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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  • Trouble Boys, the Replacements bio, is a great option. I'm sure Chad loved it.

    Tito 1 hour 7 min ago view
  • Amen Brick. What's the point of following early-season games if you can't over-react to them? What, we should be reading books now?

    billybucks 1 hour 14 min ago view
  • "Weren't the National considered a near lock last year?"

    No, I think you're thinking of Radiohead, The 1975, or Bowie's last album.

    Although The National's Greatful Dead tribute is pretty cool.

    The E-Man 1 hour 24 min ago view
  • I don't think they're any kind of lock, though I do expect they'll make the playoffs.

    It's not like I'm glad they've gone 4-8. I just don't think it's time to be all that worried -- just like I didn't think they were going to keep playing .730 ball.

    Tito 1 hour 38 min ago view
  • vegas isn't a fan of the game because of how erratic and unpredictable it is.

    SF has recently won 3 world series many thought they weren't supposed to win...BOS won a world series recently that they weren't even supposed to be in the playoffs for...favored teams with huge wins have seen 1st round exists...fun times.

    crunch 1 hour 45 min ago view
  • I think they'll be ok too. But having watched this team since the mid-60s, I never think it's time to conclude, well, thank god the drought is over. I've seen/heard way too many people who follow the Cubs say glad we're finally going to win the Series this year. Please. Weren't the National considered a near lock last year?

    BobbyD 1 hour 57 min ago view
  • Best record in baseball and largest division lead.

    I'm jumping right now!

    Tito 2 hours 14 min ago view
  • Can we please stop pointing out how ridiculous it is to panic and start panicking in earnest?

    Brick 3 hours 38 min ago view
  • ,571 winning percentage in May.

    I think they're gonna be OK.

    Tito 5 hours 28 sec ago view
  • RAISIN: All I know is that Oscar de la Cruz is still shut down, and I don't know what his prognosis is, or what the plan is going forward.   

    Arizona Phil 7 hours 19 min ago view
  • Remember just two weeks ago, when "all" they had to do was play .500 ball the rest of the season and coast into the playoffs?

    BobbyD 7 hours 22 min ago view
  • Well I guess if pitchers can keep working the edges of the plate to perfection it will be a long season. But that doesn't seem likely. Rizzo finally, fully, snapping out of it would help.

    Old and Blue 9 hours 27 min ago view
  • If I didn't believe in coincidences (or science), I would apologize to Gordon Downie--one of my favorites. Sad news about a great talent.

    CTSteve 9 hours 35 min ago view
  • Hi Arizona Phil,

    Has there been any news on Oscar de la Cruz' health?

    Raisin101 16 hours 6 min ago view
  • bruh...

    crunch 17 hours 20 min ago view
  • O&B: Cease was apparently working on his off-speed pitches in his first & thrd innings, because in his second inning of work he just blew the D'backs away with high-velocity gas (that's when he hit 99-100 and struck out the side). 

    Arizona Phil 17 hours 39 min ago view