A's Rally Hangs Loss on Cubs at Riverview Park
Gabriel Sanchez belted a bases-clearing three-run double to cap a four-run 7th inning, and Justin Higley singled twice, stole two bases, scored two runs, and drove-in another, as the Athletics rallied to defeat the Cubs 5-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.
Jeffrey Baez had three hits and Varonex Cuevas smacked a triple and an RBI single for the Cubs in a losing cause.
Jorge Soler (hamstring rehab) is still at Extended Spring Training, and (just like yesterday) he played RF for all nine innings in today's game. He had four Plate Appearances in the game, hitting a check-swing dribbler back to the pitcher on a 3-0 pitch in his first AB in the bottom of the 1st inning, walked on four pitches in the 4th, grounded out 5-3 in the 7th, and (representing the tying run) lined-out to right with runners on 1st & 2nd and out out in the 9th.
Veteran MLB OF Casper Wells (AAA Iowa 7-day DL) returned to game action today after missing about six weeks with knee and back issues. He batted five times in the game--once in each of the first five innings, going 1-4 with two infield pop outs, two fly outs (one of which was a run-producing sacrifice fly), and a line-drive single. For a player who has missed as much time as he has, he showed plus bat-speed and really nailed the ball with authority in three of his five AB, and showed good speed on the bases, too.
Wells was an NRI outfielder at Cubs MLB Spring Training, and probably would have been the Opening Day RF at Iowa if he hadn't started the season on the DL. He also probably would have been the logical candidate to replace Justin Ruggiano when Ruggiano went on the DL with his hamstring injury last month, because Ruggiano and Wells are very similar-type players.
RHRP Kyuji Fujikawa (2013 TJS rehab) and RHP Jesus Castillo (one of two pitchers acquired from Arizona in the Tony Campana deal) were scheduled to throw "live" BP on Field #5 prior to the game on Field #6. Both pitchers warmed up in the Field #5 bullpen, and while Castillo did throw his two "innings" (40 pitches total - 20 pitches in each inning), Fujikawa returned to the clubhouse after completing his warm-ups and did not throw BP.
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
X. Casper Wells, DH #1: 1-4 (P-6, F-8, P-4, F-7 SF, 1B, RBI)
NOTE: Wells batted third in the bottom of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings
1. Jeffrey Baez, CF: 3-4 (1B, 1B, L-8, 1B, PO)
2. Varonex Cuevas, 2B: 2-4 (3B, 1B, K, E-5, RBI)
3. Jorge Soler, RF: 0-3 (1-3, BB, 5-3, L-9)
4. Shamil Ubiera, LF: 0-4 (5-3, 6-4-3 DP, 4-3, 5-3)
5. Roney Alcala, DH #2: 0-3 (3-U, K, 6-3)
6. Elliot Soto, SS: 1-3 (P-2, F-9, 1B)
7. Adonis Paula, 3B: 0-3 (1-3, 5-4 FC, F-8)
8a. Eufran Vargas, C: 0-0 (BB, R)
8b. Erick Castillo, C: 0-2 (3-U, F-7)
9. Mark Malave, 1B: 1-3 (1B, 4-3, F-8, R)
1. Jose Paulino: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 4/4 GO/FO, 50 pitches (28 strikes)
2. Carlos Llano: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 2/1 GO/FO, 15 pitches (7 strikes)
3. Yomar Morel: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 7 pitches (6 strikes)
4. Greyfer Eregua: 1.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R (4 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 0/1 GO/FO, 43 pitches (27 strikes)
NOTE: Eregua's second inning was stopped with one out and runner at 2nd base
5. Francisco Carrillo: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 2/0 GO/FO, 28 pitches (19 strikes)
CUBS ERRORS: NONE
CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
1. Eufran Vargas: 0-1 CS
2. Erick Castillo: 0-1 CS
WEATHER: Partly cloudy & breezy with temperatures in the 80's
Now we're all Theo-believers, where were you when he signed Edwin Jackson? Or how about trading away DJ Lemehaiu? And not signing Samardzija to an extension? Or not pursuing Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols? Or signing Lester? Or trading away Cashner, Dempster, Feldman, etc?...I think I'm losing the narrative here.
So his deal runs through 2021? Which pretty much coincides when all these guys are due to hit free agency.
"Terms of the deal were not disclosed."
Theo inks five year extension
PC tonite at PNC
Not as a major factor, but could be a tie-breaker. But, yeah, on performance and experience, it's Coghlan.
Arrieta’s 2.85 ERA would be good enough to lead 26 other teams. He's 3rd on #Cubs behind Hendricks (1.99) and Lester (2.28)
Meanwhile on the SouthSide
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?