Stephen Cardullo ripped a two-run walk-off double to cap a three-run 9th, as the EXST Diamondbacks rallied to edge the EXST Cubs 3-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Whirlwind Field at Salt River Fields at the Talking Stick Resort, east of Scottsdale, AZ.
Andrew Cashner was scheduled to make his first Extended Spring Training rehab start in today’s game at Talking Stick, but was scratched after warming in the bullpen before the game. Whether this latest setback will significantly delay his return to the mound is not clear at this time, but it certainly is not good news for Cashner or for the Cubs.
With Cashner unavailable, RHP Matt Loosen got the emergency start (he was supposed to “piggyback” with Cashner) and had another fine outing, working three shutout innings, and allowing three hits (two by Diamondbacks IF-OF Wille Bloomquist, who is at Extended Spring Training rehabbing from a hamstring injury) and no walks, while striking out three. RHPs Yao-Lin Wang and Jin-Young Kim followed Loosen and were just as good, as the three Cubs pitchers combined to shut-out the D’backs on six hits and one walk (and 11 strikeouts) through the first eight innings. But RHP Dustin Fitzgerald could not convert the save in the bottom of the 9th, allowing a lead-off four pitch walk, a single, a SH-FC, a WP, and the game-winning two-run double, all without retiring a batter.
The Cubs offense did score two runs, but should have had more. The Cubs loaded ther bases with one out in the top of the 1st but could only score one run (on a ground out), Wes Darvill led-off the top of the 2nd inning with a triple but did not score, and Pin-Chieh Chen led-off the top of the 3rd with a single, and after stealing 2nd base, was thrown-out at the plate trying to score from 2nd on a wild pitch... with no outs. The entire Cubs Player Development staff (Minor League Field Coordinator Dave Bialas and all of the coordinators and instructors) is at Fitch Park this week, so hopefully they can address some of the mental mistakes the EXST Cubs have been making all too frequently lately, on the mound, on the bases, at the plate, and in the field. Cubbery must be nipped in the bud!
Cubs 2010 2nd round draft pick Reggie Golden went hitless again today (with two strikeouts), and is now 0-20 (with eight strikeouts) since hitting a home run last Tuesday.
With CF Kyung-Min Na having been moved up to Peoria (after a brief emergency two-game stop this past weekend at AA Tennessee), Pin-Chieh Chen got a chance to play CF today. While Chen struggles defensively in the infield (especially when he played SS for a while last year, but even after moving to 2B), he looks perfectly at home in CF. With his speed and athleticism, playing CF and hitting lead-off could be his future full-time gig. Unfortunately, he is blocked by several more highly-regarded Cub prospects at that position (Na, Szczur, Silva, Ha, and B. Jackson).
And speaking of Peoria, yesterday’s Midwest League transactions listed 1B Ryan Cuneo as being assigned to Peoria from Extended Spring Training (with OF Rubi Silva moving up to Daytona from Peoria, and OF Jae-Hoon Ha getting promoted to AA Tennessee from Daytona), but Cuneo was in the EXST Cubs lineup today (he went 1-4). Perhaps the news of Cuneo’s promotion has not yet reached Mesa.
While rehabbin’ Willie Bloomquist was having a great time, going 3-4 with three singles and a walk in his five plate appearances for the EXST Diamondbacks, Iowa Cubs SS Augie Ojeda continued his rehab with the EXST Cubs, playing 2B for six innings and going 1-3 with a single (ending an 14 PA hitless streak) and two strikeouts (both swinging). So far in four Extended Spring Training games (16 PA), Ojeda has exactly one hit. Ojeda was heard to remark (joking, I think), “This is a tough league!”… WelI, maybe it is when you are Augie Ojeda.
Here is today’s abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Pin-Chieh Chen, CF: 2-3 (BB, 1B, F-7, 3B, SB, 2 R)
2a. Augie Ojeda, 2B: 1-3 (K, 1B, K)
2b. Marco Hernandez, 2B: 0-0 (F-8 SF, RBI)
3. Ryan Cuneo, 1B: 1-4 (1B, L-4, K, F-8)
4. Wilson Contreras, 3B: 1-4 (E-6, F-7, 6-3, 1B)
5. Yaniel Cabezas, C: 0-3 (5-3, HBP, 6-3, F-9, RBI)
6. Reggie Golden, RF: 0-4 (P-2, K, K, 5-3)
7. Wes Darvill, SS: 1-4 (3B, K, 6-3, K)
8. Jesus Morelli, DH: 0-3 (6-3, 4-6 FC, BB, 1-3)
9a. Blair Springfield, LF: 0-3 (5-2 FC, K, F-9, CS)
9b. Gregori Gonzalez, LF: NO AB
1. Matt Loosen: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 GIDP, 40 pitches (32 strikes), 3/3 GO/FO
2. Yao-Lin Wang: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K, 45 pitches (33 strikes), 1/3 GO/FO
3. Jin-Young Kim: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 29 pitches (19 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
4. Dustin Fitzgerald, 0.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 14 pitches (7 strikes)
Yaniel Cabezas: 0-1 CS
WEATHER: Sunny and breezy with temperatures in the 80’s