AZL Cubs Kick Boise Hawks Out of Fitch Park
Jesse Hodges reached base four times on a double, two singles, and a walk, drove-in three runs, and scored another, and Jose Morales also reached base four times on a double, two singles, and a walk, leading the AZL Cubs to a 7-2 victory over the Boise Hawks this morning at Fitch Park Field #4 in Mesa, AZ.
Kevin Encarnacion went 4-4 with three singles and a double for Boise.
Cubs 2012 2nd round draft pick RHP Duane Underwood got the start for Boise and hurled 3.1 IP. He struggled to command his fastball (82 pitches - only 40 strikes), allowing two runs on four hits and five walks and two WP. He also struck out four.
RHP Jorge Diaz pitched for Boise although he is assigned to the AZL Cubs.
The game was a seven-inning contest.
The Hawks arrived by bus at 6 AM for the 7:30 AM game, and departed for Sky Harbor Airport after the conclusion of the game. They are due to arrive in Boise at 5:30 PM (local time). They will travel by bus from Boise to Eugene on Thursday, and will play their first 2013 NWL game Friday night.
There was a lot of loud joking around by the Boise players (like giving Shawon Dunston Jr a rash of shit about his tweets), but the AZL Cubs were fairly quiet. Players spend ten weeks at Extended Spring Training trying to make the Boise roster (if not Kane County or Daytona), and failing to do so can be a bit of a let-down. For AZL Cubs players like RF Jeffrey Baez (323/400/554 in 75 PA - 24 EXST Cactus League), 3B Jesse Hodges (275/342/449 in EXST Cactus League play - with 321/387/571 over his last ten games), and 1B-OF Xavier Batista (387/441/935 with four HR over his last ten EXST Cactus League games, plus another HR in yesterday's intrasquad game), there had to be a feeling of vindication in soundly beating the team that will be leaving without them. All three deserve to be in Boise (and Batista probably should be at Kane County), but justice is usually not a factor when it comes to assigning players to a particular minor league affiliate.
AA Tennessee OF Jae-Hoon Ha continued his rehab, playing CF for five inings for the AZL Cubs and batting seven times in the game (once each inning). Ha went 1-6 with two fly outs, two ground outs, a line-drive-out, an RBI double, and a HBP, with two runs scored. He also stole two bases (including third base, and then he scored on an E-2 overthrow), and he also won the bat toss by heaving his bat over the grandstand fence and into the bleachers after being hit in the ribs by an Ethan Elias pitch. Ha looks like he's very close to being ready to return to Tennessee.
AA Tennessee 1B Justin Bour (broken wrist rehab) saw his first game action since April 19th, playing 1B for four innings with the Boise squad and batting five times. He went 1-4 with a sharp ground single through the 3.5 hole and a walk. a 3-1 GO, and two strike outs (both swinging). Bour left the game temporarily during the 5th & 6th innings and went over to Field #1 and took about four dozen ground balls around first base. One thing about Bour is that he is a tireless worker.
Beefy 3B-1B Mark Malave was pressed into service at 2B for the AZL Cubs today. That's because INF Brad Zapenas was absent from Fitch Park, possibly en route to join the Kane County Cougars to replace INF David Bote, who has been assigned to Boise. (Bote will join his Hawks teammates in Boise). Zapenas hit 382/446/564 in 22 EXST Cactus League games (65 PA) while rehabbing from 2012 season-ending shoulder surgery.
RHP Mike Hamann was (somewhat surprisingly) not on the Boise roster posted yesterday, but that might be because be could be going to KC instead. (Hamann was the Cubs #1 closer at Extended Spring Training). Or he may not be 100%.
2009 South Korean bonus baby ($550K) OF Dong-Yub Kim has disappeared from Fitch Park and may heve been released (can't be confirmed). Kim sufferered a torn labrum in his right shoulder at AZ Instructs post-2009, and eventually learned to throw left-handed. But even then he has a below-average arm (even for a LF), and so he had to hit a ton to remain a prospect. And while he still has plus bat speed and runs well for a big guy, it probably isn't enough (245/328/396 with three doubles, one triple, one home run, and eight RBI, in 27 EXST Cactus League games - 61 PA).
Here is the box score from today's game:
BOISE HAWKS LINEUP:
X. Justin Bour, 1B-DH: 1-4 (K, 1B, BB, 3-1, K)
NOTE: Bour batted five times, hitting 3rd in the 1st & 2nd innings, 4th in the 3rd & 4th, and 6th in the 7th
1. Kevin Encarnacion, LF: 4-4 (1B, 1B, 2B, 1B, R, RBI)
2. Shawon Dunston Jr, CF 1-3 (F-8, 1B, E-1, BB, R, SB)
3a. Yasiel Balaguert, RF: 0-2 (P-6, 4-3, F-9 SF, RBI)
3b. SLOT WAS SKIPPED 4th TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
4. Justin Marra, C-DH: 0-3 (4-3, K, K, BB)
5. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 0-3 (K, 4-3, K)
6. Trevor Gretzky, DH-1B: 0-3 (4-3, L-7, 6-3)
7. Carlos Penalver, SS: 1-3 (E-7, 1B, F-9, R, SB)
8a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TWO TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER)
8b. Rony Rodriguez, C: 0-0 (HBP)
9. Jose Dore, 3B: 0-3 (3-U, 4-3, 3-6-3 DP)
AZL CUBS LINEUP:
X. Jae-Hoon Ha, CF-DH: 1-6 (5-3, F-9, L-7, F-7, HBP, 2B, 6-3, 2 R, RBI, 2 SB)
NOTE: Ha batted seven times, leading off the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 7th innings, and hitting 2nd in the 6th
1. Jose Morales, C-DH: 3-3 (2B, 1B, 1B, BB, SB)
2. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 3-3 (BB, 2B, 1B, 1B, R, 3 RBI, CS)
3. Xavier Batista, 1B: 1-4 (K, 1B, P-6, K, RBI)
4. Jeffrey Baez, RF: 1-3 (K, K, 1B, R, SB)
5. Garrett Schlecht, LF: 0-1 (BB, BB, K+WP, R, 2 SB)
6. Wilfredo Petit, DH #1: 0-3 (F-8, K, K)
7. Mark Malave, 2B: 0-1 (BB, BB, L-6)
8a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TWO TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
8b. Rashad Crawford, CF: 1-1 (1B, RBI)
9. Francisco Sanchez, SS: 0-3 (6-4 FC, P-2, K)
10a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
10b. Alberto Mineo, DH #2: 0-2 (4-3, F-9)
11a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
11b. Erick Castillo, C: 1-2 (P-5, 1B, R)
1. Duane Underwood: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 5 BB, 4 K, 2 WP, 82 pitches (40 strikes), 2/4 GO/FO
2. Ethan Elias: 3.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R (4 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 3 WP, 52 pitches (32 strikes), 1/4 GO/FO
3. Jorge Diaz: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 17 pitches (10 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
AZL CUBS PITCHERS:
1. Daury Torrez: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 58 pitches (37 strikes), 6/2 GO/FO
2. Starling Peralta: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 20 pitches (11 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
3. Dayan Diaz: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 17 pitches (12 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
4. Juan Francisco: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 37 pitches (18 strikes), 3/1 GO/FO
BOISE ERRORS: 1
C Rony Rodriguez - E-2 (overthrow on SB attempt at 3rd base allowed runner to score)
AZL CUBS ERRORS: 2
1. LF Garrett Schlecht - E-7 (missed catch on line-drive allowed batter to reach base safely - eventually scored unearned run)
2. P Dayan Diaz - E-1 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)
BOISE CATCHERS DEFENSE:
1. Justin Marra: 0-4 CS
2. Rony Rodriguez: 1-2 CS, 1 E (see above)
AZL CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
1. Jose Morales: 0-1 CS
2. Erick Castillo: 0-1 CS
WEATHER: Sunny & breezy with early-morning game-time temperatures in the 90's
Apparently the Yankees had the choice of either Gleyber Torres or Eloy Jimenez in the Chapman deal, and they chose Torrers.
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
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.