Cubs Win One & Tie Another at Riverview Park

Eloy Jimenez belted an RBI triple and Rony Rodriguez and Justin Marra drilled RBI singles to highlight a three-run 1st inning, Oliver Zapata, doubled, singled, and walked, and Erick Castillo smacked a pinch-hit solo home run, helping the Cubs defeat the Giants 5-3 on Field #5, and Kevin Brown tripled, singled, walked, and scored a run, and Roney Alcala (RBI ground out & a two-run single) and Arnaldo Calero (two run-scoring doubles) drove-in three runs a piece as the Cubs rallied from a four-run deficit to tie the Giants 6-6 on Field #6, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.

Ryan Jones slugged a two-run HR, doubled and scored, and singled for the Giants on Field #6.

Justin Ruggiano (Cubs MLB 15-day DL - hamstring) and Casper Wells (AAA Iowa 7-day DL - back spasms) continued their EXST game rehabs, with Ruggiano playing RF with Squad "B" on Field #5 and Wells playing RF with Squad "A" on Field #6.

Ruggiano played RF for four innings and then moved to DH for one more inning, getting three Plate Appearances in the game. He struck out (swinging) in his first AB, drew a walk his second time up and then (apparently feeling a bit frisky) was thrown-out trying to steal, and he flied out to right in his third PA. He also commited an error, dropping a line-drive that was hit right at him (eventually leading to an unearned run scoring).  

Wells played RF for eight innings and went 1-3, with a pop out to 1st, a bloop double (he later scored), a line-out to CF, and a walk.    

Meanwhile, C-1B-3B Mark Malave is no longer switch-hitting, He is now batting only RH (and actually has been for a while). Malave drives the ball with more authority RH. and from what I've seen so far, he does not appear to be adversely affected hitting RH versus RHP.

Last year OF Rashad Crawford gave up switch-hitting, opting to hit only LH (to take better advantage of his plus-speed), and that move has worked out well for him. 

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

1. Jeffrey Baez, CF: 1-3 (1B, K, HBP, 6-4-3 DP, R, SB)
2a. Justin Ruggiano, RF-DH: 0-2 (K, BB, F-9, CS)
2b. Erick Castillo, PH: 1-1 (HR, R, RBI)
3. Eloy Jimenez, DH #1: 1-3 (3B, 5-3, BB, 6-3, R, RBI)
4. Rony Rodriguez, 1B: 2-4 (1B, K, 5-3 DP, 1B, R, RBI)
5. Oliver Zapata, LF: 2-3 (1B, 2B, L-4, BB, RBI, PO)
6. Justin Marra, C: 1-4 (1B, 1-3, F-7, K, RBI)
7. Elliot Soto, SS: 1-4 (L-1 DP, 1B, 6-3, L-8, R)
8a. Adonis Paula, DH #2: 1-1 (1B)
8b. Ricardo Marcano, PH-RF: 1-2 (2B, 4-3, RBI)
9. Bryant Flete, 2B: 2-3 (6-3, 1B, 1B)
10. Dalfis Ortiz, 3B: 0-3 (5-3, 1-3, E-1)

1. Tyler Ihrig: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 1 PO, 1 GIDP, 5/2 GO/FO, 61 pitches (41 strikes)
2. Adbert Alzolay: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 3/2 GO/FO, 30 pitches (18 strikes)
3. Greyfer Eregua: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 3/0 GO/FO, 39 pitches (25 strikes)  
4. Carlos Llano: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 0/2 GO/FO, 22 pitches (11 strikes)

1. RF Justin Ruggiano - E-9 (dropped line drive allowed batter to reach base safely - eventually scored unearned run)
2. 2B Bryant Flete - E-4 (dropped infield pop fly allowed batter to reach 2nd base safely and unearned run to score)
3. C Justin Marra - E-2 (overthrow on pick-off attempt at 2nd base allowed runner to advance to 3rd)

Justin Marra: 0-2 CS, 1 E (see above)


1. Gleyber Torres, SS: 1-4 (BB, 6-3, 5-3, 1B, 4-1)
2. Zak Blair, 2B: 2-5 (4-6-3 DP, 3-U, K, 1B, 1B)
3a. Casper Wells, RF: 1-3 (P-3, 2B, L-8, BB, R)
3b. Shamil Ubiera, RF: 0-1 (6-4-3 DP)
4. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 2-5 (L-8, 1B, L-7, K, 1B, R)
5. Kevin Brown, LF: 2-4 (3B, BB, 1B, 1-3, L-5, R, CS)
6. Roney Alcala, 1B: 1-4 (6-3, 1B, L-7, E-4, 2 R, 3 RBI, SB)
7. Mark Malave, C: 1-4 (1B, 5-U FC, 4-3, E-6, R)
8. Arnaldo Calero, DH: 2-4 (4-3, 2B, K, 2B, 3 RBI)
9. Charcer Burks, CF: 0-4 (F-7, F-8, P-2, K)

1. Trevor Clifton: 3.1 IP, 5 H, 5 R (5 ER), 2 BB, 7 K, 1 HR, 1 WP, 2/1 GO/FO, 67 pitches (37 strikes)
2. Corbin Hoffner: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 6/1 GO/FO, 28 pitches (20 strikes) 
3. David Garner: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP, 1/2 GO/FO, 25 pitches (13 strikes)
4. Alberto Diaz: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1/2 GO/FO, 32 pitches (23 strikes)

1. 3B Jesse Hodges - E-5 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
2. SS Gleyber Torres - E-6 (two-base throwing error allowed batter to reach 2nd base safely)

Mark Malave: 1 PB

CF Charcer Burks - baserunner doubled-off 2nd base 8-4 after line out to CF


WEATHER: Sunny & breezy with temperatures in the 90's  


Why do I get the feeling that 17(?) year old Eloy would be our best outfielder?

Today's Olt excuse from Captain Happy (apologies ahead of time to Ryno): "Sometimes you can have too hot a hand, and we thought it would be a good idea to cool him off a bit so that he doesn't swing quite as aggressively at all the pitches. Toning it down a notch will help his development in the long run. So giving him a couple days off after those 4 quick home runs should really help with that."

Yes. This makes perfect sense. We like what he's doing, but we'll decide on the comings and goings when his readiness is perfected for future developmental go-get'emness. Until then we have some hot hands in the lineup per factual battings. Haha those silly naive fans. Everyone loves the longball.

It's hard to know what those crazy fans are thinking. One minute you're down 3 zip, then suddenly it's a tie game. Way overblown.

This is a follow up to Carlito's post in the previous thread.... I'm a fan of the rebuild, too, but that doesn't make me ok with a year like this. And just because the farm system is showing signs of life, all that means to me is that the team is now sort of in the 20th century, catching up to teams that have been building this way for decades, all of whom have a strong advantage over the Cubs simply because they have a long tradition of this kind of infrastructure. Teams like Boston, Oakland, Atlanta, SF, Tampa Bay, Texas, Pittsburgh, not to mention our beloved Cardinals, are just a few teams that come to the top of my head that have been doing things the right way for some time now. Are those teams, under the magical aura of Theo, going to just roll over and watch as the Cubs train runs over all of their suddenly infertile systems? The relationship Ricketts has developed with his fan base seems to me almost abusive. We're going to beat the shit out of you with some of the most awful baseball imaginable, but don't worry, we have seen how these other teams operate, and we are becoming just like them! See? Look at all the attention our magnificent farm system is getting. What is being ignored by a lot of people is that TheoCorp completely screwed the pooch on their best possible scenario for this year, and that is that Castro and Rizzo may actually turn things around. What were they thinking in not providing a lineup to sandwich these guys in? Bonafacio was fun for a couple weeks, but now he's just Bonafacio. Sureouts is a bona fide rally killer. Lake is a good guy to have out there to see what he can do, but he's kind of our best outfielder. And that alone borders on malpractice for front office dudes. I understand, as a long time fan, that the process of rebuilding a baseball team is slow, but to have an embarrassment of a team in year 3 isn't cool. I am glad they are working on the minor league system, but until the minor league system starts landing guys into the lineup that's all it is, a promise. And then when they do get a guy who may be a decent third baseman, their manager reacts to a string of home runs by benching him for two days for some guy, Luis Valbuena, who won't even be remembered, in any way, except by trivia nuts. As much focus as I have on not playing Olt I'm not fooled into thinking he's going to be a great hitter. Cubbery alone reduces his chances significantly, but Capt Happy beefing up the Cubbery on his own is just more malpractice. Even the immediate promise offered by the minor league system is showing cracks, since a lot of the Hendry guys seem to be under siege this year. Vogelbomb is showing signs of life again but has had a rough start, Baez is actually a question mark now, and Alcantara isn't as ready as everyone said he is. Most of the TheoCorp guys are years away, except Bryant, who is probably just about ready now and could be as close to a game changing impact player as we've seen in some time here. But the promise of the minor leagues is only that. All those teams I mentioned, and I left a number off the list, are ahead of the Cubs and have been doing this for a long time. All a successful minor league system will do is bring us to the middle of the pack. I don't care how the system is rated by various publications, my rating is F until it promotes real major leaguers into the parent club, or helps bring in quality guys in a trade. Until then, it's just all talk. That's the business man in me talking. Talking doesn't give us squat. Show me the money. Stop ignoring the parent club while you're rebuilding. It's clearly gonna take a couple more years for the farm system to produce a string of quality players outside of Bryant, so stop fucking with us as fans and give us a real major league team to watch while this is happening.

This freaking lineup, man. And Schierholtz is still batting 5th. I don't even see a real solution to the problem, but Lake has got to be in there given the state of the team. At least Olt is starting. Except for the very high probability the Cubs will be trading Shark, the rest of the mid-season trade/DFA/release opportunities might actually make the team on the field better--Schierholtz, Barney, Bonifacio, and maybe even Valbuena could make way for Lake, Olt, and Kalish to play everyday. I can only hope that Shark brings back a starting pitcher and a position player who slot right into the 25-man as well (along with 2 more prospects).

I wish Lake would shorten that damn swing on two strikes just to see what the hell happens. But seriously, folks, Coghlan? Another guy who will only be in the memory of trivia buffs in 10 years. Renteria, stop it. Now.

can only hope that Shark brings back a starting pitcher and a position player who slot right into the 25-man as well (along with 2 more prospects). --- If Scott Feldman can bring Arietta and Strop, I agree with you on what Shark should bring. I remind us that 31 yr old Fergie Jenkins brought hot AAA prospect Bill Madlock (and utility player Vic Harris) following the 1973 season. Shark isn't Fergie but I like the comp. AZ Phil... would you please tell us a bedtime story about that trade.

what if... the Cubs had a #5 hitter with a BA of .290, 10 HR and an OPS of .850 what would their record be? Free Sureouts. (wearing my waiting for Bryant t-shirt today)

Phil, Looks like Kevin Brown had a good game. He is a gamer for sure. I was reading an article on Mike Trout in SI Magazine and although not the player Trout is by a long shot, Kevin Brown has similar traits. I hope he gets a good look.

I was just about to complain that our starting LF was bunting in the first inning. Then I remembered who the opposing pitcher is. Bunt away.

Still stupid move

Who's Len's color guy today? Edit: I guess it's Hollandsworth

JD's daughter graduated from UofI today.

I like JD fine, even if he's a bit boring, but Hollandsworth has a better voice.

Cashner to DL with sore right elbow (MRI Sunday). Who is this Edwin Jackson fella pitching today?

So, there's this: Milton Bradley in 2009- April, .118/.333/.294/.627, 2 HR, 2 RBI May, .268/.348/.439/.787, 3 HR, 12 RBI Nate Schierholtz this year- April, .217/.227/.265/.492, 0 HR, 10 RBI May (so far) , .167/.280/.238/.518, 0 HR, 3 RBI This has gotten me wondering how historically bad Schierholtz start is. At least he's nearly managed as many RBI as Bradley did in his first two (full) months? I like Nate, but this is getting silly.

sureholds was crappy after the break last year (.230/.268 avg/ob%) after a very hot start...but at least he was still hitting homers and doubles while hitting crappy. he's not bringing anything this year but decent RF play.

Javier Baez, 2 run HR. A no doubter to CF with Alcantara (BB) on base. 2-0 Iowa over Red Rock in the 1st from Des Moines.

One nice thing in light of my earlier cantankerous post is that it seems universal among baseball folk who know more than me that Baez will be fine.

Tyler Skulina pitching 7-1/3 no hit innings for the Patrick Kane County Cougars. KC up 3-0 over Quad Cities. Only flaws, 2 walks and a hit by pitch. Nathan Doris in to relieve with 5 outs left and gets the side out with two GO 4-3's. 3 more outs left, Doris remains in to start the 9th. First batter, swinging K. 2nd batter, deep drive to CF...caught. 3rd batter, GO 4-3. Combined No-No!

Bring up the new Tyler!!!

Back to back walks for I-Cubs...Alcantara and Baez. Alcantara steals 2nd base with a 2-0 count. I thought Baez didn't walk. Must have been Alcantara's fault. after a sacrifice to move the runners up, Vitters K's but Christian Villaneuva bales him out with a 2 run single up the middle just under the SS glove. I-Cubs back up 5-3 in the 6th.

Tony LaRussa was hired by the Arizona Diamondbacks today and will be running the D'backs baseball operations. He will be over GM Kevin Towers but under Team President Derrick Hall. Dave Duncan (Organization Ptching Coordinator) and Dave McKay (MLB 1st base coach) are already working for the D'backs, so don't be surprised if LaRussa hires somebody like Jose Oquendo to be the next manager and for Mark McGwire to eventually come over to AZ from LAD as the next D'backs hitting coach. LaRussa also would be able to fire Towers and hire a new GM if he wants to do that. Team President Derrick Hall says LaRussa won't make trades but must be consulted before any moves are made.

In a radio interview during tonight's game, LaRussa said one thing he feels is extremely important is to have hitters who don't strike out and who put the ball in play. He made a big deal out of that. He likes home runs, but he has zero tolerance for high-K HR hitters. He said hitters need to shorten their swings and not try to hit HR if they can't hit HR without striking out a lot.

He said he is a big proponent of advanced metrics in preparing for games, but once the game starts it's all about playing with passion, not giving up outs, putting constant pressure on the opponent, and not going down without a fight in every inning of every game. He said he expects players to play with passion at all times during games and won't accept anything less than that. He mentioned David Eckstein as the type of player he admires as far as a player who was a bit short on natural talent but who played unselfish team baseball with passion.

this sounds like a mess...and a way to strip power from kevin towers. i wonder if they're trying to force him out while setting up the next leadership crew at the same time. either way it seems towers's days are numbered...and a lot of his regime. not liking high-K HR hitters...on a team that recently picked up m.trumbo in the offseason...ow.

but he has zero tolerance for high-K HR hitters.

from the man that went to 2 World Series on the back acne of McGwire and Canseco :)

but sure, the (relatively) low K power hitter is the ideal hitter in baseball, I counted about 11 of them in 2013 (K rate under 20%, iso over .200). If you lower the ISO to like .175, you'll find quite a bit more of course.

It does sound like it'll be a hot mess in Arizona for a few years till they sort all that out in the front office and on the field.


CRUNCH: I can't see Kevin Towers remaining as GM. LaRussa is basically the Theo Epstein of the D'backs, and I would think he will probably want a Jed Hoyer-type guy to be the GM. Towers is used to doing things his way without any interference. 

And so I guess you can cross-off Arizona as a possible eventual destination for Junior Lake, Mike Olt, Welington Castillo, and Brett Jackson (plus Kris Bryant and Javier Baez, too, if the Cubs were inclined to trade them).  

d.butera (backup catcher) came in again to pitch for the dodgers after c.perez gave up back to back homers... double, homer, groundout, K...threw 92-94mph fastballs and some low 80s offspeed something (either a changeup or an undeveloped slider without much break).

You might be the most complete scout of non-pitchers pitching in the MLB! (Sadly there's probably not much money in it.)

ha. there's some twitter account i've seen in the sidebar occasionally that keeps track of position players pitching...but i dunno if they exist anymore or how well it was maintained. i just wish i could find video of mark grace's inning for ARZ...i used to have a RealVideo (.rm) clip of it, but it's long ago lost on a harddrive many computers ago. it was hilarious.