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
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.
a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...
it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.
soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.
he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.
j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.
so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.
im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.
That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.
9 pitches in and this game already rules.
HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).
...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.
First time I saw Herrera was yesterday. He took like 100 pitches, fouled off a ton off Lester.
Very nice young player and perfect leadoff guy.
Obviously not Phil. But he mentioned this on Wednesday.
"Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day is Saturday June 4th, so probably about 8-10 pitchers and position players presently at EXST in Mesa will be sent to the Cubs Dominican Academy (probably sometime this week) and be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2."
In the comments here: http://www.thecubreporter.com/05242016/cub-power-d...
Per FanGraphs, Cubs have a 72.5% chance of winning today. Jinx! Next highest percentage on today's games is D-backs with a 64.7% chance (Greinke vs. Cesar Vargas, in Arizona.)