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
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.
If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?
#Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.
Fun with FIP
- J. Hammel 3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
- J. Arrieta 2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
- J. Lester 2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
- K. Hendricks 2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
- J. Lackey 3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)