Hops Go Brew Crew's Way, Barley Defeat Cubs at Riverview Park
Jorge Ortega tossed six shutout innings, Tucker Neuhaus (Brewers 2013 Supplemental 2nd round draft pick - Wharton HS - Tampa, FL) drilled two RBI doubles, singled, and scored a run, Edgardo Rivera reached base four times (a single and three walks), stole a base, and scored three runs, and Luis Aviles smacked a three-run home run, as the Brewers outlasted the Cubs 8-6 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 walked twice, doubled, stole a base, and scored a run and Eloy Jimenez singled, doubled, and scored a run for the Cubs. In 17 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (67 PA), Baez is hitting 345/433/500, with two doubles, two triples, one HR, 5 RBI, 8 RUNS, 9/8 BB/K, and 12 SB (0 CS), and he leads the team in OBP, SLG, SB, BB, and RUNS, is second only to the departed Matt Scioscia in AVG (Scioscia hit 348 in 26 PA), and is one of only three EXST Cubs players to hit a HR (Tyler Alamo and Rashad Crawford are the other two).
Justin Ruggiano (Cubs MLB 15-day DL - hamstring) and Casper Wells (AAA Iowa 7-day DL - back spasms) continued their EXST rehab assignments in today's game, going a collective 0-8.
Ruggiano popped-out to short and flied out three times (including two near-HR hit to the warning track, one in left and the other in right-center), and Wells tapped back to the pitcher on a check-swing, popped out to the shortstop, lined-out to CF, and reached base on an E-5 (dropped infield pop fly).
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
1. Jeffrey Baez, DH #1: 1-2 (2B, P-6, BB, BB, R, SB)
2. Oliver Zapata, CF: 0-3 (F-7, K, BB, P-6, R, SB)
3. Justin Ruggiano, DH #2: 0-4 (F-7, F-8, P-4, F-9)
4. Casper Wells, RF: 0-4 (1-3, P-6, E-5, L-8)
5. Eloy Jimenez, LF: 2-4 (1-3, K, 1B, 2B, R)
6. Antonio Valerio, C: 1-4 (E-5, 5-3, 5-4 FC, 1B, R, RBI)
7. Gleyber Torres, SS: 0-2 (BB, 4-3, HBP, F-9, R)
8. Roney Alcala, 1B: 1-3 (6-4-3 DP, K, 2B, BB, R, RBI)
9. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 1-3 (1B, F-8, E-4, HBP)
10. Dalfis Ortiz, 2B: 0-4 (4-6 FC, K, 4-U FC, FC. 2 RBI, 3 SB)
11. Arnaldo Calero, DH #3: 0-3 (HBP, F-9, E-6, K)
1. Michael Heesch: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 18 pitches (13 strikes)
2. Erick Leal: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 8/1 GO/FO, 60 pitches (37 strikes)
3. Trey Lang: 1.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 4 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 3/0 GO/FO, 39 pitches (18 strikes)
4. Francisco Carrillo: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 3 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 1/3 GO/FO, 27 pitches (22 strikes)
CUBS ERRORS: 2
1. 3B Jesse Hodges - E-5 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)
2. 2B Dalfis Ortiz - E-4 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely - eventually scored unearned run)
CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Antonio Valerio: 0-2 CS
CUBS OUTFIELD ASSISTS:
1. CF Oliver Zapata - threw out baserunner 8-2 trying to score from 2nd base on single to CF
2. CF Oliver Zapata - threw out baserunner 8-5 trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on single to CF
WEATHER: Sunny & breezy with temperatures in the 80's
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?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?
Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump
Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.
j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.
felix pena, your turn.