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).
Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.
Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.
Think Baby Maddux.
Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.
Kyle is on the far left.
I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.
Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.
That was good!
Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.
My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.
Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.
Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.
How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?
Call me lost.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.
O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already.
I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.
I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.