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

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  • Gordo tweeted:

    "I'm pretty comfortable moving all over. I like it that way, too. It keeps me on my toes and ready each and every game.”--Bryant last week.

    So it could be he's just saying the right things, but I believe him.

  • Which means if you shut this place down, and the Cubs go back to their old ways, we will all have to hunt you down, kidnap you, and strap you to a chair to listen to Tim McCarver and Joe Buck repeatedly, with dollops of Hawk Harrelson thrown in for good measure.

  • You got a problem with David Ross?

  • La Stella (3B) batting fifth. Could be the La Stella game.

  • [Drafts plans for CTSteve idol.]

  • Pitcher batting 9th. Bryant in left, Schwarber in right.

  • i'm not ready for it to end.

    i'm not ready for "well, they weren't supposed to make it this year..."

    i'm not ready to talk about the off-season yet.

  • I can relate to that, E-Man. I don't think I'll enjoy watching a high-stakes away game like this on TV. I've watched a lot of games this season after they ended or at least after the Cubs got out to a decent lead. Since they usually win, I've gotten to see a lot of baseball.

    But in this case I think we should probably all watch the game live, and not let the pressure exceed the pleasure.

  • Remember, as I told my wife when our kids went off to college -- this is a good thing! Enjoy it!

  • Fully agree -- can't prove it. But, the numbers are what they are, and a lot of his OF games have come in Aug & Sept, when he has been killing the ball otherwise. And, knowing how baseball players love routine, it seems logical that it could at least be a a factor.

    Really, really, really hope I'm wrong on this.

  • Indeed! It has been absolute blast -- from getting swept by the Phillies to sweeping the Giants, I have always enjoyed being part of this group. Hope we have a lot more games to talk about this year.

  • Yes, cheers to me! I've noticed a fairly strong correlation between my tenure and Cubbie victories. 

    And thanks to Michael for our new diggs--and to y'all for sticking around! 

  • CHEERS to CT Steve for keeping this alive in 2015. Who would have thought that the season would have been so successful to this point? Thank you CT STEVE!

    I think I may be too nervous to watch the entire game. I will probably watch in bits and pieces - and constantly check MLB App. I will be like Blockhead: Nervous Nellie.

  • You can't prove the performance is because he played the OF. You just can't. Sorry.

    BTW, Bryant hit .168 in July playing 3B exclusively.

  • oh man, early on it seems like he made at least 1 stupid baserunning blunder per game and almost every single one turned into a positive for the cubs. it was magical.

  • Not surprised about Lester but bit surprised about Hendricks. Guessing that if something happens to Arietta right away they go to Lester but if they've burned relievers and are in extra innings they go to Hendricks.