In a nice bit of serendipity, the Cubs start off the Cactus League schedule with a doubleheader..of sorts. Split squad action on the "road" versus San Francisco and a home game versus the revamped Oakland A's. The home game will start with this: Fowler, Rizzo, Castro, Montero, Baez(2B), Coghlan, Olt, Sweeney (DH), Lake(RF) and Travis Wood on the mound. The Giants will see La Stella (2B), Denorfia, Alcantara (CF), Soler, Castillo, Bryant, Schwarber (DH), Valaika, Russell and Turner taking the mound.
Cubs Spring Training
Carlos Pimentel tossed five shutout innings, allowing three hits and no walks while striking out nine, as the AAA Iowa Cubs throttled the Columbus Clippers (Indians AAA affiliate) 7-2 on Field #6, while on Field #3 the Akron Aeros (CLE AA affiliate) defeated the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) 5-2, in Cactus League Minor League doubleheader game action Monday afternoon at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.
Jeimer Candelario drove-in three runs with two sacrifice flies and a ground out and Gioskar Amaya reached base three times on a single, a walk, and a HBP, stole a base, and scored a run, as the Daytona Cubs defeated the Inland Empire 66ers (Angels Hi-A affiliate) 5-2, and five pitchers combined to toss a two-hitter as the Burlington Bees (LAA Lo-A affiliate) edged the Kane County Cougars 2-1, in Cactus League Minor League doubleheader action this afternoon at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.
The Cubs have added a couple of 25-year old "suspects" to Minor League Camp, acquiring 1B Matt Scioscia from the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for 1B-OF Trevor Gretzky, and signing RHP Reinier Roibal (ex-SF).
The 6'3 230 Roibal was a high-profile Cuban defector signed by the Giants in 2010, but he was unable to work his way out of Lo-A ball after three seasons in the Giants organization, and was released at the end of Minor League Camp this time a year ago. He then spent the 2013 season pitching for the Newark Bears in the independent Atlantic League.
The son of Angels manager Mike Scioscia, the right-handed hitting Matt Scioscia was selected by the Angels in the 45th round of the 2011 draft as a college senior out of the University of Notre Dame, where he had been a catcher, first-baseman, and DH. The Angels moved him to 1B full-time in 2013, but like Roibal, the younger Scioscia has been unable to progress, hitting a combined 194/248/224 in 46 games (146 PA) between AZL Angels, Burlington, and Inland Empire in 2013.
I strongly suspect the Cubs will immediately move Scioscia back to catcher, the one position in the Cubs system that lacks quality depth, perhaps hoping that his catching "bloodlines" might awaken. The Cubs are also probably hoping a change of scenery might help the younger Scioscia fulfill his promise, but at age 25 he won't have a lot of time to show what he can do.
21-year old Trevor Gretzky is (of course) the son of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, and was the Cubs 7th round pick in the 2011 June draft. But through no fault of his own, he was seemingly buried in a Cubs system that is chock full of outfielders with promise. The younger Gretzky never fully recovered from right shoulder surgery (he suffered a torn labrum while playing QB in a football game his senior year in HS) and so he been has been relegated to playing only DH, LF, or 1B in pro ball. (He has what is sometimes called a "rag arm"). However, he doesn't have the HR power you would want out of DH, 1B, or LF, he has just average speed so he doesn't profile as a CF, and he is a below average defender at both 1B and LF. What the younger Gretzky does have is decent eye/hand coordination, a good eye for the strike zone, and a nice opposite-field line-drive stroke at the plate (albeit without any HR power).
2014 CUBS MINOR LEAGUE CAMP ROSTERS (last updated 3-20-2014):
Junior Lake collected five hits (four singles and a double), stole two bases, and scored two runs, Welington Castillo reached base four times on three walks and a single, and Dustin Geiger singled twice, doubled, and drove-in four runs, in Cactus League Minor League action this afternoon at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.
The Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affliate) hammered the Chattanooga Lookouts (Dodgers AA affiliate) 10-4 on Field #3, while the Albuquerque Isotopes (LAD AAA affiliate) edged the Iowa Cubs 4-3 on Field #6.
Lake and Castillo moved back & forth between the two fields, each working as an extra DH and taking an AB whenever the opportunity arose. Lake managed eight Plate Appearances between the two games, and Castillo had six.
Cubs #1 pitching prospect RHP C. J. Edwards got the start for Tennessee on Field #3, and he allowed one run on three hits (two singles and a double) and a walk, with five strikeouts and a 6/0 GO/FO in 3.2 IP (67 pitches).
Recently returned from the Arizona Diamondbacks (who had selected him the Major League Phase of the December 2013 Rule 5 Draft), RHRP Marcos Mateo threw a dominating 9th inning on Field #3 (two strikeouts and a broken bat 5-3 GO) to seal the victory for the Smokies.
LHP Eric Jokisch got the start for the I-Cubs, and allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits (a single and a double) and four walks in 5.2 IP (78 pitches). He also struck out seven and induced two DP grounders along the way, using his quality off-speed stuff to keep Isoptope hitters off-balance. Albuquerque plated their two runs off Jokisch on a bases-loaded walk and a two-out RBI double.
Carlos Pimentel "piggy-backed" with Jokisch and worked 3.1 IP, allowing two runs (both earned) on four hits (three singles and a triple) and two walks. He struck out four, with a 2/4 GO/FO.
Kris Bryant went 0-3 for Tennessee, striking out (swinging) his first two times up, and then popping out to the first-baseman in foul territory in his final AB.
Arismendy Alcantara played SS and batted 3rd for Iowa, and he struck out all three times up, first two times swinging, and last time looking.
Though assigned to the Tennessee squad, Dan Vogelbach was the Iowa DH, and he went 0-3 in the game, grounding into a 4-6-3 DP and then striking out twice (both times swinging).
Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):
Welington Castillo homered, doubled, and singled, Jesse Hodges doubled twice and walked, and Duane Underwood tossed four innings of no run/no hit ball, as the Kane County Cougars rallied for two runs in the bottom of the 9th to edge the Burlingtom Bees (Los Angeles Angels Lo-A affiliate) 7-6 on Field #3, while the Inland Empire 66ers (the LAA Hi-A affiliate) drubbed the Daytona Cubs 12-3 on Field #6, in Cactus League Minor League Camp action this afternoon at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.
Justin Ruggiano, Welington Castillo, and Christian Villanueva blasted solo home runs, and Kyle Hendricks threw 2.2 IP of no-run/no-hit ball, as the Cubs "White" team defeated the Cubs "Blue" team 5-3 in a six-inning Cactus League Intrasquad game played this afternoon in what was the first Cubs game played at Cubs Park in Mesa.
Jordan Danks smacked a solo HR over the RF fence to break a 5-5 tie in the top of the 10th, and the White Sox scored another unearned run later in the inning, en route to a 7-5 extra inning victory over a Cubs split-squad in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in cold, blustery, and rainy Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.
Anthony Rizzo and Blake Lalli hammered solo home runs, and Matt Garza threw four innings and allowed two runs, but the Giants took advantage of two costly Cub fielding errors and a 9th inning base-running gaffe to edge the Cubs 3-2 in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in warm & sunny Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.
NOTE: Scroll down for the updated CUBS MINOR LEAGUE CAMP ROSTERS (effective 3/16)
Paul Goldschmidt blasted a grand slam home run, Henry Blanco and Alfredo Marte slugged solo shots, and Ian Kennedy threw four shutout innings, as the Arizona Diamondbacks coasted to an 12-2 victory over a split squad of Cubs in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in warm & sunny Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.
TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.
TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.
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.