Cubs Extended Spring Traiining

Underwood Sharp in Final Rehab Tune-Up at Sloan Park

Five pitchers combined to toss a one-hit shutout and Didimo Bracho belted a two-run home run and an RBI single to account for all of his team's runs, helping the Diamondbacks blank the Cubs 3-0 at Sloan Park, and D. J. Wilson (two-run triple), Luis Ayala (RBI double), Gustavo Polanco (RBI double), and Jesse Hodges (RBI single) contributed run-scoring hits to highlight a five-run Cub 3rd, as the Cubs and D'backs played to a 7-7 tie on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning in Mesa, AZ.   

Michael Foster broke up the D'backs no-hit bid in Sloan Park with a one-out single in the bottom of the 9th. 

RHSP Duane Underwood (right ebow stiffness) made his final rehab start in the game at Sloan Park and threw 5.1 IP (78 pitches) of one-run ball, retiring 13 of the first 16 men he faced before running into trouble in the top of the 6th when he allowed three singles and a HBP and surrendered his only run. But he was outstanding through the first five innings, allowing no runs on two hits and a walk with four strikeouts.  

RHRP Dallas Beeler (on Cubs 15-day DL - right shoulder inflammation) made a rehab start in the game played on Field #1 and was hit hard, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits (two singles, a double, a triple, and a home run) and a walk (plus a throwing error) in 3.1 IP (50 pitches).

RHRP Aaron Crow (ex-KC - April 2015 TJS rehab) threw in the game on Field #1, but was unable to complete his inning, allowing a single, a double, and a triple and two runs while retiring only one batter. I couldn't tell if he was lifted because of pitch count or performance issues, but his stuff was subpar today and obviously didn't fool any of the young D'backs hitters.  

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):     

Cubs & A's Fit to be Tied at Fitch Park

The Cubs and Athletics played to a 5-5 tie in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training game played this morning on Field #4 at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.

Frandy de la Rosa (two-run single) and Tyler Alamo (RBI single) drilled run-scoring hits to highlight a three-run third that gave the Cubs an early 3-0 lead. Then after the A's took a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the eighth on a Miguel Mercedes solo home run, the Cubs came back and tied the game in the top of the ninth as pinch-hitter Tyler Pearson belted a two-out triple to right-center and scored on a game-tying Bryant Flete RBI single. The A's loaded the bases on two walks and a Cub error in the bottom of the 9th, but were unable to push across the winning run.  

Robert Garcia singled, doubled, and scored two runs for the Cubs.   

Cub pitchers allowed only four hits in the game (none until the fourth, and only one through six), but they also walked eight, hit a batter, and threw three wild pitches. Collectively, Cub pitchers threw only 53% strikes today. The two Cub catchers (Tyler Alamo and Jhonny Pereda) took a physical beating behind the plate, with numerous balls short-hopping them before hitting a collar-bone or a groin.  

Two veteran ex-MLB pitchers recently signed by the Cubs to minor league contracts saw action in today's game, as RHP Felipe Paulino (released by the Red Sox at the end of SpringTraining) and LHRP Daniel Schlereth (released by the Tigers last month) each worked an inning.  

The 6'3 260+ 31-year old Paulino came out like a house afire, striking out the first two men he faced (both swinging) on seven pitches before walking the next two hitters on 3-2 pitches, finally retiring the side on a pop-out to the first-baseman in foul territory. He cuts a rather large figure on the mound, with a physique similar to that of Jumbo Diaz or Jonathan Broxton. 

Originally signed by the Houston Astros as an International free-agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2001, Paulino has pitched in the big leagues with Houston, Colorado, Kansas City, and the White Sox. He underwent an elbow UCL transplant (TJS) post-2012 when he was with the Royals, and then missed most of last season with a right shoulder injury while a member of the White Sox. 

The 28-year old Schlereth worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the 2nd (F-9, 4-3, P-4), but had command issues, going to a three-ball count on the first two hitters he faced and a two-ball count on the third hitter before retiring them. He needed 15 pitches to retire the side, but threw only seven strikes.

Schlereth was the 1st round pick (26th overall) of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008 out of the University of Arizona, and was part of the Max Scherzer/Curtis Granderson/Edwin Jackson/Ian Kennedy/Austin Jackson/Phil Coke three-team mega-deal in December 2009, going to the Tigers with Scherzer, Coke and A. Jackson (Granderson went to the Yankees, and E. Jackson and Kennedy ended up in Arizona). 

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

Trey & Whitey Toast the Brew Crew

Trey Martin belted a bases-loaded triple and Kevin Encarnacion crushed a two-run triple to highlight a nine-run 3rd, Jeimer Candelario doubled twice, walked, and drove-in a run, and Rob Whitenack threw six strong innings, allowing one run (unearned) on three hits (all singles), with no walks and seven strikeouts, to help the Cubs cruise past the Brewers 12-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Maryvale Baseball Complex Field #7 (AKA “Paul Molitor Field”) in Phoenix, AZ.


Recent comments

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  • 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?

  • Heyward getting the night off.

    Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd

  • 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.

  • It looked like the baserunner might have screened Russell some though it's still a play he should have made.

    I wasn't thrilled with the use of Rondon in that situation. In save situations opponents have a 77 OPS. In non-save situations it's a 116 OPS. We had other relievers for that spot we could have used.

  • I'm not sure if it's his normal swing but it's obvious he can hit and he's always hit for power just not HRs so if it is his normal swing there's something else going on.

    This article from spring training said he was trying to pull the ball a lot more:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/making-too-much-of-...

  • Oh, thanks. I guess I should actually look at the schedule. Yay, 3-game road trip!

  • Good call, indeed. This ought to be a good series.

  • Sorry to nit-pick -- but the games against the Nats this week are at home.

    Can't remember a worse weather-start to a season. Yuck.

  • Basically Russell booted a slam dunk DP grounder letting a run score. But he drove in the tying run in 9th. Just not their day, Rondon notwithstanding.

  • Didn't see the game, but it sounded like the Cubs gave away 2 runs with poor fielding. Bummer.

    Well, it's been a fun diet of Reds, Brewers and Braves, but now the Cubs have to play real teams in May (Pirates, Nationals, SF, Cards and Dodgers) -- hope we are all still smiling when we wake up on Memorial Day.

  • He does seem out of synch. His body seems to start forward, then his arms sort of try to catch up -- if that's his normal swing, he will never hit for power. It's an all-arms slasher swing, but the timing seems off.

    He is currently slugging .256 -- I realize the weather has been bad, but that's epically bad. Currently 92nd out of 94 qualified NL batters. Yikes.

  • Weird home stand -- 3-1, with 2 rainouts, vs. two teams that will lose 100 games. Feels oddly disappointing.

    Miserable baseball weather all week -- hopefully better weather will get the bats going. Not just walking, but actually hitting.

  • That strike call on LaSterlla was terrible

  • I was hearing some talk that John Mallee is trying to change Heyward's swing. Wonder if that is lending itself to the slow start.

  • rollercoaster loss...ugg.

    at least it wasn't a "nobody showed up" stomping.

    anytime you wanna jumpstart your season would be nice, heyward.