Cubs @ Dodgers: Series Thread (Games 75-78)

The Cubs (41-33) have won four out of their last ten and fallen a half game behind the Brewers for the division lead. The'll spend their next ten games on the road, and they'll begin with a tough four-game assignment against the second in the NL West Dodgers (44-29). See below for the pitching matchups.

Caissie at the Bat and Hodge on the Slab a Winning Combo at Riverview

Owen Caissie blasted a two-run HR over the right-centerfield fence just to the right of the CF Batter's Eye in the 4th and a three-run HR just to the left of the CF Batter's Eye (off a LHP) in the 5th, Yovanny Cuevas belted a solo HR, Ezequiel Pagan drilled an RBI double, Miguel Fabrizio laced a two-run single, and SP Porter Hodge fired four innings of shutout ball on just 38 pitches, as the Cubs trounced the Rockies 11-5 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Tuesday afternoon on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa,AZ.  

The game was called after eight innings of play. 

Over their first six Cactus League Extended Spring Training games, the Cubs are 3-2-1. 

With his two HR today, Owen Caissie has now reached base safely in 13 of his 18 PA over the course of the Cubs first six Cactus League EXST games, including two homers, four doubles, four sngles, and three walks (he's hitting a robust 667/722/1.333 - 2.055 OPS).  

Cubs top 2019 J-2 IFA signing Ronnier Quintero made his pro game debut, beginning the game at DH and then finishing the game at catcher. He went 0-3 -- K-swinging in his first AB in the 2nd inning, then a 3-U GO in the 4th, and a 6-3 GO in the 6th, before reaching base on a HBP in the 8th and scoring on Fabrizio's RBI single. He was clearly gassed after running the bases in the 110-degree heat in the bottom of the 8th, and after a delay in the top of the 9th while he downed the contents of a water bottle at home plate after warming up the pitcher, he was able to finish the game. 

While this was his pro game debut. Quintero did attend post-season AZ Instructs last October in Mesa, but he did not play in any AZIL games (not even as a DH). Rather, he spent 100% of his time learning the catching trade, and was the bullpen catcher at all of the games, in addition to catching as much "live" BP and as many side-bullpen sessions as he could handle.   

Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only):

Cubs vs. Cleveland: Series Thread (Games 73 & 74)

The Cubs took the final game of the series against the Marlins to avoid the sweep. Next they have two games against Cleveland. The Cubs enter the series tied for first in the NL Central with the Brewers. Cleveland enters 2.5 games behind the White Sox in the AL Central. See below for the pitching matchups.

Hot Bats Produce Slugfest at Fitch Park

Rafael Morel belted a two-run HR, Ismael Mena ripped a two-run double and a single, Reggie Preciado tripled, walked, and scored a run, Jose Lopez smacked a PH RBI triple, Wally Soto laced an RBI double, and Alfonso Rivas drilled an RBI single, walked, reached base on an HBP, stole a base, and scored two runs for the Cubs, and Pedro Pineda smacked a solo HR and a triple and Jalen Greer belted an RBI triple and an RBI double for the Athletics, as the two teams played to an 8-8 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Friday morning on Field # 4 at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.    

The two teams combined to hammer out twelve extra-base hits in the game. 

The game was called after seven innings of play. 

Here is the abridged box score fom the game (Cubs players only): 

Cubs vs. Marlins: Series Thread (Games 70-72)

The Cubs escaped a rough series in New York with their first-place standing intact. For a change of pace, they'll take on the last place Marlins next. Don't let Miami's record fool you, though. The fish are not far behind the Cubs according to many offensive metrics, grade out slightly ahead in pitching, and are probably better defensively. Wins and losses are the final measure, of course, and the Cubs will have three chances to take home a "W" in this series. See below for the pitching matchups.

Heath Bars Cubs from Victory at Riverview

Nick Heath belted a HR on the first pitch of the game, led-off the inning with a triple and scored in the 4th, and walked, stole 2nd base, and scored what proved to be the game-winning run in the 8th, Junior Franco smacked a two-run triple in the 6th, Ben DeLuzio laced the two-out 8th inning RBI triple that drove-in Heath with the deciding run,.and SP Jean Marcelino hurled 2.2 IP of one-hit ball, helping the Diamondbacks edge the Cubs 6-5 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Thursday morning on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.   

The game was called after eight innings of play. 

Heath is on the AAA Reno 7-day IL and is on a rehab assignment at EXST. 

Felix Stevens blasted a game-tying three-run HR over the scoreboard in left-centerfield in the 7th, and SP Tyler Schlaffer tossed four innings of two-hit ball for the Cubs in a losing cause. (The two hits surrendered by Schlaffer were the Nick Heath HR in the top of the 1st and the Nick Heath lead-off triple in the top of the 4th). The Stevens HR was his second dinger in four EXST games, and both were moon shots.  

In 13 PA over the course of the Cubs first four EXST games, Owen Caissie has reached base ten times (four doubles, three singles, and three walks), and there was nothing cheap-o about any of the hits, either.   

Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only): 

Rivas Gives Personal Greetings to ex-A's Teammates at Riverview

Alfonso Rivas (on AA Tennessee 7-day IL) belted a solo HR and a single, Wally Soto clubbed a solo HR and an RBI double and scored two runs, Shendrik Apostel thumped an RBI triple off the top of the CF Batter's Eye and singled, Owen Caissie doubled and singled and scored two runs, and Yeison Santana drilled a two-run double and reached base on a walk and an HBP and scored a run, leading the Cubs to an 8-5 victory over the Athletics in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Tuesday morning on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.   

George Bell hammered a solo HR for the A's in a losing cause. 

LHP Brendon Little (on AA Tennessee 7-day IL) made a rehab start and needed only 18 pitches to toss two perfect innings (4-3, 6-3, K / L-8, 6-3, 6-3). In fact, he was so efficient that he was sent to the bullpen after he left the game to throw another 15 pitches in the pen.  

Recently acquired catcher Tim Susnara (ex-AZ) made his Cub debut, catching the first five innings of the game and going 0-2 at the plate with a walk. Susnara's contract was purchased by the Cubs from Ogden (Pioneer League) last week, the second player acquired by the Cubs from the Pioneer League (formerly an affiliated short-season league, but now it's an independent MLB "Partner League"). The other player acquired by the Cubs from the Pioneer League recently is 1B Matt Warkentin, and he has been at EXST for about ten days.  

Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only): 

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