (1B, 1-3, BB, SB, CS)
5. Garrett Schlecht, RF: 0-2 (3-U, K, BB)
6. Lance Rymel, C: 0-3 (5-3, F-7, K)
7. Mark Malave, 3B: 0-1 (BB, F-9, BB, CS)
8. Frandy de la Rosa, 2B: 0-3 (K, P-5, K)
9. Brad Zapenas, DH-SS: 0-1 (K, HBP, R)
10a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
10b. Roberto Caro, CF: 0-0 (BB, R)
SQUAD "A" LINEUP:
X. Albert Almora, CF: 1-4 (4-3, 1B, 6-3, F-8)
NOTE: Almora batted four times, leading off the bottom of the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings
1. Kevin Encarnacion, DH-CF: 1-2 (F-9, 1B, BB, R, SB)
2. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 1-3 (1B, 5-3 DP, E-4, R)
3. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 1-2 (BB, 1B, K, 2 R)
4. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 3-3 (2B, HR, 2B, 2 R, 4 RBI)
5. Jose Dore, DH #2: 0-2 (K, BB, K)
6. Justin Marra, C: 1-3 (K, K, 1B, RBI)
7. Xavier Batista, RF: 0-2 (BB, F-8, L-7)
8. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 0-2 (BB, 6-3, K, SB)
9. Francisco Sanchez, SS: 0-2 (K, E-3, R)
SQUAD "B" PITCHERS:
1. Duane Underwood: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 3 K, 1 GIDP, 60 pitches (34 strikes) 3/1 GO/FO
2. Carlos Martinez: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 4 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 39 pitches (24 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
NOTE: Bottom of the 4th inning was stopped with two outs when C. Martinez reached his pre-planned max pitch-limit for the game
3. Orbandy Rodriguez: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 26 pitches (18 strikes), 0/2 GO/FO
SQUAD "A" PITCHERS:
1. Kyler Burke: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 4 K, 79 pitches (52 strikes), 7/1 GO/FO
2. Jorge Diaz: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 15 pitches (8 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
3. Juan Francisco: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K, 23 pitches (8 strikes)
SQUAD "B" ERRORS: 3
1. C Lance Rymel - E-2 (overthrow on SB attempt allowed runner to score)
2. 1B Trevor Gretzky - E-3 (three-base fielding error allowed batter to reach 3rd base safely and runner from 1st to score)
3. 2B Frandy de la Rosa - E-4 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely & unearned run to score)
SQUAD "A" ERRORS: 1
SS Francisco Sanchez - E-6 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely & unearned run to score)
SQUAD "B" CATCHER DEFENSE:
Lance Rymel: 0-2 CS, 1 PO, 1 E (see above)
SQUAD "A" CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Justin Marra: 2-3 CS
SQUAD "B" OUTFIELD ASSISTS:
RF Garrett Schlecht - batter (Justin Marra) was thrown out 9-6 trying to stretch single into double
BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).
TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.
TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.
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.
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:
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.