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
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80's
The floor is more valuable than the ceiling. It's the same reason we drafted Kris Bryant instead of Jon Gray.
Apparently the Yankees had the choice of either Gleyber Torres or Eloy Jimenez in the Chapman deal, and they chose Torres.
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...