Game 43 Recap: Cubs 3, Cardinals 4

A(nother) tough loss.

Box Score, Play Log, Game Graphs

W - Rosenthal (2-1), late-inning drama, Cubbery, Cardinals pinch-hitting

L - Warren (3-1), wasting great starts, confidence

Things to Take from This Game

1. Lackey makes it look easy, until...

 Lackey worked briskly, threw strikes, and had a good fastball and swing-and-miss slider--he K'd five consecutivey, early in the game. This was the sort of bulldog or workhorse mentality, take your pick, that we were promised with his off-season signing. For the first 6.3 innings it looked like RBI singles by Montero and Rizzo, and an RBI fielder's choice by Russell would hold up. Lackey finished with 4 hits and 1 walk allowed, and 9 strikeouts.

2. ... Adams continues Cards pinch-hit heroics

Take a look at the game graph, which nicely illustrates the late-inning drama. See that jagged move upward? Adams's pinch-hit game-tying home run moved the Cards' Win Expectency from 15.8% to 52%. It was really quite stunning, in the context of how effortlessly Lackey had been cruising along.

3. Grichuk saddles Warren with the loss.

Continuing the theme set by Lackey, Warren looked dominant for his first five batters, only to jar us out of whatever remaining sense of confidence we might have had. He rolled a slider, and the badly slumping Grichuk hit out to right for the game-winning home run.

Ademan Blast Leads Cubs to Victory

Aramis Ademan (2015 IFA - Dominican Republic - $2M bonus) blasted a three-run home run high over the RF fence and onto the south bank of the Red Mountain Freeway to cap a four-run sixth inning, as the Cubs rallied to defeat the Diamondbacks 5-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #5 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

Acquired by the Cubs from the Oakland A's for OF Chris Coghlan after the Cubs re-signed CF Dexter Fowler in February, RHSP Aaron Brooks (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL since Spring Training with a hip contusion) made his first Cactus League EXST game appearance, throwing one inning  (12 pitches - 8 strikes), and allowing no runs on two hits (a single and a double). His fastball velocity was 91-92 MPH, and he displayed a hard breaking ball.   

RHP Dylan Cease followed Brooks to the hill and worked three innings (63 pitches - 63% strikes), allowing three runs (all three earned) on five hits (two doubles and three singles) and two walks, with four strikeouts, and a 2/3 GO/AO. He also committed a two-base throwing error attempting to pick a runner off 1st base.  

Cease's fastball velocity sat consistently at 96-98 MPH, but he touched 99 twice and 100 once in the top of the third when he struck out the side (his only 1-2-3 inning). He also threw about a dozen curves (79-81 MPH) and about a half-dozen change-ups (82-84 MPH). He had trouble commanding his change-up (he bounced most of them), he hung a couple of curves that were hammered for line-drive hits, and he had trouble keeping his fastball at knee level (which is when it's virtually unhittable), leaving too many of his high-velocity offerings belt-high.  

Dylan Cease combined 2016 Cactus League EXST line (thru 5/23): 
6 games
2.95 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, .246 OppBA 
18.1 IP, 16 H, 6 R (6 ER), 9 BB, 25 K, 1 HBP, 0 HR, 2 WP, 2 PO, 1 BALK, 2 GIDP, 17/7 GO/AO, 307 pitches (61% strikes), 16.7 PITCHES-PER-INNING 

Prior to the EXST game on Field #5, RHSP Dallas Beeler (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL since Spring Training with right shoulder inflammation) and RHRP P. J. Francescon threw "live" BP on Field #4 (one inning and 25 pitches each).

Beeler was throwing in Cactus League EXST games last month and appeared to be close to moving-up to AAA Iowa, but then he was shut-down (mid-AB) in what was supposed to be his next-to-last rehab start on April 30th. So now it's back to square-one, with today's "live" BP outing his first step to get back to where he was last month. Barring any further medical setbacks, Beeler and Brooks should be in the Iowa starting rotation within about three weeks. 

Francescon was the closer at AA Tennessee last year and it looked like he would get a shot at advancing to AAA Iowa in 2016, but then he received a 50-game Drug of Abuse suspension from MLB last January that has left him throwing "live" BP, "sim" games, and intrasquad games at Extended Spring Training while he completes his "sentence." Francescon reminds me a bit of Rod Beck, with a pedestrian 88-90 MPH fastball used to set-up a dive-bomb splitter (his "swing & miss" pitch).   

Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only): 

All That Jazz at Talking Stick

Jazz Chisholm (2015 IFA - Bahamas - $200K bonus) drilled two triples and an RBI single and scored a run and RHSP Pierce Romero tossed three innings of shutout ball, as the Diamondbacks edged the Cubs 3-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action Saturday morning on Ramada Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.

Marcus Mastrobuoni doubled twice, walked, and scored a run and Kevonte Mitchell singled twice, stole a base, and scored a run for the Cubs in a losing cause. 

Mitchell also turned-in the Defensive Play of the Game, an inning-ending run-saving diving catch on the warning track in right-centerfield in the top of the 3rd. He also started an 8-6-2 relay that cut-down a runner at home who was attempting to score from 2nd base on a double off the CF Batter's Eye (the runner went back to 2nd base to tag up before realizing that the ball was carrying over Mitchell's head, thanks to a nice catch-fake by one-time HS hoops star Mitchell). 

On the negative side, Mitchell was thrown out 7-5 attempting to advance from 1st to 3rd on a line-drive single to LF with two outs in the top of the 1st, thus making the third out of the inning at 3rd base.

So I guess you have to take the good with the bad.  

EXST Cubs RBI leader Isaac Paredes (2015 IFA - Mexico - $800K bonus) started his second consecutive game at 3B (he also played there in the intrasquad game on Thursday). It's very likely that he will eventually move to 3B (one scout who has been following the EXST Cubs projects Paredes as a catcher!), so the process to move him from SS to 3B may already have started. Paredes (who just turned 17 in February) is a VERY slow runner, but he has plus-HR & XBH power, he doesn't strike out a lot for a power-hitter (10% K-rate), and he has soft hands and a strong arm at SS (committing only one error so far in 15 Cactus League EXST games).   

Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only): 

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  • Amazing how much lower the production gets when Bryant runs into a mini-cold streak. He doesn't stay cold for long. If just one of Zobrist or, gulp, Heyward, gets hot, they oughta have one more really nice winning streak in them. Having a closer that you have absolute confidence in can't hurt.

    Old and Blue 42 min 6 sec ago view
  • I hope they hold onto Jimenez. Outfield depth is questionable, especially with McKinney, who struggled this year but still, gone.

    Old and Blue 53 min 7 sec ago view
  • You don't think he's improved? He looks completely different out there than he did when he first came up. The last I checked his K rate was in the low 20% range - 22-23 or so. When he came up it was 40%+.

    To me, what is scary about him if I'm the other guy is that he IS learning the strike zone. This guy could easily be the MVP someday.

    Old and Blue 54 min 18 sec ago view
  • So, playing .500 for the rest of the year puts them at 91 wins. You would think there is enough talent to do a little better than that, right?

    The E-Man 1 hour 13 min ago view
  • First team to 60 wins! Onward to 70, 80, 90 and 100!

    billybucks 9 hours 43 min ago view
  • I. Hate. The. Mets.

    billybucks 10 hours 11 min ago view
  • OK Marlins -- take 'em down. Fernandez, at home, tomorrow for the Fish.

    Gotta say, though -- as much as I can't stand them, the Cardinals have had some very impressive late-inning wins against premier closers.

    billybucks 10 hours 11 min ago view
  • Very impressive that he hit a 3-2 curve ball. Such a dynamic ballplayer. If he ever learns the strike zone....

    billybucks 10 hours 18 min ago view
  • If Jason Hammel doesn't get a potato chip sponsorship deal, somebody messed up. Attaboy, Jason!

    billybucks 10 hours 20 min ago view
  • I am looking forward to AChap facing the Cardinals.

    The E-Man 10 hours 28 min ago view
  • Sure is fun to watch them score finally. To think they were no-hit until the 7th...

    The E-Man 10 hours 40 min ago view
  • Got to admit it - it was comforting seeing Rondon come out for the eighth after just taking a two run lead ... And put the hammer down with a 7 pitch inning. Good stuff

    Eric S 10 hours 45 min ago view
  • GRAND SLAM RUSSELL

    blown the hell open...7 run lead

    crunch 10 hours 47 min ago view
  • 11 hits off Wainwright tonight. Everything going right for the Cards right now. Motherfucking motherfuckers.

    The E-Man 10 hours 56 min ago view
  • it was more no-doubt than bryant's HR. it wont make any end-of-season highlight reels, but that one was booked to leave on contact.

    crunch 11 hours 5 min ago view
  • Javy! Javy! Javy!

    How sweet was that - Cranked it!

    393 happy feet

    Eric S 11 hours 13 min ago view