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
I think while I get you're saying with moving around a lot of baseball is very rhythm based and for many players moving around a lot could disrupt that. It's the same reason many players aren't cut out for phing or dhing since they need to be in the rhythm of the game to hit.
Of course then you have players like LaStella who are terrible as starters and should only PH. Really hope Madden doesn't get enthralled with him starting too much.
KKVG: Among the players at Extended Spring Training, Isaac Paredes is the most-impressive position-player from the Cubs 2015-16 IFA class (I'm not including OF Eddy Julio Martinez, because he skipped EXST and began the season at South Bend). Paredes has legit game power and handles himself well at SS, although I think he will likely eventually end-up at 2B or 3B (maybe not this year, but down-the-line). It is possible that Paredes will get assigned to Eugene (and skip AZL) next month, and I would say he's the only one of the Cubs 2015-16 IFA position players who could.
Having been a mediocre HS player, I would think at a professional level - and in their 20's - doesn't it sound actually FUN to have a chance to play different positions in a 162-Game, uber-long season?
It has to take some of the monotony out of the job and keep you on your toes.
In fact, the best manufacturing floor job satisfaction training theories include job rotation as a way to improve employee satisfaction.
I hope Maddon can keep it going.
(It's usually KK, because his DNA is more like ours.)
Not just Maddon, but the organization as a whole. If the rumors are to be believed, they did a good job of letting Baez learn that he needed to change his approach, and Baez has done a good job listening to their instructions an adapting. Hopefully the same is true of Alomar, who is ripping up AAA.
Previous management teams haven't been as good at this (e.g. Corey Patterson).
Man, this team makes you greedy. Going into Pittsburgh -- with Cole vs. Hammel Game 1 -- I was hoping for 2 out of 3. After winning the first 2 games 14-3, I now want a sweep. Same thing happened in STL. Very, very fun.
Repeating myself, but I give Maddon a lot of credit for Baez's success. Instead of talking about monster HRs and high K totals, he has talked up his defense, versatility and being a "special" player. The kid seems to have responded.
BOB: The attendance has taken a big hit since you left.
K-DUB: I think the Cubs might consider skipping Dylan Cease past South Bend and starting him at Myrtle Beach next season, especially if he gets some time at South Bend this season and pitches well there. As a southern kid with TJS history, pitching at Myrtle Beach in April is probably a lot more attractive than pitching in South Bend, but Cease can't go to Myrtle Beach if he isn't ready for Hi-A.
His story makes him someone I completely root for to succeed but it's interesting that he's not succeeding in the way anyone thought when he was just a prospect. Great defense and contact instead of power. I think failing so glaringly and getting sent back down might have been the best thing for him and his ego.
He still swings at too many balls out of the strike zone but he's making a lot more contact on them which I think is helped by the less violent swing. So we might not get all the HRs we were expecting but I'll gladly take what he's giving.
"KingKongVsGodzilla"? So - was there a winner?
Baez is looking like a pretty special player.
Love checking TCR for your writeups. Quick question - any of these 2015 positional IFAs stand out to you yet? I'm most specifically referring to Kwon, Sierra, Paredes, and Amaya, but I know there's a couple other guys from that class in EXST as well.
bored...looking at stats for the hell of it...
felix pena (26yo) moving to the pen in AAA is looking like an insanely good fit so far in a smallish sample size
13ip 4h 3bb 20K
remembering back to spring training he was regularly hitting mid-90s (though he didn't have a good spring stats-wise). as a starter in the minors he usually worked low-90s.
this could be an arm worth keeping an eye on even if he's only a 1-inning guy who was "demoted" to the pen to start the year.
Phil, historically this front office has been patient with their prep pitchers keeping their IP low and moving them one level at a time. I know I'm getting ahead of myself, and you may not be able to formulate an opinion on this, but you've seen a lot of pitchers over the years, so...
also, after tonight's loss, STL is 13-14.
also also, the wsox are 19-8.