Soler Leads Cubs to Victory at Riverview Park
Jorge Soler drilled an RBI double and later scored on an Oliver Zapata two-run single in the 1st, and singled and subsequently scored on an errant pick-off attempt in the 2nd, as the Cubs took advantage of eight errors to crush the Athletics 11-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.
Cub relievers retired the last 16 A's in a row to seal the victory.
At Extended Spring Training while rehabbing a right hamstring injury, Soler served as a DH and batted once in each of the first five innings. After the double (line-drive into the LF corner) and the single (hard-hit grounder through the 5.5 hole) in the first two innings, Soler reached base on an HBP in the 3rd (he was hit in the lower left back), and grounded out 5-3 in the 4th and 5th innings.
The A's committed all eight of their errors in the first three innings, and three of the miscues occurred on the same play in the bottom of the 2nd. It began with SS Jesus Lopez dropping a Ricardo Marcano pop fly in short left field for an E-6, then LF Matt Hillsinger made an errant throw trying to nail Marcano at 2nd base, and finally 1B A. J. Kubala airmailed a throw to 3rd base that allowed Marcano to come around to score the classic "Little League Home Run."
Prior to the Cactus League EXST game, RHPs Josh Conway, Greyfer Eregua, and Francisco Carrillo, and LHP Michael Heesch squared off in a three-inning "sim" game on Field #3.
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
X. Jorge Soler, DH #1: 2-4 (2B, 1B, HBP, 5-3, 5-3, 2 R, RBI)
NOTE: Soler batted 3rd in the bottom of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings
1. Rashad Crawford, CF: 0-3 (BB, 4-6 FC, F-8, 4-3, 2 R, RBI, SB)
2. Alberto Mineo, C: 1-4 (1B, F-7, K, 3-1, R, RBI)
3. Oliver Zapata, RF: 1-3 (1B, E-4, BB, F-7, R, 2 RBI, CS)
4a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST THREE TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
4b. Kevin Brown, DH #2: 0-0 (BB, R)
5. Adonis Paula, 3B: 0-4 (6-3, E-5, K, 1-3, R)
6. Gleyber Torres, SS: 1-4 (E-4, K, F-8, 1B, RBI)
7. Ricardo Marcano, LF: 0-2 (E6+E7+E3, BB, K, F-8 SF, R, RBI)
8. Mark Malave, 1B: 0-2 (E-5, F-7 SF, K, BB, R, RBI)
9. Bryant Flete, 2B: 1-2 (BB, K, 1B, R)
1. Tyler Ihrig: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 4 K, 4/1 GO/FO, 38 pitches (26 strikes)
2. Zak Hermans: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 1 GIDP, 3/4 GO/FO, 43 pitches (28 strikes)
3. Michael Wagner: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 1/2 GO/FO, 17 pitches (12 strikes)
4. Corbin Hoffner: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 0/2 GO/FO, 13 pitches (9 strikes)
CUBS ERRORS: 1
2B Bryant Flete - E-4 (throwing error while attempting to complete DP allowed batter to advance to 2nd base - eventually scored unearned run)
WEATHER: Sunny & very breezy with temperatures in the 80's
I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.
Awesome stuff, Phil.
listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.
That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.
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.
Brooksbaseball.net 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.