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
2nd in defensive WAR, NL.
6th in NL in RBI
Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.
Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.