Cubs Ding Long Dongers to Christen Cubs Park in Mesa

Justin Ruggiano, Welington Castillo, and Christian Villanueva blasted solo home runs, and Kyle Hendricks threw 2.2 IP of no-run/no-hit ball, as the Cubs "White" team defeated the Cubs "Blue" team 5-3 in a six-inning Cactus League Intrasquad game played this afternoon in what was the first Cubs game played at Cubs Park in Mesa.

Hendricks started the game for the "White" squad, and retired all eight men he faced, recording three strikeouts (all three swinging) and 4/1 GO/FO along the way.

LHP Eric Jokisch got the start for the "Blue" men, and he threw 2.1 IP of shutout ball, allowing two harmless singles. He also did not walk anyone, and he struck out four (all four swinging). 

Chang-Yong Lim, Tsuyoshi Wada, Neil Ramirez, and Arodys Vizcaino had poor outings, each allowing at least one run. Vizcaino could not throw strikes consistently (he walked the first two men he faced), Lim threw almost nothing but strikes but got hammered anyway (two doubles and a single in one inning of work), Wada gave up two long home runs of the type you usually only see in Batting Practice (one to Ruggiano and the other to Castillo), and Ramirez was just a mess, allowing two runs on a HR, two singles, a walk, and a WP, in just a third of an inning, while throwing 23 pitches (only 11 strikes). 

Marcus Hatley tossed a scoreless inning but threw more balls than strikes, and Brian Schilitter allowed a run on a walk and a ringing double by Chris Coghlan, followed by an Arismendy Alcantara Sacrifice Fly. (Coghlan also laid-down a textbook RBI squeeze bunt SH earlier in the game).

RHRP Armando Rivero had a strong outing, though, throwing 1.1 IP of perfect baseball with two swinging strikeouts. His splitter was dive-bombing opposing hitters today, and was virtually unhittable. 

In addition to the three solo home runs, the sac fly, and the squeeze bunt, two more runs were driven in by way of RBI single (one by Junior Lake, and another by PH Ryan Kalish). The eighth run scored on a Wild Pitch. 

The defensive gem of the day was turned in by LF Matt Szczur, who robbed Alcantara with a diving catch at the LF foul line, a catch that prevented a two-run double that would have made Brian Schlitter's day a lot worse (although one run did score from 3rd base on the SF). Schlitter also benefited from a fine defensive play on the last AB of the game, as 2B Logan Watkins showed quick reflexes by staying with a ball that bounded off the 2nd base bag and appeared headed toward the outfield, making a bare-handed catch and rapid-fire throw to nip Jorge Soler on a "bang-bang" play at 1st to end the game.    

Here is the abridged box score from today's game:

1a. Luis Valbuena, 3B: 1-2 (F-8, 2B, R)
1b. Christian Villanueva, 3B: 1-1 (HR, R, RBI)
2a. Junior Lake, CF: 1-2 (K, 1B, RBI)
2b. Brett Jackson, CF: 1-1 (1B , R, SB)
3a. Starlin Castro, SS: 1-2 (6-3, 1B)
3b. Jeudy Valdez, SS: 1-1 (1B, SB)
4a. Nate Schierholtz, RF: 0-2 (3-1, K)
4b. Aaron Cunningham, RF: 0-1 (K)
5a. Ryan Roberts, DH: 0-2 (6-3, 5-4 FC)
5b. Mike Olt, PH: 0-0 (BB)
6a. Darnell McDonald, LF: 0-2 (K, F-8)
6b. Matt Szczur, LF: 0-1 (K)
7a. Chris Valaika, 1B: 0-2 (K, 5-3)
7b. Josh Vitters, 1B: 0-1 (F-9)
8a. Darwin Barney, 2B: 0-2 (4-3, K)
8b. Logan Watkins, 2B: 0-1 (1-3)
9a. John Baker, C: 0-1 (4-3, BB)
9b. Rafael Lopez, C: 0-1 (K)

1a. Emilio Bonifacio, 2B: 0-2 (F-8, K)
1b. Arismendy Alcantara, 2B: 0-0 (BB, F-7 SF, RBI)
2a. Justin Ruggiano, RF: 1-2 (K, HR, R, RBI)
2b. Jorge Soler, RF: 0-1 (BB, 4-3, R, SB)
3a. Anthony Rizzo, 1B: 0-2 (K, K)
3b. Casper Wells, LF: 0-0 (BB)
4a. Ryan Sweeney, CF: 1-2 (1B, K)
4b. Albert Almora, CF: 0-1 (P-2)
5a. Welington Castillo, DH: 1-2 (4-3, HR, R, RBI)
5b. Ryan Kalish, PH: 1-1 (1B, RBI)
6a. Donnie Murphy, 3B: 0-1 (K)
6b. Kris Bryant, 3B: 0-1 (BB, 6-3, R)
7a. Javier Baez, SS: 0-2 (K, P-6)
7b. Carlos Penalver, SS: 0-1 (K)
8a. George Kottaras, C: 1-1 (1B)
8b. Luis Flores, C: 1-1 (2B, BB, R) 
9. Chris Coghlan, LF-1B: 1-2 (5-3, 1-3 SH, 2B, RBI)

1. Eric Jokisch: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 2/1 GO/FO, 39 pitches (25 strikes)
2. Tsuyoshi Wada: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 1/1 GO/FO, 46 pitches (28 strikes)
3. Arodys Vizcaino: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 26 pitches (14 strikes)
4. Brian Schlitter: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 20 pitches (12 strikes)

1. Kyle Hendricks: 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 4/1 GO/FO, 30 pitches (22 strikes)
2. Chang-Yong Lim: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 2/0 GO/FO, 20 pitches (17 strikes)
3. Marcus Hatley: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 17 pitches (8 strikes)
4. Neil Ramirez: 0.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 23 pitches (11 strikes)  
5. Armando Rivero: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 14 pitches (10 strikes)

Rafael Lopez: 0-1 CS

Luis Flores: 0-2 CS



WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80's   


I had forgotten all about Matt Szczur. Wasn't Hendricks the guy some mainstream media clown was making Greg Maddux comps to? Or am I thinking of someone else.

88-91mph fastball, control pitcher with 4 pitches (plus change), simple/repeatable delivery, changes speed on his stuff, gets Ks, doesn't give up HRs, consistently talked up as a "thinking man" pitcher, not thought of as athletic or built for baseball (outside of being 6'3")...fits the bill on the surface.

the only thing he's missing is a McDonalds addiction...and a HOF career.

the texas rangers chicago cubs farm system is looking good. k.hendricks, c.villanueva, cj edwards, m.olt, n.ramirez...and a spare j.grimm to boot.

btw, the move of j.grimm to the pen is something i both look forward to and hoped would happen...i think that's where he belongs and his stuff will shine. as a starter he's way to conservative with his stuff out of the gate (and gets punished for it) trying to keep his arm in shape for later innings (imo).

What do you think Henkricks projects as or will his lack of stuff get exposed.

no idea. all i've heard and read is scouting reports, recaps, and musings from those who have seen him pitch. it's kinda hard to project guys (especially righty starters) who have "everything" except velocity even though this is a guy who legitimately has everything across the board except velocity.

it's a so-far-so-good thing, but he's not pitched to too many guys that could punish him 4-5+ batters out of 9 in a lineup.

Thanks, I think we are in the same boat. His results so far are encouraging, and people with less velocity have succeeded at the major league level. Let's hope he continues to get people out.

BOB R: Probably the best current MLB comp to Kyle Hendricks (presuming he continues to progress) is Doug Fister.  

Yeah, if even just one of these kids can push his way into the lineup this year, I'll be able to tolerate another punt season - as long as they pinky promise it's the last one. Especially since free agency is basically dead with all the good players getting locked up (See Atlanta and impending Angels/Trout deal).

I like this year's rumored draft strategy, too. Stock up on pitchers, but not make the first pick necessarily a pitcher. Have we depleted the Rangers' farm system yet? Or are there more trades to be had?

Roy Hobbs: "God I love baseball"

Cubster: "God I love Arizona Phil's first spring training writeup"

Amen. Spring is here. Arizona Phil's reports are the best!

"What You Need" (is a baseball fix). Lefty used to pitch for the Cubs. Season one, Episode 12.

We could have used that guy back in 2003.

WGN game today!

2 pm Central.

BP has the cubs farm system at #2 with a speeding bullet upward for 2015. The link is for their list of all 30 clubs:

State of the System: Thanks to a strong draft, clever trades, an aggressive acquisition plan in the international market, and developmental progress from some of the big names in the system, the Cubs became one of the strongest systems in the game.

Farm System Trajectory for 2015: Up. While its likely that several of the Cubs’ top prospects will get a taste of the majors in 2014, the majority of the talent will remain eligible for next season’s list, and if you add to the mix a high draft pick this June and an extreme amount of young depth ready to make their stateside debuts, the system could take over the coveted rank of number one in baseball.

The Cubs do something right.

Wow... It's been a long time.

Hopefully this is evidence that the Cubs have been doing many things right for the past few years. You know the whole trading short term assests for long term assets.

"Thanks to a strong draft, clever trades, an aggressive acquisition plan in the international market, and developmental progress from some of the big names in the system, the Cubs became one of the strongest systems in the game."

~fingers crossed~

Trib's Mark Gonzales makes a small boo-boo. Kyle Hendricks can't get any respect because he's got CJ Edwards on the brain::

Intrasquad highlights: Kyle Edwards, competing for the fifth spot, retired all eight batters he faced in an intrasquad game. Justin Ruggiano, Welington Castillo and Luis Valbuena hit home runs.

neat/semi-boring game...great catch by scuz...2 hits by castro (single, double)...damage done on w.wright and j.veras.

the park was packed.

"Cubs manager Rick Renteria said Thursday that Darwin Barney remains the team's starter at second base.

Emilio Bonifacio will see plenty of playing time at second but will function as a super utility player"

For when you need that disappointing PH strike out in the 8th inning? :)

Like the Cubs are going to be close in the 8th inning?

cubs getting destroyed...down 13-1 to LAA after 4.

rusin, j.mcdonald, j.sanchez torched.

d.barney 2-2 with a HR...lulz.

Cubs already in mid season form. Still nice to hear Pat Hughes voice.

k.bryant 2r HR on his 1st spring AB (a.almora was on 2nd with a double). he hit it off pitching powerhouse jarrett grube...31 year old career minor leaguer.

430ft to center.

Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
    should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?

    sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.

  • HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).  

    Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.

  • I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.

  • One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players. 

  • CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis  at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely. 

  • has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.

  • As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?

  • AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?

  • Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.

  • AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.

  • I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.

    But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.

  • Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.

    Jason deGrom -- oh, my.

  • Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.

    Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.

  • Considering how players reacted it seemed pretty accurate high and wide (to righties), but not so accurate low and in. I thought the strike zone by the ump was awful, but it was consistent and the Cubs never adjusted.

    Rizzo and Bryant need to have good at bats. They are really looking outclassed in these two games.

  • that game sounds fun as hell.

  • I was just wondering the same thing. I'd rather not see it at all. If it's inaccurate, it's a bad viewer experience. If it's accurate, it shows some shitty calling by the umpire.