A's Extra Bases Too Much for Cubs to Overcome at Riverview Park

Christhian Perez tossed four innings of one-hit shutout ball in relief, Robert Martinez hammered an RBI triple and a double and scored a run, Chris Wolfe drilled two RBI singles, and Brett Vertigan smacked a solo home run, leading the Athletics to a 5-2 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Rashad Crawford belted an RBI triple and a single, stole a base, and scored a run for the Cubs in a losing cause.

RHPs Trevor Graham and Erick Leal "piggy-backed" for the Cubs and threw a combined 7.2 IP, allowing all five runs (four earned), 10 hits (including two doubles, two triples, and a home run), and two walks, with nine strikeouts. 

The way things are playing out so far at EXST, it appears very likely that Graham and Leal will form 2/5 of the Boise starting rotation when the NWL season commences next month, with LHP Tyler Ihrig and RHPs Trevor Clifton and Zak Hermans being other 3/5 (at least until one or two of the better college pitchers selected by the Cubs in next month's First-Year Player Draft get stretched-out to start). 

The Cubs have now lost six straight Cactus League EXST games, and after thirty games (halfway through the Cactus League Extended Spring Training schedule), the Cubs record stands at 11-18-1. 

Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):

1. Jeffrey Baez, RF: 0-2 (L-7, BB, BB, F-7, 2 R)
2. Rashad Crawford, CF: 2-4 (1B, 3B, P-6, K, R, RBI, SB)
3. Oliver Zapata, LF: 0-3 (K, F-9 SF, 1-3, K, RBI)
4. Rony Rodriguez, 1B: 0-2 (F-9, HBP, 5-3, BB, SB)
5. Mark Malave, C: 0-3 (BB, 4-3, P-3, 4-3)
6. Dalfis Ortiz, 2B: 1-4 (K, K, 2B, K)
7. Tyler Alamo, DH: 1-4 (F-9, 4-3, 6-3, 1B)
8. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 0-4 (4-3, K, F-9, K)
9. Bryant Flete, SS: 0-4 (K, 3-U, 4-3, 4-3)

1. Trevor Graham: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 2/6 GO/FO, 52 pitches (30 strikes)  
2. Erick Leal: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 1 BALK, 3/2 GO/FO, 68 pitches (44 strikes)
3. Alberto Diaz: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 2/1 GO/FO, 14 pitches (10 strikes)

SS Bryant Flete - E-6 (missed catch - dropped line drive allowed batter to reach base safely)

Mark Malave: 1-1 CS, 1 PB


WEATHER: Mostly sunny with a few scattered clouds and temperatures in the 80's  


Kalish, CF
Valbuena, 2B
Rizzo, 1B
Castro, SS
Schierholtz, RF
Castillo, C
Coghlan, DH
Olt, 3B
Lake, LF

with Hoffman out and little chance that Rodon, Aiken and Kolek don't go top 3, all kinds of name associated with Cubs now.

Keith Law mentioned Erick Fedde (RHP - UNLV...was drafted by Padres in 2011 as well)


BA throws out LHP Brandon Finnegan (TCU)



Saw a Nick Gordon mention today as well and Alex Jackson...and Tyler Beede has some connections with Derek Johnson


Are any of those guys Kris Bryant clones?

there's no slam-dunk college extreme power bats this year expected to go early.

there's some "well rounded" college bats, but only a few are expected to go top-10. it looks to be a pitching-heavy top of the draft.

OF Bradley Zimmer has some buzz. But he lacks that extreme power.

tyler beede's stock keeps falling. i was pulling for the guy earlier this year, but he's delivered some sketchy performances in between some gems. he's really been scuffling lately.

UNLV RHP Erick Fedde won't pitch this weekend either due to a tender elbow.

Erick Fedde bites the dust. TJ surgery...


Cubs board blowing up a bit (per Law)?

ok, the Cubs one good hitter is done for awhile. I'll tune in again in a few innings.

Assuming Soler isn't limping around again from something in another week, that is a pretty vicious 1-2 punch for Tennessee.

it'll be even more amazing when baez gets moved back to AA...hahaha...i hope that's just a joke.


Hey Phil! Is this team really young or are they just not very good? Kind of wondering what you think? How does the talent level compare to previous seasons? It just seems like there is almost no one to get excited about which seems different than years past but I am not sure if I am remembering this season vs the fall recaps you do. Thoughts???

CACUBFAN: The 2014 squad is the youngest and least-experienced Cubs EXST team I have ever seen. The two best prospects (Gleyber Torres and Eloy Jimenez) just turned 17, and 27 of the 60 players presently active at EXST played in the DSL or VSL last season (or as in the case of Jimenez and Torres, did not play anywhere).

Also the team lacks power. The 2014 EXST Cubs have hit just two HR in 30 Cactus League EXST games. Just by comparison, the 2012 EXST Cubs hit 24 HR in 55 Cactus League EXST games, and the 2013 EXST Cubs hit 19 HR in 55 Cactus League EXST games. (Cactus League EXST opponents hit 17 HR against the Cubs in 2012 and 16 HR against the Cubs last season). 

Ok. Thanks for the insight. That explains much of it.

Bryant doing Bryant things...

Kris Bryant just hit a ball that may not land for a looooooong time! His solo shot, his 9th of 2014, gives the Smokies a 3-2 lead in the 5th

rizzo doing rizzo things.

it'll be nice when the team is more than rizzo + supporting cast of bit players...and the supporting cast of starters who should be bench players are bench players again.

"and the supporting cast of starters who should be bench players"


Tony Four Sacks

Bears draft CB Kyle Fuller - Virginia Tech

arrieta removed after 4 innings and 82 pitches...went 82 pitches in his last start...went 96 pitches in his last minor league tuneup before that.

olt...grand slam.

dude has power...and can play D...now let's get consistency everywhere else.

His swing is crazy the more you see it ... Like he's kind of dragging a tree through the strike zone. Big fat bat and hands always seem to be pulling the bat.

it's part of the reason i don't think he'll ever hit for much average, though i expect him to do better than what he's doing right now. i see him as a .250/.330-ish avg/ob% type, but with the upside of playing good D at 3rd and being able to hit 25+ HR. he swings hard and it's not wild, but it's not precise.

you can stick that at 3rd and deal with it until it's time to pay him over $10m a year multi-year (if he ever develops enough talent to become a guy you'd pay that kind of loot, multi-year...he's still got things to prove).

If he learns how to hit, he could be something special. I want this kid playing every day, and see what Mueller can do with him. Right now, he seems to always be swinging for the fences. Early in the year he did hit that rather awesome opposite field homer and in that case he seemed to just be going with the pitch. For all we know he's up there hacking because he figures it's the best he can do timing wise until he can see more pitches on an every day basis. It really is sheer idiocy to not have him in there every day. The argument that the other journeymen should be in there, at all, at third, is ludicrous. Why try to get more ABs for guys who are going to get you low level prospects at best?

Yeah. He is 1 behind Rizzo in HR and also 2nd in RBI on the team. I'd like to see him up there and settling in too ... Maybe he'll always have that caveman hack but I'd like to see if he can relax and go opposite field once in a while too.

will find out in his next start, next week.

/hopefully I'm wrong

weren't his first 2 HR's to right field? I remember one against Pittsburgh at least.

spray chart shows 2 at least (although seems to only show 4 HR's total)


One was not just opposite field but it looked like he really went with the pitch to just try to drive it, not necessarily trying to clobber it out of the park. Lots of times he seems to be trying for a home run. That's just inexperience. I think the guy can hit, we just need to see him in there every day to find out for sure.


according to the MLB Network, ninja is not happy about the front office wanting to talk to him about his pitching (specifically his last appearance, and pitch counts) stating...more or less...that the front office needs to mind it's own business and let himself + the people wearing uniforms worry about that rather than the suits.

According to the local media yesterday, ninja and the front office are on the same page regarding this. Throwing 126 pitches is ok occasionally, but not all the time. He is a well conditioned and experienced athlete, knows the limitations of his body, blah blah blah. Also, if the front office wants to talk to someone, the should start with the fucking manager.


It appears Crawford's bat is coming alive as of late. Maybe it is all coming together for him.



Instead, think of Jon Daniels and the Texas Rangers. Daniels became the general manager of the Rangers in 2005 and soon after rebuilt the team by discarded expensive, older players (Mark Teixeira, Adrian Gonzalez, Chris Young) for younger players (Neftali Feliz, Alvis Andrus, Akinori Otsuka) and the Rangers invested heavily in their farm system.

Teixeira was 27, Gonzalez 23 and Young 27 at times of trade...maybe not the best examples.

looks like there's an 18-minute interview with "They Killed" Kenney and Ricketts that I can't bring myself to watch.

well-played sir

this forbes (which is nothing more than a glorified blog roll for online content at this point) article is a weird one.

otsuka was in his mid-30s and the agonz trade that brought him (and a.eaton) over was awful.

the teix trade was awesome...a lot more awesome than the pittance the braves traded him for later.

Re: Samardzija pitch count non-issue/actual story



Samardzija tells front office to butt out although says that he actually never heard anything from front office, just maybe something a reporter said. Hoyer says it was never an issue and him and Renteria just said it's something to not do every time out which everyone agreed upon.

Ninja's just touchy that he doesn't have his 9-figure deal yet...

with the way other contracts are working out, we may be looking more at something like a 9 year, 10 figure deal

Recent comments

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  • deno ended the season well even though ajax heavily cut into a lot of his chances to play. it's either him or ajax. i'm a bit partial to deno, but whatever...at least ajax isn't hitting 2nd.

  • Agreed. And, with Hendricks on the mound, Cubs will probably need to score some runs to win -- why not start Soler for his bat and bring in Ajax for defense later?

    NEVER MIND....just re-read the lineup.

  • If the Cubs have the lead in the 8th, who pitches? Rodney? Travis? Yikes.

  • The Cubs had some good runs and nice winning streaks that propelled them to the playoffs. Austin Jackson wasn't part of that. I don't quite understand what it is about Jackson that they are so enamored with.

  • I think the strike zone was very inconsistent, but it's hard to blame the loss on the ump. They had chances and mistake pitches and just couldn't cash in. Lackey ran the ball inside and outside very effectively.

  • Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.

  • Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell

  • if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.

  • I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth

  • Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.

    Wtf is up w/that?!

  • Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...

  • I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.

  • Awesome stuff, Phil.

  • listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.

    That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.

  • it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
    should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?

    sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.

  • HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).  

    Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.