After eight weeks of Extended Spring Training and another couple of weeks of mini-camp work-outs, the AZL Cubs begin league play tonight, as they face the AZL Angels at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.
Jesus Morelli extended his hitting streak to 17 games with two doubles, Arismendy Alcantara tripled, singled, and scored a run, Xavier Batista doubled, tripled, and scored a run, and Vismeldy Bieneme reached base three times, scored one run, and drove-in another, as the EXST Cubs defeated the EXST Giants 4-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Indian School Park Field #4 in Scottsdale this morning.
Morelli has hit 437/485/621 over the course of his 17-game hit streak that goes back to May 5th, and with two more hits today, Morelli is hitting 384/452/603 with a team-leading 12 doubles in 23 EXST games since being sent down from Peoria on April 23rd. He has hit safely in 22 out of the 23 games he has played at Extended Spring Training, and he has reached base safely in all 23 games (he walked in the one game he went hitless).
Jae-Hoon Ha went 4-4 with two triples, a double, and a single, scored three runs, and drove-in two more, Jesus Morelli reached base four times on a single, a double, a triple, and a walk, scored twice, and knocked-in three, and George Matheus had two singles, a double, and two RBI, but it was left to Wes Darvill to drive-in the winning run as the youngster bounced a single through a drawn-in infield with one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 7th, rallying one squad of Cubs to an 8-7 victory over one squad of the Giants on Field #3, while over on Field #2, Alvaro Ramirez doubled and tripled, drove-in one run, and scored another, Chris Huseby doubled, walked and scored a run, and Pin-Chieh Chen had two hits, a run scored, and an RBI, but the other squad of Giants clubbed five triples, a double, and a home run, and took advantage of two costly Rafael Disla errors to score four unearned runs, en route to an 8-4 victory over the other squad of Cubs, as the EXST Cubs and EXST Giants split a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader this morning at Fitch Park in Mesa.
21-year old RHP Juan Yasser Serrano made his debut with the Cubs on Field #3, tossing a 13-pitch, ten strike, 1-2-3 inning (4-3, 4-3, and 5-3). Serrano is the Cuban Defector who was signed by the Cubs for a reported $250K bonus this past March, and he appears to be a polished hurler who should advance quickly through the system. I would think he will probably get assigned initially to Daytona (fellow Cuban Defector OF Smaily Borges is already there), once he has gets his arm strength up to where it needs to be. Serrano is not a big guy (maybe 6’1), and he has a solid (almost stocky) build.
Chris Huseby singled twice, doubled, walked, and knocked-in three runs, Alvaro Ramirez singled three times, stole two bases, and scored two runs, and George Matheus had three hits and scored twice, leading the EXST Cubs to a 6-5 victory over the EXST A’s in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Papago Park Field #2 in Phoenix this morning.
The Cubs managed only four hits (all singles), as the EXST A’s nipped the EXST Cubs 2-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.
If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?
#Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.
Fun with FIP
- J. Hammel 3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
- J. Arrieta 2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
- J. Lester 2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
- K. Hendricks 2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
- J. Lackey 3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k
he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.
JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.
My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.
Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...
joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1
not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.
really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.
Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.
Classic Scully - great stuff.
Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)
Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:
"And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."