Apparently thoroughly embarrassed by the parent club’s piss-poor performance versus the Cubs at Miller Park in Milwaukee over the weekend, the EXST Brewers played inspired Cactus League Extended Spring Training baseball this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, defeating the EXST Cubs 5-1. With the loss, the Cubs fall to 4-6-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training play.
There wasn’t much in the way of positives for the Cubs to take away from today’s game, the one exception being the fine performance by starting pitcher Tarlandus Mitchell (the Cubs 2008 22nd round draft pick out of Alto HS – Alto, TX). A 20-year old RHP, Mitchell probably threw the best baseball I’ve ever seen him throw, retiring the last nine men he faced after giving up a lead-off double in the top of the 1st inning. The stocky 5’8 195 might-mite throws in the mid-90’s, but usually has lots of trouble finding the strike zone. But he did a decent job throwing strikes today (48 pitches – 31 strikes), issuing no walks while striking out four.
Mitchell gave up a chance to play college football (he was an all-state cornerback in high school) to sign a pro baseball contract with the Cubs, and up until today it looked like he might have made a mistake. But seeing him throw his fastball over the plate the way he did this morning gives one hope for his future as a pitcher, at least as long as he continues to throw strikes.
19-year old LHP Austin Kirk (Cubs 2009 3rd round pick out of Owasso HS – Owasso, OK) followed Mitchell to the mound and had a disappointing outing, allowing three runs on four hits (two singles, a double, and a two-run HR, plus a walk) in two innings of work (39 pitches), as the EXST Brew Crew broke open what had been a scoreless tie through the first three innings.
The EXST Cubs offense was mostly non-existent today, although Pin-Chieh Chen did continue his hot hitting, smoking an opposite-field double into the LF corner leading off the bottom of the 4th (although he was left stranded). The speedy 18-year old lefty-swinging Taiwanese middle-infielder is hitting .421 through the EXST Cubs first 12 games.
While the Cubs were playing the Brewers on Field #3, RHP Marcus Hatley (2009 TJS rehab) and RHP Hector Mayora (a recent arrival from the Cubs Dominican Academy in Boca Chica) threw a simulated game on Field #2.
Even under the best of circumstances it is difficult for position players at Extended Spring Training to stay sharp, because each player usually plays in only half the team's games (the EXST Cubs position players are divided into two squads, with each squad playing in every-other game, while the squad not playing in a game that day has BP, fielding practice, and baserunning drills at Fitch Park). But the EXST Cubs had more time away from game action than usual last week, as they had a full-squad "Camp Day" on both Thursday and Saturday, and then had the day off yesterday (Extended Spring Training is closed on Sundays).
Here is today’s abridged box score (EXST Cubs players only):
1. Alvaro Ramirez, LF: 0-4 (4-3, 3-U, 4-3, 1-U, RBI)
2. Pin-Chieh Chen, 2B: 1-3 (4-1, 2B, 5-3)
3. Xavier Batista, RF: 0-3 (K, 1-3, K)
4. Charles Thomas, 3B: 1-3 (1B, K, 3-U, SB)
5. Arismendy Alcantara, SS: 0-3 (K, K, F-7)
6. Sergio Burruel, C: 1-2 (BB, K, 1B)
7. Blair Springfield, DH #1: 1-3 (1B, 4-3, 5-4 FC)
8. Rafael Disla, DH #2: 0-3 (5-3, F-9, 4-3)
9. Melvin Camarena, 1B: 1-2 (BB, 2B, K, R)
10. Kyung-Min Na, CF: 0-3 (K, K, 5-3)
1. Tarlandus Mitchell – 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 3/2 GO/FO, 48 pitches (31 strikes)
2. Austin Kirk – 2.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 3/2 GO/FO, 39 pitches (26 strikes)
3. Drew Rundle – 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1/2 GO/FO, 12 pitches (9 strikes)
4. Alvido Jimenez – 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 2/0 GO/FO, 14 pitches (9 strikes)
5. Jadel Mendez – 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 2/1 GO/FO, 11 pitches (8 strikes)
6. Yohan Gonzalez – 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 9 pitches (7 strikes)
3B Charles Thomas E-5 (throwing error past 1st base on infield single allowed batter to advance to 2nd base – did not score)
C Sergio Burruel E-2 (throwing error on stolen base attempt at 3rd base allowed runner to score unearned run)
Sergio Burruel: 1-2 CS, 1 E (see above)
WEATHER: Sunny, cloudless, & very warm, temperatures in the upper 80’s