Junior Lake Back in Action at Fitch Park
James Sneed roped a two-run single and Ryan Dalton followed with an RBI single to highlight a two-out three-run rally in the top of the 3rd inning, and Tyler DeLoach tossed 3.2 IP of one-hit shutout relief with seven strikeouts, helping the Angels defeat the Cubs 4-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #4 in Mesa, AZ.
Junior Lake (fractured rib cage rehab) saw his first game action since March 6th, playing 3rd base for five innings and getting five AB.
Lake batted once in each of the first five innings, going 1-3 with a single and two walks. He also was retired on a 1-3 comebacker to the mound and was called out on strikes. In addition, he was caught stealing after reaching base on the single.
Ex-Minnesota Twins switch-hitting C-1B-3B-PH Jose Morales also returned to action today after missing almost six weeks with a strained hamstring. He went 0-3, and knocked-in the Cubs lone run with a F-7 sacrifice fly.
The 30-year old Morales was signed as a minor league free-agent last month and reported to Extended Spring Training to get into playing shape, but promptly pulled a hammy in his very first EXST game on April 19th. He has been restricted to limited activity (essentially just BP and "sim" games) ever since. Once he is deemed ready to move up, he will likely be assigned to AAA Iowa.
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
X. Junior Lake, 3B: 1-3 (BB, 1B, K, BB, 1-3, CS)
NOTE: Lake batted five times, hitting third in the bottom of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings
1. Kevin Encarnacion, CF: 1-4 (4-3, 3-U, K, 2B)
2a. Justin Marra, DH #1: 0-2 (K, K)
2b. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 0-2 (K, K)
3a. Erick Castillo, C: 0-2 (3-U, K)
3b. Rony Rodriguez, C: 0-2 (F-7, F-7)
4a. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 1-2 (3B, BB, 1-3, R)
4b. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FOURTH TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
5. Jose Morales, DH #2: 0-3 (F-7 SF, F-8, K, K, RBI)
6. Garrett Schlecht, RF: 1-3 (2B, F-9, K)
7. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 0-2 (BB, F-7, 6-3)
8. Carlos Penalver, SS: 0-3 (P-3, L-4, K)
9. Trevor Gretzky, 1B: 0-1 (BB, BB, K, SB)
1. Paul Blackburn: 3.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 2 HBP, 1 PO, 67 pitches (41 strikes), 3/2 GO/FO
2. Erick Leal: 3.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 1 PO, 47 pitches (29 strikes), 2/5 GO/FO
NOTE: Top of 7th inning was stopped with two outs when Leal reached his pre-planned max pitch limit for the game
3. Carlos Martinez: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 28 pitches (20 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
CUBS ERRORS: NONE
CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Erick Castillo; 0-1 CS
Rony Rodriguez: 1-1 CS
WEATHER: Sunny and breezy with temperarures in the 90's
AL pitcher hits a home run for a 1-0 lead. There goes perspective
Here are the ERAs for the last five starting pitchers:
At what point does the manager note it's not the "other pitcher"?
And why does he start Montero in the middle of a downturn?
Some perspective (mostly for my own benefit): Dan Straily beat MadBum 2-1 today as the Reds took 2 of 3 in SF. Giants are 2-9 since the break and their lead over LA is down to 2.5 games. So, yeah...baseball. It'll drive ya nuts.
McNutt / Archer didn't work out well for us.
The floor is more valuable than the ceiling. It's the same reason we drafted Kris Bryant instead of Jon Gray.
Apparently the Yankees had the choice of either Gleyber Torres or Eloy Jimenez in the Chapman deal, and they chose Torres.
Chapman shouldn't be reserved anymore on 40 man.
Interesting split on Heyward according to ESPN. As a CF, his slash line .292/.363/.375/.738. At RF: .212/.204/.300/.604. 21/72 as a CF, 58/273 as a RF.
He's also been better when batting 2nd, but he had a nice start in the 6 hole, but has slumped ever since. He was heating up before the All Star break, but is only hitting .108 in the 2nd half.
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup