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)

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)

1. Tyler Alamo: 0-3 CS, 1 E (see above)
2. Alberto Mineo: 0-1 CS


WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 90's


Hi Phil, had a good trip back. I keep up to date reading your reports everyday. When is Soler going back? Seems like he is all healed. Enjoyed being down there and seeing you. I will be keeping an eye on Kevin Brown. Bob

remember a split with Sox, Cubs still keep the Gulf Leak Cup

/it's the little things

BOB: Glad to hear you got back home safe & sound. The attendance at Riverview Park has really taken a hit since you left.

I thought Soler's last day here would have been Saturday since he played RF for seven innings and got six AB in six innings, but he was back out there again today at Maryvale, playing RF for nine innings and only hitting when the #3 slot in the batting order was due up.

His body language is saying "GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!"

There is nothing else in minor league system to replace Shitholz?

so will Barney be playing 12" or 16" softball next year?

I'm not sure he can hit a 16" out of the infield.

We'd probably be better off if we traded him in for the other Barney. They dinosaur one...

Glad to see fundamentals displayed on both sides of town tonite.

watched a ton of games this year and one thing that keeps popping up is replay requests are very commonly taking place at the same time a TV replay happens.

i get the impression that pretty much every team has a guy watching the game in the clubhouse who's yelling back to the dugout whether to challenge or not.

dunno if it's a good or bad thing since it leads to less challenges that shouldn't be made...but overall i wish the challenges would go away (at least until the playoffs).

That is what is happening.

...i want that job...

Ed Lynch doing it for the Cubs

I think the number of overturned calls says a lot about the quality of calls on the base paths and justifies the use of replay. I have no problem with the current system.

darwin barney hates the cubs, cubs fans, america, freedom, hopes, and dreams.

i called him darwin macias a few times...i think that's starting to become an insult to jose macias rather than an insult to barney.

ruh-roh, Cubs not getting no-hit streak in jeopardy, through 5 for Quintana

ninja breaks it up with his 3rd career double...leadoff one, too. woo.

that worked well, Ninja double to lead-off bottom of 6th. And Bonifacio sacrifices in the 6th FUCKING inning.

and lake rewards capt happy's stupidity

Lake sac fly to tie it.

See sac bunting works everybody...carry on.


Which former player was that quoted in the twitter box the other day as saying he thought the bunt lead to the most big innings?

either Mitch Williams or Harold Reynolds I believe

Both is correct as they share one brain

"cancel the post game show"
/asshole hawk

107 pitches for Samardzija through 8, bats for himself with 1 out in bottom of 8th because pitcher wins are important or something


back to back walks with 122 pitches and he gets another batter to pitch to?

that's interesting.

double play!

gets out of it with 126 pitches.

ground out, BB, BB..122 pitches

leaving him in

/Picard facepalm

and gets the double play on pitch #126...really wants that win. Thanks Garza!

Theo clears his throat
Jed grabs yellow pages looking under pages for "Managers"

Haha. Yeah there's no rhyme or reason to this guy. Like a little league manager.

So does Samardzija pitch in the 10th?

him or rondon are the only reasonable choices.

Pat & Ron disagreeing with the appeal result.

Tom Petty must be making a mint from MLB and Nfl reviews

this will be ninja's 13th start in a row without a win going back to last season.

t.wood pinch hitting...because every circus needs multiple sideshows.

Travis Wood ph to start 11

Race between Ventura and Ricky to see who mismanages to the loss

would someone please open up whatever magic binder of stats that will show renteria that w.wright isn't just a loogie...meh.

grimm and russell the rest of the way.

...and grimm blows it.

2-1 wsox...awesome.

make that 3-1 after a HBP to load the bases and walking a run home. awesome.

If you can shut down Rizzo and Castro, you can pretty easily beat this team, which is a shame because the pitching is pretty good.

Hard to score runs with half a lineup. Castro, Rizzo, Bonifacio, and Castillo are okay, especially since three of them play skill positions, but the rest have been awful. I'm just about as old and blue as Old and Blue, and I agree with him that it's time to play the guys who have some chance of playing for the Cubs in the future if they stop sucking: Olt and Lake. At-bats by Schierholtz, Barney, Valbuena, etc. are pointless. I realize those guys have to play some of the time because the rules require nine players in the lineup, but the less they play, the better I like it.

Renteria (that's where you go in Guadalajara to get a rototiller for the day) wants to ease Olt and Lake in. But Olt is 25, Lake 24. They're entering their prime years, and the time is now to find out whether that prime is good enough to play. It's not as if either one is the answer--if they are starters two years from now that probably means The Plan has failed--but it would be nice to watch five or six relatively young, mostly home-grown Cubs for awhile as we wait for the more highly regarded prospects to sort themselves out.

Exactly. And barring some injuries we don't know about (Olt's shoulder) he could just as easily be 'easing them out' of the big leagues with lack of playing time. Being on the righty batter / lefty pitcher side of a platoon is not exactly conducive to getting in a rhythm. The veterans are typically the ones that can handle the push pull emotional roller coaster of sitting and playing. I can't see how it helps Olt or Lake to think about their .163 batting average for 2-3 days between starts. Ricky, you are HELPING them adjust when you give them PT and confidence. Jesus Christos!

Well a tough righty on the bump for Sox tonite.

11.84 era/1.94 whip

Sit down Olt,Lake bat behind Shitholtz

There's no way Theo Jed like this. Right?

But probably trying to get sureholds and boni in on mid season trade action?

How's that working out for them? Schierholtz is doing a Darwin Barney impersonation. Valbuena could be a nice piece on a contender. Knows how to take a walk, is versatile in the field. He shouldn't be part of a lineup on a team trying to find its young core.

i like valbuena. i like him better when he's playing 2nd rather than 3rd even though his D is good at 3rd (because it gives olt a chance to play even though it's not been a good showing so far aside from the power).

valbuena's under control for 2 more seasons.

Me too. Valbuena should be at 2b ... Boni in CF.

The only difference-maker who is ready is Bryant, and there's no way they are starting THAT service clock THAT prematurely on a team THAT bad.

I wouldn't deem a 28% K rate and at very best okay defense as ready myself. Javier Baez did wonderful things in AA last year as well.

I wouldn't mind Vitters getting called up once he gets his hitting and on-base numbers back to normal for him. The Cubs have one home run from an outfielder this season not named Lake. Vitters just hit four in three games. That's different. Also, Vitters is ripe, like Lake was last year. I remember Macleod going to Iowa and scouting Lake and saying, He's just about there.

Recent comments

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  • 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.

  • My kids' 8:30pm (ET) bed time will be waived tonight (They are Rizzo & Castro fans). We'll get geared up in our Cubs apparel and will watch this as a family. I am stoked. Go Cubs!

  • Bryant: Base running adventures.

  • Remember Bryant's home-away splits, too.

    Wrigley: 21 HR, 59 RBI, .311/.408/.629
    Road: 5 HR, 40 RBI, .243/.333/.360

  • Good Lord this season has flown by so far. I need more Cubs gifs--the four on the article today are not enough. I need a 100 best moments of the season listicle of gifs.
    Rizzo: The slide, the catch.
    Russell: All the defense.
    Bryant: Pelting the video board.
    Soler: 125 MPH ground balls.
    Schwarber: DINGERS, surprising LF catches.
    Fowler: Walks, the many walks he should have had on 3-2 BS strike calls.
    Baez: That 3B play.
    Ross: Walk-up music? Bullpen appearance?
    Denorfia: Walk-off.
    Castro: Walk-offs.

  • No evidence other than 8 hits and 0 HR in 45 AB....

    I just think hitters like their routines -- think Boggs or Ted Williams -- and messing with that routine adds an element of change. I want my best hitters in their normal routines.