Cubs Beat Brewers, but Apparently Lose Conway
Carlos Escobar blasted a 420+ foot two-run HR that landed on the roof of a mobile classroom at Frank Borman Elementary School beyond the left-centerfield fence to put the Cubs on the scoreboard in the top of the 1st, Shawon Dunston Jr belted a triple and two singles, scored two runs, and drove-in two more, and Yasiel Balaguert laced a two-run triple, singled, walked, and scored two runs, as the Cubs outlasted the Brewers 9-7 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Maryvale Baseball Complex Field #7 (AKA "Paul Molitor Field") in Phoenix, AZ.
Tyler Roberts doubled twice, singled, scored two runs, and drove-in one, and Dustin Houle singled, doubled, walked, and scored three runs, to aid the Brewer cause.
The pitcher's mound on Field #7 was in deplorable condition. It had apparently baked in the heat (the infield was hard as cement) and then had been over-watered just prior to start of the game, so starting pitchers Josh Conway (Cubs) and Daniel Keller (Brewers) were constantly slipping & sliding on clods of dirt when they hit their respective landing spots after throwing a pitch, and the two pitchers had to continually go to the back of the mound and scrape mud out of their cleats. The mound was also tacky at the rubber, so that at one point the cleats on Keller's right shoe got stuck in the mud and he had to abort a pitch by throwing it directly into the ground.
Meanwhile, Conway looked uncomfortable from his very first pitch, continually pawing at his landing spot and scraping mud out of his spikes after every single pitch. A member of the grounds crew was eventually located after the end of the 1st inning (today is Saturday, so there was just a "skeleton crew" on duty), and while he raked up the mud clods, nothing was done to dry up the mud itself or stamp-down the mound. On his second pitch in the bottom of the 2nd inning, Conway's spikes got caught in the mud and he tripped and threw a pitch awkwardly, about six feet over the head of the Brew Crew batter. A loud pop could be heard when he let go of the pitch, and his arm recoiled as if he had been shot. He was obviously in tremendous pain, and he ran up the 1st base line into foul territory before coming to a stop and going to one knee.
Only after Conway left the game did two other members of the Maryvale grounds crew arrive and completely manicure the mound to make it safe for the pitchers.
Conway was immediately driven back to Fitch Park in the Cubs utility van, and presumably he will be examined next week.
Conway was the Cubs 4th round draft pick last season out of Coastal Carolina University, and he was considered a pre-draft 1st or 2nd round talent who fell to the 4th round only because he had elbow UCL reconstruction (Tommy John Surgery) prior to the June draft. But after nearly making the Kane County starting rotation out of Minor League Camp, Conway has been the most-impressive Cubs pitcher so far at Extended Spring Training, and after throwing five solid innigs and 80 pitches in his previous start last Monday, he appeared to be on the verge of getting a promotion to Kane County or possibly Daytona.
Jose Rosario was scheduled to once again "piggy-back" with Conway (with both pitchers throwing four or five innings each), but Conway's early exit caused the Cubs to turn to reliever Mike Hamann to get ready quickly and throw a couple of innings. Rosario eventually did enter the game in the bottom of the 4th, and he had a miserable outing, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits (including three doubles), three walks, a wild pitch, and a two-base throwing error over three innings of work. He benefited from an inning-ending 4-6-3 DP and two runners being thrown out at the plate trying to score on singles to the outfield, or his final line would have been even worse.
Reggie Golden earned the notorious "Golden Sombrero," striking out four times (all four times swinging), and he did it in four AB.
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
1. David Bote, 3B: 2-5 (1B, 3B, 5-3, K, 6-4 FC, RBI, CS)
2a. Carlos Penalver, SS: 0-3 (F-8, 6-3, 4-3)
2b. Bryant Flete, SS: 1-1 (F-8 SF, 1B, 2 RBI)
3. Yasiel Balaguert, 1B: 2-4 (BB, 1B, 6-3, 3B, 6-3, 2 R, 2 RBI)
4a. Carlos Escobar, C: 2-3 (HR, 1B, 4-3, R, 2 RBI)
4b. Erick Castillo, C: 0-2 (E-5, K,)
5a. Garrett Schlecht, RF: 0-3 (K, 5-4-3 DP, K)
5b. Jose Dore, RF: 0-1 (K)
6. Reggie Golden, CF: 0-4 (K, K, K, K)
7. Rony Rodriguez, DH: 1-4 (K, K, 1B, 6-3, R)
8. Brad Zapenas, 2B: 1-2 (1B, F-7, BB, BB, 3 R)
9. Shawon Dunston Jr, LF: 3-4 (3B, 3-U, 1B, 1B, 2 R, RBI)
1. Josh Conway: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 18 pitches (10 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO
2. Mike Hamann: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 30 pitches (22 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
3. Jose Rosario: 3.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R (4 ER), 3 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 62 pitches (28 strikes), 5/1 GO/FO
4. Tyler Bremer: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 25 pitches (19 strikes), 1/1 GO/GO
CUBS ERRORS: 4
1. P Mike Hamann - E-1 (errant throw on pick-off attempt at 2nd base allowed runner to advance to 3rd)
2. P Jose Rosario - E-1 (two-base throwing error allowed batter to reach 2nd base safely)
3. SS Bryant Flete - E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely - eventually scored unearned run)
4. 1B Yasiel Balaguert - E-3 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
CUBS OUTFIELD ASSISTS:
RF Garrett Schlecht - baserunner thrown out 9-3-2 trying to score from 2nd base on single
LF Shawon Dunston Jr - baserunner thrown out 7-2 trying to score from 2nd base on single
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 90's
crunch 2 hours 1 min ago (view)
"Per ESPN.com's Jeff Passan, Major League Baseball's executive council has granted the Rays permission to explore a plan that would allow them to start the season playing home games in Tampa Bay and finish their home schedule in Montreal. "
Jackstraw 3 hours 29 min ago (view)
Chatwood announced as starter for tonight, but since Alzolay was scheduled to go for Iowa today I don't think it's a fluke he was called up. He could piggyback nicely after Chatwood throws 96 pitches in 4 innings with 9 Ks and 5 walks.
Arizona Phil 5 hours 8 min ago (view)
The Cubs could give Alzolay three starts (6/20 vs NYM, 6/25 vs ATL, and 6/30 at CIN), then option him to the minors on 7/1 when (presumably) Craig Kimbrel and Tony Barnette are brought up, then leave Alzolay at Iowa for 14 days through the All-Star Break, and recall him to start the game on 7/15 or 7/16 vs CIN (if Hendricks isn't ready to come off the IL after the ASB).
Arizona Phil 5 hours 19 min ago (view)
The thing about Tim Collins is that because he has Article XIX-A rights (he has accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time), he must give his consent each time he is optioned or outrighted to the minors, and while he obviously did give his consent when he was optioned to the minors after being signed in March and then again in April and again in May after brief call-ups to MLB, he is no longer willing to do it, and so to get him off the 25-man roster, the Cubs have no choice but to release him (if he isn't traded or claimed off waivers sometime in the next seven days).
George Altman 16 hours 38 min ago (view)
The Adbert Alzolay era begins tomorrow. Collins DFAd
Eric S 17 hours 49 min ago (view)
Ozzie Albies routinely loses his helmet while running the bases - his helmet even has a parody twitter account.
crunch 17 hours 53 min ago (view)
MIL lost, so the cubs are in 1st by a half game.
Arizona Phil 17 hours 55 min ago (view)
The Cubs have released LHRP Brian Duensing.
Duensing was sent outright to AAA Iowa at the end of Spring Training (because he has Article XIX-A rights Duensing had to consent to the assignment), and was placed on the I-Cubs 7-day IL on May 12th.
So the Cubs are on the hook for Duensing's entire $3.5M salary, unless he signs a major league contract with another club (not too likely).
Arizona Phil 18 hours 20 sec ago (view)
The Cubs have signed second-contract FA RHRP Willians Vasquez to a minor league contract and he has been assigned to DSL Cubs #2.
Now 22, W. Vasquez was signed by the Atlanta Braves as an 18-year old J-2 IFA out of Venezuela in 2015, and he spent three seasons in the DSL prior to being released by the Braves this past February.
crunch 19 hours 12 sec ago (view)
lester goes 5.2ip and gives up 3 runs. it wasn't pretty, but it wasn't ugly.
crunch 19 hours 15 min ago (view)
Charlie 19 hours 17 min ago (view)
He loves it almost as much as Javy loves insisting on replays.
crunch 19 hours 31 min ago (view)
...and a flawless throw to nail t.anderson trying to steal 3rd.
crunch 19 hours 42 min ago (view)
is there anyone in baseball who loves to shed their helmet while running as much as almora?
crunch 20 hours 11 min ago (view)
...and a solo HR. all 5 RBIs belong to him after 3 innings.
crunch 20 hours 48 min ago (view)
contreras grand slam!
3rd of his cubs career.