Camp Day at Fitch Park
As many of you probably know by now, Thursday is "Camp Day" at Extended Spring Training. This usually means an intrasquad game, and sometimes a pre-game "live" BP session or simulated game involving rehabbing pitchers.
And such was the case today.
The Cubs did play a five-inning intrasquad game this morning on Fitch Park Field #2 (which ended in a 3-3 tie), but prior to the game, LHP Mark Pawelek (ankle) and RHP Jim Henderson (shoulder) squared off in a two inning (30-pitches per pitcher) simulated game on Field #1.
Each pitcher threw 15 pitches per "inning," with the hitters (Bryan Jost, Kevin Soto, and Elvis Lara) remaining at the plate until they either walked, struck out, or hit a fair ball. Then after the pitcher finished his "inning," he would go sit on the bench and talk to EXST Cubs pitching coach Rick Tronerud while the other pitcher threw his 15 pitches.
Henderson (relief pitcher at AA Tennessee in 2007) looked very sharp, with good sinking action on his two-seamer and excellent boring action on his slider. How he felt afterward, I do not know. But he looked good.
Pawelek was a different story, though.
In his first inning, he could not command his hard stuff (fastball and slider) and threw ten balls and only five strikes. But in his second inning, he was at least able to throw his fastball over the plate (somewhat), and threw five balls and ten strikes. (He does not have control issues with his curve or change-up).
So just how wild is Pawelek? When left-handed hitting Bryan Jost stepped up to the plate to hit against Pawelek, Boise Pitching Coach Tom Pratt yelled to Jost: "What's the matter, big guy? You're looking kinda wobbly-kneed up there!"
And he did, too!
One thing for sure... Nobody is comfortable hitting against Pawelek. Not when even he doesn't know where the ball is going.
As for the EXST intrasquad game, rehabbing RHP Jon Mueller (not to be confused with fellow EXST RHP John Muller) got the start for Squad "B" and worked three strong innings. Mueller was a middle-reliever for Daytona last year before he went down with an arm injury,
Then LHP Arik Hempy (2007 17th round draft pick out of the U. of South Carolina) threw a couple of innings, and while his outing was not quite as strong as Mueller's, at least he didn't seem to have any trouble getting his arm loose. His breaking ball looked pretty good.
18-year old Australian LHP Cody Hams worked just one inning, and struggled with his control.
On offense, RF Nelson Perez (who hit the game-winning HR yesterday) had another big day, slamming an RBI double and an RBI triple, while also scoring a run.
2B Dwayne Kemp (hero of the Aruban Little League World Series team a few years ago) was also 2-3, with a triple and a run scored and an RBI single, and Leon Johnson tripled and scored and made a nice running catch in CF.
Here is the abridged box score for the five inning EXST intrasquad game
1. Dwayne Kemp, 2B: 2-3 (3B, RBI, R)
2. Alvaro Sosa, C: 1-3 (RBI, R, SB)
3. John Contreras, 3B: 1-3 (2 SB)
4. Bryan Jost, 1B: 0-2 (BB, 2 K)
5. Brandon Guyer, DH #1: 1-2
6. Elvis Lara, LF: 0-2
7. Gian Guzman, SS: 1-2
8. Kevin Soto, RF: 0-2 (2 K)
9. Leon Johnson, CF: 1-2 (3B, R)
10. Jose Guevara, DH #2: 0-1 (BB)
11. Jose Made, DH #3: 0-2 (GIDP)
1. Jeffrey Rea, DH: 1-3 (SB)
2. Roberto Sabates, C: 0-2 (R, BB)
3. Junior Lake, SS: 1-2 (R, BB, SB)
4. Nelson Perez, RF: 2-3 (2B, 3B, 2 RBI, R)
5. Luis Bautista, 1B: 1-2 (2B, RBI)
6. Luke Sommer, LF: 1-2
7. Starlin Castro, 2B: 1-1 (SH)
8. Andres Quezada, CF: 0-1 (BB)
9. Josh Vitters, 3B: 1-2
1. Johan Gonzalez - 3.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 0 K
2. Cody Hams - 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 WP
1. Jon Mueller - 3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K
2. Arik Hempy - 1.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP
3. Jose Severino - 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 0 K
Vitters - 1 (bad throw to 1st)
Lake - 3 (two bad throws to 1st, one misplayed groundball)
G. Guzman - 1 (bobbled ground ball)
Sabates (0-3 CS - bounced every throw)
Sosa (0-2 CS)
WEATHER: Cool with temp around 70, and VERY breezy
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.
I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.
One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players.
CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.
Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.
As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?
AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?
Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.
AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.
I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.
But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.
Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.
Jason deGrom -- oh, my.
Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.
Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.