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).
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.
The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.
If the ball didn't deflect off the pitcher's mound, the game wouldn't have ended. Montgomery did miss his location though, but if that same contact was made and went in any of direction, good chance of ground out if it doesn't get through.
If it was 1 night later, Chapman would be out there and we probably would be going to extras.
Also, If KB wasn't robbed of a HR, perhaps we would have won. We will never know. Nice play by Melky though.
The comparison isn't Chapman replacing Rondon. It's Chapman replacing Richard (hopefully) in the pen. Chapman's better.