One Angel throws "live" BP, others drop "live" game
Kyler Burke lined a game-tying RBI single to CF with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, and Roberto Sabates followed with a line-drive game-winning RBI single to LF, as the EXST Cubs rallied to edge the EXST Angels 9-8 this morning in a "Rush Hour Special" (9 AM start) at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.
The Cubs won despite committing five errors, including two by pitcher Israel Camacaro on consecutive sacrifice bunt attempts in the top of the 9th inning (Camacaro also hit two Angels batters with pitches, including one on the neck just below the lower jaw), and one each by 3B Junior Lake (overthrow), SS Jose Made (bobble), and 3B Josh Vitters (overthrow).
Vitters actually entered the game as a "defensive replacement" (he still has some pain when swinging the bat), and had a total of two chances at 3B, both ground balls.
He air-mailed the throw over the first-baseman's head for an error on the first one, and the second one almost turned out to be an error, too, except for an outstanding play by 1st baseman Drew Rundle, who caught the Vittersation while crossing the bag such that he had to drag his right foot over the base as he fell into foul territory.
Vitters reminds me of another top Cubs 3rd base prospect from the recent past by the name of David Kelton. Like Vitters, Kelton also had a scatter-gun arm, the only difference being Vitters still might improve, while Kelton (I believe) is out of baseball.
That said, the Cubs really might want to start to think a little bit about moving Vitters to 1B or maybe RF (unless his arm becomes a hindrance in the outfield, too). The Cubs probably waited too long to move Kelton to another position, because by the time they did, his defensive problems had affected his hitting, too. Hopefully they won't make the same mistake with Vitters.
On the offensive side of the ball, Kyler Burke, Junior Lake, and Jose Made had three hits a piece, and Lake also had three RBI. Additionally, Roberto Sabates had two RBI hits, and mighty mite Dwayne Kemp slammed two doubles off the LF fence (and both were near-home runs).
While the EXST Cubs were playing the EXST Angels on Field #3, RHP Angel Guzman and ex-OF (now LHP) Luke Sommer were throwing "live" BP on Field #2 to some of the hitters who weren't in the EXST Cubs starting lineup (Nelson Perez, John Contreras, and Bryan Jost).
Guzman threw 20 pitches, once again hitting 94 MPH with his fastball. The main difference between this outing and the last one was that this time Guzman threw about 2/3 strikes (13 strikes and 7 balls), while last Monday he threw only 50% strikes.
Although Luke Sommer was converted to pitcher just a couple of weeks ago, it's not like he hasn't done it before. Sommer was a two-way player (P-OF) in high school in Canby, Oregon, and so he already had a feel for pitching. He just hadn't done it in a while. (He played OF at the University of San Francisco and last year at AZL Cubs).
I guess Sommer would probably be best-described as a "soft-tossing lefty," but you can see he has a really nice curve ball (his slider sucks, though), he knows how to throw a change-up, and his fast ball has some sink to it. But it's still way too early to tell if he has what it takes to be a pitcher in pro ball.
While Alvaro Sosa caught Guzman's "live" BP session, newly-minted catcher Robinson Chirinos (who was a utility infielder at AA Tennessee just a week ago) had the honor to catch Luke Sommer's first "live" BP. I'm sure it was a thrill for both of them, something they will not soon forget.
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. George Matheus, DH #1: 1-3 (R, BB, HBP)
2. Kevin Soto, RF: 1-5 (R, SB, CS)
3. Dwayne Kemp, 2B: 2-4 (R, 2 2B, HBP, CS)
4a. Kyler Burke, 1B-LF: 3-5 (RBI, 2 R, 3B, K)
4b. Nelson Perez, PR: 0-0 (R)
5. Roberto Sabates, DH #2: 2-5 (2 RBI, 2B, R, K)
6. Drew Rundle, LF-1B: 0-2: (R, BB, HBP, 2 K)
7a. Junior Lake, 3B: 3-4 (3 RBI, 2B)
7b. Josh Vitters, 3B: 0-0
8. Carlos Perez, C: 0-3 (RBI-SF, K)
9. Jose Made, SS: 3-4 (R)
10. Cesar Salazar, CF: 1-3 (BB)
1. Julio Pena - 3.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (1/7 GO/FO)
2. Dionis Nunez - 2.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP (1/2 GO/FO)
3. Jake Muyco - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP (3/2 GO/FO)
4. Israel Camacaro - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 2 HBP, 1 WP (3/2 GO/FO)
1. Junior Lake (E5 overthrow to 1st base)
2. Jose Made (E6 bobble at SS)
3. Josh Vitters (E5 overthrow to 1st base)
4. Israel Camacaro (E1 overthrow to 3rd base on sac bunt attempt)
5. Israel Camacaro (E1 overthrow to 1st base on sac bunt attempt)
Carlos Perez: 1-1 CS, and picked runner off third base 2-5.
OUTFIELD ASSIST: Kevin Soto, threw out runner 9-5 trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on a single to RF.
WEATHER: Overcast with temperature around 70, breezy, and with rain imminent. (In fact the rain started about an hour after the game ended, and it's supposed to rain for about 36 hours, with snow expected on the Mogollon Rim between Flagstaff and Show Low).
ATTENDANCE: 4 (the crowd was probably kept down due to the threatening weather conditions).
Everytime I recall Szcur's bne marrow donation to a stranger, it makes me smile:
If Matt is out will Kawasaki get the call-up? Or "Shane"?
"Matt Szczur will undergo an MRI on his right hamstring on Tuesday."
One of the reasons I think Maddon is a great manager -- he has changed the conversation on Baez from HR & strikeouts to great defense, versatility and an all-around good ballplayer. He rarely talks about his offense, which is the only thing anybody used to talk about with Javy. He took a lot of pressure off the kid, and he seems to have responded.
Good pitching and some nifty D tonight -- nice win.
In case you didn't see it -- it was the Little League play where the guy on first gets caught in a rundown on purpose and the guy on third tries to score. It worked.
Gotta love the Pirates pitcher intentionally hitting Zobrist, then allowing Zobrist to score on a 2-out wild pitch.
Also, glad to see Zobrist coming around with RISP after my remarks last week. Heh!
ESPN reporting heyward day-to-day with an injured wrist
ESPN game tonight, btw.
Cardinal way #48
"negligent transmission of STDs"
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Twitterverse reporting that Heyward is dealing with a sore right wrist
Cardinal way #47
See ya on parrot chat
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.