X-Man and Lake Drown A's at Papago Park
Xavier Batista walloped two two-run home runs, Junior Lake belted three doubles, scored twice, and drove-in a run, and Steve Clevenger stroked a two-run double, leading the Cubs to a 9-2 victory over the Athletics in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Papago Park Field #2 (AKA "Connie Mack Field") in Phoenix, AZ.
The game was pre-planned as an 11-inning contest, and the game was called in the middle of the 11th inning after all of the Cubs and A's pitchers who were scheduled to throw in the game got their work.
Junior Lake (rib cage fracture rehab) played third-base for six innings and batted six times, hitting once in six of the first seven innings.
He lined a double off the LF fence (near-HR) in his first AB in the top of the 1st, and then scored from second base on a Yasiel Balaguert 4-3 GO (Lake was running on the pitch, and he didn't stop when he got to third-base, putting on the "after-burners" before sliding home safely just ahead of the throw in a cloud of dust). Lake also doubled in the top of the 2nd inning, this time an RBI two-bagger off the right-centerfield fence (another near-HR). He struck out swinging on a breaking ball in the 4th, but doubled again in the top of the 5th (opposite-field line-drive sliced into the RF corner) before scoring on Clevenger's two-run double. Lake popped-out to the first-baseman and grounded into a 6-4-3 DP in his final two AB.
Steve Clevenger (strained oblique rehab) was the starting catcher for the Cubs and was the backstop for the first six innings, and then moved to DH for the rest of the game. He batted five times, and went 1-5 with the big two-run double in the top of the 5th. He also struck out swinging, grounded out to the first-baseman (unassisted), flied out to CF, and reached base on an E-6. He was thrown out trying to steal third-base after the 5th inning double, and was picked-off 1st base after reaching on the E-6. He twisted his ankle on the pick-off and limped off the field after being tagged out by the A's first-baseman.
X. Batista came into the game hitting 182/262/255 with no home runs and just one RBI and 19 strikeouts in 22 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (61 PA), so hitting a couple of two-run HR in one game probably felt pretty good.
2012 6th round draft pick RHP Trey Lang was the Cubs starting pitcher and worked 3.2 IP, allowing two runs (one earned) on just one hit (a 4th inning single) with five strikeouts (all five swinging). But he also walked five, hit a batter, and threw two wild pitches, and needed 75 pitches (only 36 strikes) to get the 11 outs (including a 28-pitch 4th inning that he could not even finish). Lang will likely be one of the starting pitchers at Boise, although his control issues are a big problem and have been all year.
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
X-1. Junior Lake, 3B: 3-6 (2B, 2B, K, 2B, P-3, 6-4-3 DP, 2 R, RBI)
NOTE: Lake batted six times, hitting 2nd in the top of the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th innings
X-2. Steve Clevenger, C-DH: 1-5 (K, 2B, 3-U, F-8, E-6, 2 RBI, CS, PO)
NOTE: Clevenger batted five times, hitting 3rd in the top of the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 11th innings
1. Kevin Encarnacion, CF: 0-4 (L-7, K, F-8, BB, F-9, R)
2. Yasiel Balaguert, RF: 0-5 (4-3, K, K, P-3, K, RBI)
3. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 1-4 (E-5, 4-3, 2B, K, R)
4. Xavier Batista, DH #1: 2-3 (HR, 6-3, BB, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI)
5. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 0-4 (K, L-7, K, K)
6. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 2-4 (1B, P-5, 1B, L-4, R)
7. Carlos Penalver, SS: 1-4 (F-9, 1B, F-9, 4-3, R)
8a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TWO TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
8b. Rony Rodriguez, C: 1-2 (K, 1B, R)
9a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TWO TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
9b. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 1-2 (K, 2B)
1. Trey Lang: 3.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R (1 ER), 5 BB, 5 K, 1 HBP, 2 WP, 75 pitches (36 strikes), 5/0 GO/GO
2. Ethan Elias: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 21 pitches (11 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
3. Hunter Ackerman: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 33 pitches (17 strikes), 3/2 GO/FO
4. Matt Iannazzo: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 17 pitches (9 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
5. Tyler Bremer: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 28 pitches (20 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO
CUBS ERRORS: 2
1. 2B Danny Lockhart - E-4 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
2. C Steve Clevenger - E-2 (errant throw on attempted pick-off at 1st base allowed runner at 3rd base to score unearned run)
CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
1. Steve Clevenger: 2-3 CS, 1 E (see above)
2. Rony Rodriguez: 1 PB
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 90's
NOTE: It wasn't a Cactus League Extended Spring Training game, but the Cubs did play an intrasquad game at Fitch Park yesterday (Thursday) morning.
Cubs 2012 2nd round draft pick RHP Duane Underwood got the start for Squad "A" and threw four innings of no hit/no run ball, walking one and striking out four. He was simply outstanding.
Cubs 2012 5th round draft pick LHP Anthony Prieto threw three innings of shutout ball for Squad "B," allowing one hit (a single to the lead-off hitter in the top of the 1st inning) and one walk, while striking out two. He also picked a runner off 1st base. (Prieto has a nifty pick-off move).
The game was scoreless through the first seven innings, and then both squads broke through in the 8th.
Francisco Sanchez roped an RBI triple and a single and drew a walk for Squad "A," and Trevor Gretzky stroked an RBI double and a single and scored a run for Squad "B."
Steve Clevenger was the starting catcher for Squad "A" and was behind the plate for the first six innings (catching Underwood and Jasvir Rakkar), and he batted four times, going 0-3 with a walk.
Jose Morales was the starting catcher for Squad "B" and was the backstop for five innings (catching Prieto, Armando Rivero, and Corbin Hoffner). He also batted four times, going 0-3 with a walk.
Here is the box score from yesterday's intrasquad game:
CUBS SQUAD "A" LINEUP:
X. Steve Clevenger, C: 0-3 (K, BB, 1-3, F-7, SB)
NOTE: Clevenger batted four times, hitting third in the top of the 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 7th innings
1. Shawon Dunston Jr, CF: 1-4 (1B, K, K, L-7, PO)
2. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 0-4 (F-8, K, 5-3, F-7)
3. Xavier Batista, RF: 2-4 (5-3, 5-3, 1B, 2B, PO)
4. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 0-3 (4-3, K, BB, L-1)
5. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 0-4 (5-3, K, K, F-8)
6. Neftali Rosario, DH: 1-3 (5-3, F-8, 1B, R)
7. Francisco Sanchez, SS: 2-2 (BB, 1B, 3B, RBI)
8a. Kevin Encarnacion, LF: 0-1 (P-4, 1-U SH)
8b. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 0-1 (K)
9a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TWO TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
9b. Justin Marra, C: 0-1 (P-5)
SQUAD "B" LINEUP:
X. Jose Morales, C-DH: 0-3 (BB, 1-3, 4-6-3 DP, 4-3)
NOTE: Morales batted four times, hitting third in the bottom of the 1st, 4th, 6th, and 7th innings
1a. Jeffrey Baez, CF: 1-3 (K, K, 1B)
1b. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FOURTH TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
2. Trevor Gretzky, 1B: 2-4 (F-7, 4-3, 1B, 2B, R, RBI)
3a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TWO TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
3b. Garrett Schlecht, DH-LF: 1-2 (K, 1B, RBI)
4a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TWO TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
4b. Erick Castillo, DH-C: 1-2 (5-3, 1B, CS)
5. Yasiel Balaguert, RF: 2-4 (L-7, L-4, 2B, 1B, R)
6a. Carlos Penalver, SS: 0-2 (F-9, F-8)
6b. Mark Malave, PH-3B: 0-2 (3-1, K)
7. Jose Dore, 3B-SS: 0-3 (K, K, BB, K, R)
8. Brad Zapenas, 2B: 1-3 (K, 4-3, 1B, R, RBI)
9. Alberto Mineo, DH #3: 1-3 (4-3, F-7, 2B, R, 2 RBI)
10. Rashad Crawford, LF-CF: 1-3 (3-1, 1B, 3-U)
SQUAD "A" PITCHERS:
1. Duane Underwood: 4.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K, 46 pitches (28 strikes), 4/4 GO/FO
2. Jasvir Rakkar: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 25 pitches (19 strikes), 3/2 GO/FO
3. Chad Martin: 1.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R (5 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 35 pitches (21 strikes), 4/0 GO/FO
NOTE: Bottom of 8th inning was stopped with two outs when Martin reached his pre-planned max pitch limit for the game
4. Jorge Diaz: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 20 pitches (13 strikes)
SQUAD "B" PITCHERS:
1. Anthony Prieto: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 PO, 42 pitches (26 strikes), 4/2 GO/FO
2. Armando Rivero: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 18 pitches (11 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
3. Corbin Hoffner: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 13 pitches (10 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
4. Juan Francisco: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 WP, 26 pitches (16 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
5. Luis Villalba: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 32 pitches (22 strikes), 0/5 GO/FO
SQUAD "A" ERRORS: NONE
SQUAD "B" ERRORS: NONE
SQUAD "A" CATCHERS DEFENSE:
1. Jose Morales: 0-1 CS
2. Erick Castillo: 1 PO
SQUAD "B" CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Justin Marra: 1-1 CS
Meanwhile on the SouthSide
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?