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): 

1. Kevonte Mitchell, CF: 0-2 (BB, BB, K, 6-3, R, RBI)
2. Frandy de la Rosa, 2B: 1-3 (2-3 SH, 1B, 3-U, K, 2 RBI)
3a. Tyler Alamo, C: 2-3 (P-3, 1B, 1B, RBI) 
3b. Jhonny Pereda, C: 0-1 (5-3) 
4a. Adonis Paula, 3B: 1-3 (K, 1B, 6-4-3 DP) 
4b. Carlos Jimenez, 3B: 0-1 (F-7)
5a. Miguel Rico, DH #1: 0-3 (5-3, 6-3, 6-3)
5b. Tyler Pearson, PH: 1-1 (3B, R)
6. Bryant Flete, SS: 2-4 (1B, P-5, 3-1, 1B, RBI, CS)
7. Roney Alcala, 1B: 0-4 (F-8, K, F-7, K) 
8. Varonex Cuevas, DH #2: 1-3 (3-U, 1B, 6-3) 
9. Robert Garcia, RF: 2-3 (1B, 4-6 FC, 2B, 2 R) 
10. Danny Gutierrez, LF: 1-3 (1B, P-3, 6-3, R)

1. Felipe Paulino: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GO/FO, 22 pitches (12 strikes) 
2. Daniel Schlereth: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1/2 GO/FO, 15 pitches (7 strikes) 
3. Austyn Willis: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 4/2 GO/FO, 22 pitches (14 strikes) 
4. Jordan Brink: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 1/1 GO/FO, 19 pitches (10 strikes) 
5. Jae-Hoon Ha: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 2 WP, 0/2 GO/FO, 20 pitches (9 strikes) 
6. Corbin Hoffner: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 20 pitches (11 strikes) 
7. Hector Perez: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 1/1 GO/FO, 17 pitches (10 strikes) 
8. Andin Diaz: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 K, 3/0 GO/FO, 18 pitches (8 strikes) 

1. 3B Carlos Jimenez - E-5 (two base throwing error allowed batter to reach 2nd base safely)
2. C Jhonny Pereda - E-2 (overthrow at 3rd base on stolen base allowed baserunner to score unearned run)
3. 3B Carlos Jimenez - E-5 (fielding eror allowed batter to reach base safely)

1. Tyler Alamo: 0-3 CS
2. Jhonny Pereda: 0-1 CS, 1 E (see above) 

LF Danny Gutierrez - threw out baserunner 7-5 trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on line single to LF 

WEATHER: Partly cloudy & breezy with temperatures in the 90's 




guess Bulls are content with just one win in Cleveland...oof

Hey, Phil! Not an AZ question, but I figure you might have a take on it: Why did McKinney start this season at A+ after being pretty successful there last year? And is it time to promote him to AA now that he has put up .305/.402/.476 with 3 HR, 12BB:11K, and a non-inflated .319 BABIP? He seems like he'd fit nicely into the AA lineup with the similarly disciplined Vogelbach and Schwarber. Is it just a matter of that AA outfield being very crowded? Also, any info on why Almora had been starting a bunch of games in LF and RF in AA prior to his DL time?

CHARLIE: I don't know why Albert Almora has been moved around the outfield this season at AA, but the Cubs (probably more than any other organization) value defensive versatility. Also, both Jake Hannemann and Pin-Chieh Chen are at Tennessee and they project as centerfielders, so they need to play CF, too. 

In the case of Billy McKinney, there were issues about his defense at Instructs last fall and again at Minor League Camp, and I suspect that's why he was sent back to Hi-A. He's basically an offense-first player who will almost certainly end up in LF, but even so he needs to work harder on defense, and I think the Cubs were sending him that message when they assigned him to Myrtle Beach. 

There is nothing wrong with McKinney offensively, though. He won the HR Derby at Instructs last October, and he is a really good all-around hitter with a good eye at the plate. He will be an MLB LF. I'm just not so sure it will be with the Cubs. 

I think McKinney probably could handle AA pitching OK, but there really isn't any reason to push it. He's only 20 (he would be a sophomore in college right now if he hadn't signed with Oakland), and the Tennessee OF is already crowded (with Almora, Hannemann, Chen, and Rademacher all vying for playing time).

BTW, I have come around to believing that Kyle Schwarber will be moved to LF sooner rather than later. It's not because I don't think he can be an MLB catcher, because no question he has improved defensively as a catcher, and he really wants to be a catcher, but his bat is way too valuable to take a chance on an injury sidetracking his career. Not with a bat like he has. If he moves to LF, he will be up with the Cubs in Chicago this time next year.  

That all makes sense! I didn't realize McKinney had any defensive issues; I certainly hope he improves, since a 15-20 HR left fielder (even with good discipline and a high average) is much more valuable if he can play at least average D.

In my view, they didn't want McKinney to get promoted before I had a chance to get a look at him when his team travels to suburban Washington in early June. (The Daytona Cubs never made it this far up the coast.) AZ Phil mentioned his age. I would just add that there was something peculiar about McKinney's numbers at Stockton and Daytona, both A+. While he hit very well at Daytona, in 210 PAs he only added one HR to the 10 he had hit at Stockton. At Myrtle Beach, he's socking HRs again.

1-1 today last night...a homer...and 4 walks. .313/.431/.518

Speaking of Almora, he was back in the Smokie lineup for the first game of yesterday's doubleheader.

Phil, snowed today here in Montana. Miss being there. Would have loved to see the big whale pitch today! I see Vogelbach is on a streak with the Smokies. Also, McKinney is on fire at Myrtle Beach.

wasn't Rick Reuschel the original big Whale? Later they toned it down to call him big daddy.

I think it was just "The Whale". With Reuschel, it wasn't his size (listed as 6'3" @ 215 lbs. on, though an '89 SI piece mentions 235 to 240) -- it was how doughy and flabby it looked on him. Vogelbach looks ripped by comparison. Combine that with the fact that he always smoked the other pitchers when they ran wind sprints in the outfield before the games and got used as a pinch runner numerous times when he wasn't pitching. Guys with the best looking physiques aren't always the best athletes. Funny humans.

He was a very good athlete. He fielded his position well (2 gold gloves), could get down a bunt and was a decent hitter for a pitcher.

Recent comments

Subscribe to Recent comments
The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • Hagsag 11 hours 4 min ago (view)

    The Cubs have no starting pitching right now with Carl in a funk.


  • Eric S 17 hours 54 min ago (view)

     Cubs were Nootbaar'ed to the tune of 12-4 in Game 2


  • Cubster 18 hours 55 min ago (view)

    With a Doubleheader loss, the Cubs are back on track for a better draft choice. Right now at 67 wins they pick #7, just ahead of KC and Minnesota who have 68-69 wins. 


  • crunch 20 hours 24 min ago (view)

    the shit sandwich that is zach davies is a 6 foot party sub.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 20 hours 27 min ago (view)

    I am celebrating the day he signs with another team this offseason. I didn't know I could hate him more than I did when he was in Milwaukee but here we are!


  • crunch 20 hours 46 min ago (view)

    wisdom can hit some bombs when he does

    also davies still sucks.


  • tim815 21 hours 22 min ago (view)

    McAvene is struggling against hitters in Instructs. He's not ready for the AZ Fall League. I'd expect to see Juan Gamez otr Aneuris Rosario first. Vazquez, I agree with, entirely.


  • bradsbeard 23 hours 12 min ago (view)

    On the position player side, Amaya if he's healthy. Chase Strumpf makes a lot of sense (missed some time early and late, missed all of last year). Nelson Velazquez maybe as a Rule 5 guy if they're on the fence. Cam Balego and Andy Weber are two other candidates if healthy. Luis Vazquez could also use more upper level PAs and would make sense.

    Lots of potential pitchers. Ideally Marquez but not sure they'll let him pitch this year. McAvene is probably another one. Would be awesome if Kohl Franklin could participate. 


  • First.Pitch.120 1 day 30 min ago (view)



  • Arizona Phil 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    Cubs select contract of RHRP Jason Adam from AAA Iowa and he will be the "29th man" in today's DH with STL. Also,.C Robinson Chirinos to 10-day IL with oblique strain, and OF Greg Deichmann has been recalled from Iowa.  


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 6 hours ago (view)

    FP120: The Cubs have been working on pick-off plays, baserunning including rundown ("pickle") drills, amd bunt defense in pre-game and Camp Day instructional work, so it's kind of a "Point of Emphasis." Apparently it's still a work-in-progress for a lot of the guys.And it's not just pick-off plays, either. At least two or three guys have been picked-off in the first three games and there have been a couple of other baserunning gaffes as well. But that's what instructs is for, right?


  • First.Pitch.120 1 day 19 hours ago (view)

    So what's the deal with 5 pick off attempt errors in 3 games?


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 20 hours ago (view)

    Because the Cubs play only the Angels, A's, and Rockies in Instructs this year, I would not be surprised if the Cubs make a trade or two with one or more of those clubs, most especially the Angels, who might be interested in acquiring Kyle Hendricks (since they certainly can't do a rebuild with Trout, Ohtani, and Rendon on the roster). 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 20 hours ago (view)

    The pitching-starved Angels established an MLB (and probably Ripley's Believe It or Not) record by selecting - ONLY - pitchers in the 2021 draft. That's twenty pitchers. No position players. They signed 19 of the twenty, and five of them pitched in today's game (2021 15th round pick Glenn Albanese Jr started the game, followed by 18th round pick Nick Mondak, 7th round pick Ryan Costeiu, 8th round pick Nick Jones, and 16th round pick Nick Dufault). 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 20 hours ago (view)

    Cubs 2020 4rh round draft pick 6'8 220+ LHSP Luke Little threw mainly a 93-97 FB with an occasional CV and CH mixed-in but pitched mostly from behind in the count, issuing two walks, hitting a batter, and throwing a WP (and surrendering a towering three-run HR) in 2.1 IP of work, LHP Angel Rodriguez was able to throw strikes with a 90-91 MPH FB, CH, and CV mix, but was pounded to the tune of five singles, a double, and a triple in just 2.2 IP, Cubs 2021 14th round draft pick RHRP Frankie Scalzo featured a 93-95 MPH FB but sometimes hung his SL and was hit hard and allowed a HR and five sing


  • crunch 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    chris clarke could use the work.

    brennen davis...bryce ball and casey opitz, maybe.  *shrug*

    i'd like to see ethan roberts in the mix.