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
Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.
How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?
Call me lost.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.
O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already.
I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.
I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.
Enjoyable read on David Ross.
Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.
With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined).
BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.
If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).
As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).
I want my baseball team to win by playing better baseball. I don't want umps, fields, or fans to have anything to do with it.
Just with the chanting thing it worked to rattle Cueto last year where he dropped a ball and gave up a HR next pitch so you can't really hate on the fans for trying it again in this important of a game.
I felt the same way, too, but...
I was very disappointed with Pittsburgh fans. At Wrigley a few weeks ago, they were very obnoxious guests, the cockiness on Twitter, and what's the deal with chanting Arrieta's name during the game? Very bush league. Add that up with Rodriguez's poor sportsmanship and you quickly have a team that you don't mind beating 4-0 in a do or die game.