Solid Goldschmidt Slam Helps D'backs Demolish Cubs at HoHoKam
Paul Goldschmidt blasted a grand slam home run, Henry Blanco and Alfredo Marte slugged solo shots, and Ian Kennedy threw four shutout innings, as the Arizona Diamondbacks coasted to an 12-2 victory over a split squad of Cubs in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in warm & sunny Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.
Ryan Dempster got the start for the Cubs, and was not particularly effective, allowing three runs (all earned) on eight hits (including one double and one HR) and a walk in 3.2 IP (3/1 GO/FO). He struck out three. The best part of Dempster’s outing was that he was stretched-out to 68 pitches (38 strikes), but otherwise the outing was mediocre at best.
Cubs #1 LHRP James Russell relieved Dempster with two outs in the 4th, retiring LH hitting Gerardo Parra on an inning-ending ground out. Russell then allowed a run on one hit in the 5th. However, the one hit allowed was a lead-off routine pop-up in medium deep CF that Marlon Byrd lost in the sun for a gift double, and then the D’backs moved the runner around on a couple of fly outs to plate the run. But the fact is, Russell looked VERY good today, throwing 31 pitches (21 strikes) with a 1/2 GO/FO and one strikeout (Geoff Blum).
Cub closer Carlos Marmol worked the 6th inning, and he threw a shoutout inning, allowing a walk and a single. But he also had control issues, laboring through a long inning of work (29 pitches – only 14 strikes) before finally retiring the side and leaving a runner stranded at 3rd base.
8th inning set-up man & back-up closer RHP Kerry Wood took the mound in the 7th, and was unable to retire the side. He was pulled from the game after striking out David Winfree (looking) with the bases loaded (for the first out of the frame), 27 pitches deep into the inning. LHP and Cubs 2011 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Jeff Beliveau (who was optioned to AAA Iowa earlier in the day) relieved Woody, and could not find home plate, walking in two runs before allowing the Goldschmidt grand slam that landed in the parking lot beyond the LF fence.
Beliveau had big-time control problems in college and in his first couple of seasons in pro ball, before making an adjustment in his delivery and becoming a control pitcher and definite MLB LH relief prospect. But other than a dominating outing at Camelback Ranch versus the Dodgers last Sunday (five strikeouts in two innings) he has reverted to his old form this spring.
The Cub home team offense was once again mostly silent today, scoring one run in the 7th on three singles, and a another on a Michael Brenly solo HR in the 8th.
The other squad of Cubs traveled up the Loop 101 Freeway to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, losing to the Rockies 7-5. I was not at that game, but Junior Lake did hit a three-run HR in the 6th to give the Cubs a temporary 4-3 lead, and Bryan LaHair apparently began to break out his Spring Training-long slump, collecting three hits, including a double.
Marcos Mateo threw a 1-2-3 8th (striking out Brandon Wood and Tyler Colvin and retiring Jordan Pacheco on an infield pop-up) to help advance his cause to make the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster (Mateo is out of minor league options and so irrevocable Outright Waivers would have to be secured before he can be sent to the minors).
Prior to the two games, the Cubs optioned pitchers Alberto Cabrera, Jeff Beliveau, and John Gaub (who did not pitch in a Cactus League game) and infielder Josh Vitters to AAA Iowa, and infielder Junior Lake and outfielder Matt Szczur to AA Tennessee. Also NRI catcher Jason Jaramillo (who has been sidelined with a leg injury since last month) was reassigned to Minor League Camp.
You might have noticed that there was an inordinate number of transactions around MLB today. That’s because today was the first day Draft-Excluded Players (any minor leaguer eligible for selection in the 2011 December Rule 5 Draft who was added to an MLB 40-man roster after 8-15-2011) could be sent to the minors, plus minor league Spring Training games start tomorrow.
crunch 9 hours 32 min ago (view)
minor league baseball has to provide housing for minor leaguers starting 2022 (paid for by MLB parent clubs). this is HUGE news and will make it possible for guys to stick around longer without having to quit the game just to earn a basic living. for minor league players working in expensive housing markets this is a life saver.
activist players from the OAK and LAA minor league teams as well as minor league player labor advocacy organizations were a huge part of making this happen. good work.
bradsbeard 13 hours 14 min ago (view)
Did you have any occasion to observe Pedro Ramirez? Not sure if he got into any games or not (now that I think of it, you wrote up at least one game he played in).
Arizona Phil 18 hours 28 min ago (view)
azbobbop: Certainly LHSPs Drew Gray and Luke Little have emerged as legit significant high-end SP prospects. RHSP Luis Devers has probably displaced Koen Moreno as the top "pitchability" SP prospect in the lower levels of the Cubs system. Tyler Schlaffer (another "pitchability" guy) also had an impressive Instructs, although Devers is a better SP prospect because he has a solid three-pitch mix and knows how to use it, while Schlaffer has just the 92-94 FB & CV (although both are solid offerngs) and isn't as polished as Devers is.
Hagsag 1 day 38 min ago (view)
This is the first time I have heard about the four month program in November.
azbobbop 1 day 7 hours ago (view)
Phil, now that instructional scare finished, which players impressed you the most and who are disappointments.
tim815 1 day 11 hours ago (view)
Cool. Should help his trade value if the bat plays.
Arizona Phil 1 day 13 hours ago (view)
TIM: Peter Matt looks very comfortable at 3B. He is a classic "four-corner" guy (1B-3B-LF-RF).
Arizona Phil 1 day 13 hours ago (view)
KKvG: I strongly suspect Koen Moreno's outing was more about getting out on the mound and throwing in a game than anything. He did get several swings & misses from his CH (which is a plus-pitch), and he uses his low 90's FB to set-up the CH.
I didn't see any breaking balls, although it's possible I might have mistaken a CH for one.
Koen Moreno is what scouts call a "pitchability" guy. Nothing wrong with that, BTW. MLB starting rotations are full of pitchers like that.
Arizona Phil 1 day 13 hours ago (view)
Childersb3: Not much bat speed. Just "lug-power." I actually like Matt Mervis better.
Hagsag 1 day 15 hours ago (view)
Thanks wrigley rat.
Wrigley Rat 1 day 17 hours ago (view)
HAGSAG - Not Phil, but I think this info was from him in the past:
RHP/OF (signed as a two-way player - seems to be sticking with hitting for now), R/R, 5'11 180, Age 18, SPAIN
Childersb3 1 day 20 hours ago (view)
Does Bryce Ball have any real bat speed, or is he just a big guy that waves at the ball and makes contact 1of5 times?
Hagsag 2 days 1 hour ago (view)
Phil, tell me about Frank Fernandez.
tim815 2 days 8 hours ago (view)
If Matt is "not horrible" at third, that could be useful.
crunch 3 days 8 hours ago (view)
bonds got a standing-O after being introduced between innings at LAD @ SF.
as he sat down, dude looked extremely genuinely happy to hear the park errupt in cheers for him again.
it's not his first time back, nor his first set of cheers, but the park is packed and loud.
Cubster 4 days 7 hours ago (view)
Jed's GM search wrapping up, and the winner is: (Athletic write up): 37 yr old "Carter Hawkins, Cleveland assistant general manager, deals with all aspects of baseball operations in a front office admired for its stability, creativity in turning over the roster and ability to keep churning out pitchers.