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:

BLUE SQUAD LINEUP:
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)

WHITE SQUAD LINEUP:
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)

BLUE SQUAD PITCHERS:
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)

WHITE SQUAD PITCHERS:
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)

BLUE SQUAD CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Rafael Lopez: 0-1 CS

WHITE SQUAD CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Luis Flores: 0-2 CS

ERRORS: None

ATTENDANCE: 276

WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80's   

Comments

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.

http://vimeo.com/39941335

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.

https://baseballprospectus.com/article.php?article...

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

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  • The floor is more valuable than the ceiling. It's the same reason we drafted Kris Bryant instead of Jon Gray.

    John Beasley 4 min 16 sec ago view
  • Apparently the Yankees had the choice of either Gleyber Torres or Eloy Jimenez in the Chapman deal, and they chose Torres. 

    link 

    Arizona Phil 58 min 22 sec ago view
  • Chapman shouldn't be reserved anymore on 40 man.

    chitownmvp01 4 hours 49 min ago view
  • 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.

    chitownmvp01 4 hours 57 min ago view
  • 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.

    VirginiaPhil 8 hours 30 min ago view
  • 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.

    Old and Blue 10 hours 33 min ago view
  • If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.

    billybucks 19 hours 36 min ago view
  • Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."

    billybucks 20 hours 19 min ago view
  • This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.

    Charlie 20 hours 30 min ago view
  • 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.

    The E-Man 20 hours 36 min ago view
  • 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.

    billybucks 20 hours 40 min ago view
  • new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup

    crunch 20 hours 51 min ago view
  • 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.

    blockhead25 20 hours 57 min ago view
  • ...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.

    crunch 21 hours 12 min ago view
  • I'm liking this rookie Nathan.

    CTSteve 21 hours 13 min ago view
  • Richard DFA'd. Meh...

    The E-Man 1 day 4 min ago view