Cubs Drown in Brewer Beer at Maryvale
Chad Thompson and three relievers combined to toss a four-hitter with 11 strikeouts and Tucker Neuhaus singled, walked twice, scored a run, and drove-in another, as the Brewers celebrated "Cinco de Mayo" with a 6-2 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Maryvale Baseball Park Field #7 (AKA "Paul Molitor Field") in Phoenix, AZ.
Jorge Soler drove-in both Cub runs with a 1st inning F-8 sacrifice fly to the warning track in CF and a 3rd inning two-out RBI ground-single through the box, and Rashad Crawford reached base three times (two BB and an HBP), stole two bases, and scored both Cub runs.
Soler also struck out (swinging) on a 2-2 breaking ball in the 5th and grounded out 6-3 in the 8th.
In 30 Plate Appearances over six Cactus League EXST games, Soler is hitting 200/267/240 with five hits (four singles and a double), five RBI, two sacrifice flies, no walks, three HBP, six strikeouts, and one stolen base.
Unlike the other 14 Cactus League teams, the Brewers play EXST games against teams from both the East and West Divisions. The other 14 teams play games only against teams from their side of town (for example, other than games against the Brewers, the Cubs play only the "east-side" Angels, A's, Giants, Rockies, and Diamondbacks, and other than the five games they play with the Brewers, the White Sox play only the "west-side" Dodgers, Reds, Indians, Padres, Mariners, Royals, and Rangers). But because they are located between the two divisions, the Brewers play everybody, and today was the Cubs turn to go to Maryvale.
In EXST Cubs roster news, 1B Matt Scioscia and INF Trevor Stevens have been released.
The son of Angels manager Mike Scioscia, Matt Scioscia was acquired from the Angels in exchange for 1B-OF Trevor Gretzky in March. Because he did not make a full-season team's Opening Day roster, he was "left behind" at Riverview Park and was assigned to the Extended Spring Training squad at the conclusion of Minor League Camp.
Scioscia was one of several older and more-experienced players assigned to the Cubs EXST squad who serve as a "replacement cadre" in case of an injury to a player at Kane County, Daytona, Tennessee, or Iowa. (Infielder Giuseppe Papaccio has already spent time at Tennessee and Daytona this season covering for injuries). By having ready-reserve replacements available at EXST, the Cubs do not have to sign a minor league free-agent every time a position players goes on the DL at KC, Daytona, Tennessee, or Iowa. They just temporarily move-up one of the replacemernt guys from Riverview Park.
Unfortunately for Scioscia, the Cubs are well-fixed at 1st base at both KC and Daytona (with Jacob Rogers and Danny Canela at KC, and Dan Vogelbach and Rock Shoulders at Daytona), C-1B-3B Taylor Davis and IF-OF Anthony Giansanti can fill-in if anything happens to Dustin Geiger at Tennessee, and the Iowa Cubs have a number of players who can play 1B (Lars Anderson, Chris Valaika, Jonathon Mota, and Edgar Gonzalez). So Scioscia wasn't going to get moved-up even if a "full-season" 1st baseman went on the DL, plus just by being at Extended Spring Training he was (inadvertently) taking AB away from younger players, even though he himself was actually performing very well.
In fact, Scioscia was hitting a robust 348/423/391 in 26 Plate Appearances, was one of the EXST Cubs leading hitters (second in Batting Avg only to Roney Alcala, who is hitting .400), and was in the midst of an active seven-game hitting streak at the time of his release. What hurt Scioscia was his age (he's 25), the fact that he plays a position (1st base) that requires at least a little bit of slugging (although he is a big guy, Scioscia really has no power), and that he is an extremely slow runner (he was thrown-out trying to advance from 2nd to 3rd on a single to LF in an EXST game last month). Although Scioscia played both 1B and catcher when he was in the Angels system, the Cubs played him only at 1B.
Trevor Stevens was signed as a Non-Drafted Free-Agent out of Northwestern University last summer to provide infield depth for the AZL Cubs (he hit 257/388/329 in 26 AZL games), but he was not invited to post-season Instructs and he probably would have been released at the end of Minor League Camp this past March if he hadn't suffered a broken hand in Spring Training. Just like a sick prisoner on Death Row who can't be executed until he has recovered from the flu, Stevens wasn't released until he was healthy and ready to return to action. (He had been serving as a 1st base coach for the EXST Cubs while on the injured list).
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only)
1. Rashad Crawford, CF: 0-1 (BB, HBP, BB, K, 2 R, 2 SB)
2. Oliver Zapata, DH: 2-4 (1B, 4-3, 1B, F-9, 2 SB)
3. Jorge Soler, RF: 1-3 (F-8 SF, 1B, K, 6-3, 2 RBI)
4. Rony Rodriguez, 1B: 0-4 (K, K, K, 5-3)
5a. Tyler Alamo, C: 0-3 (L-3, K, 4-3)
5b. Alberto Mineo, C: 0-1 (P-5)
6. Gleyber Torres, SS: 1-4 (K, 1B, 4-3, F-9)
7a. Dalfis Ortiz, 2B: 0-3 (2-3, K, F-7)
7b. Bryant Flete, 2B: 0-1 (1-3)
8. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 0-2 (P-4, BB, K)
9. Charcer Burks, LF: 0-3 (K, F-8, K)
1. Tyler Ihrig: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 5 K, 3/1 GO/FO, 39 pitches (27 strikes)
2. Adbert Alzolay: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 2 WP, 0/1 GO/FO, 30 pitches (15 strikes)
3. Josh Davis: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 5/1 GO/FO, 33 pitches (21 strikes)
4. Zak Hermans: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 2 WP, 1 PO, 3/2 GO/FO, 46 pitches (30 strikes)
CUBS ERRORS: 3
1. C Tyler Alamo - E-2 (overthrow on stolen base attempt at 3rd base allowed runner to score unearned run)
2. 2B Dalfis Ortiz - E-4 (missed catch on attempted FC allowed baserunner to reach 2nd base safely)
3. SS Gleyber Torres - E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
1. Tyler Alamo: 0-3 CS, 1 E (see above)
2. Alberto Mineo: 0-1 CS
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 90's
It looks like the Cubs "post-season clinch number" is 25 right now: http://lyle.smu.edu/~olinick/riot/national_league.html
Is the magic number 25 or 26?
Agreed, to my untrained eyes he does look better than last season. Not a finished product yet and hopefully he will continue to improve, but if he plays solid middle infield defense he will stick in the majors.
Phillips smiled at Strop and gave him a thumbs up.
That pitch Schwarber hit is the kind he's been missing a lot of lately. When Schwarber struggles it reminds me of how hard it is to hit baseballs at that level. It doesn't seem like they've found a weakness, just that he isn't seeing the ball that great and just missing. Same with Rizzo the last few days.
I missed it. What did he do?
JOHN B: Pierce Johnson and Rob Zastryzny were likely 2015 AFL candidates ( I mentioned them as likely candidates to get assigned to the AFL in an article about the AFL last month) because they are starting pitchers who missed part of the season due to injuries and they need to accrue more innings. Guys who have been pitching regularly as starters have thrown too many innings to be considered, so it probably came down to Johnson, Zastryzny, and Duane Underwood Jr, with Underwood odd man out because he hasn't pitched above Hi-A.
extremely classy. i didn't see his reaction until the replay after the break. baseball needs more fun in some areas and less of some 'unwritten rules' violations leading to angst.
Nice bounce back game for Grimm, and "well done" Dan Haren. We'll take that (almost) every time.
I have never been a Brandon Phillips fan, but that was a very classy way to handle Strop yelling at him after the K.
go cubs go
You know you like it
AZ Phil: Any thoughts on the AFL Cubs? Some names on the list caught me by surprise.
"woo." - pedro strop