Morelli Strikes Out A's
RF Jesus Morelli threw a strike to catcher Matt Cerda with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, nipping the potential tying run at the plate and preserving the victory, as the EXST Cubs edged the EXST A's 4-3 in Extended Spring Training action at Papago Park Field #2 in Phoenix this morning.
18-year old Australian RHP Adam Spencer entered the game in the bottom of the 9th after the Cubs had come back to tie and then take the lead with two outs in the top of the 9th, thanks to a two-base error by the A's shortstop and a clutch RBI single by Jose Guevara.
Spencer gave up a lead-off triple into the left-field corner, before getting the first out of the 9th on a pop-up to short CF, with the runner holding at third. The next A's hitter lofted a lazy fly ball to medium deep RF, and Morellii got a good read on it, getting himself into position to throw by circling behind the ball, and getting all of his momentum moving forward, before throwing the game-ending strike home to just barely nab the runner trying to score.
Morelli has struggled with the bat, so I'm sure he feels great having contributed to a victory with his defense. The 19-year old Dominican was all smiles as he high-fived his teammates milling round the pitchers mound after the game ended.
RHP "Big Jon" Nagel got the start for the Cubs today, and allowed one run in three innings of work. He was not as sharp as he had been in his previous couple of outings, as his sinker just wasn't sinking like it usually does, but he still managed to get four punchouts along the way with a nasty slider.
The Cubs tied the game in the 4th and then took the lead 2-1 in the 6th, with 18-year old Australian LF Sean Williams scoring both of the runs after getting on base to lead off both frames. once by walk and once by single. Like Morelli, Williams has struggled with the bat, so he has to feel good about reaching base three times and scoring twice today.
But the A's rallied for two runs in the bottom of the 7th when Cubs lefty reliever Marcos Perez had control issues, and the A's took the one-run lead into the 9th.
John Contreras led off the Cub 9th with a line-drive double into the left-center alley, but PR Alvaro Sosa couldn't move up as Jericho Jones fanned and George Matheus popped up weakly to the second-baseman.
Then Sean Hoorelbeke hit what should have been a routine game-ending 6-3 grounder, but the ball caromed off the shortstop's glove into short LF, allowing Sosa to score (just barely) from 2nd base with the tying run. Morelli was hit by a pitch, and then Guevara lined his game-winning RBI single to CF.
In EXST Cubs injury news, 18-year old Korean OF Jae-Hoon Ha is listed as "day-to-day" with a sore wrist.
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Jose Valdez, CF: 1-2 (1-3, 5-3 SH, 1B, BB)
2. Logan Watkins, 2B: 2-4 (1B, 1B, 4-6 FC, K - 1 RBI)
3. Matt Cerda, DH-C: 0-4 (L-3 DP, 6-4 FC, 4-3, 1-3)
4a. John Contreras, 3B: 1-4 (P-3, 6-4 FC, L-7, 2B)
4b. Alvaro Sosa, PR-3B: 0-0 (1 R)
5. Jericho Jones, DH #2: 2-4 (6-3, 1B, 1B, K - 1 PO)
6a. Hak-Ju Lee, SS: 0-2 (F-8, 5-4 FC)
6b. George Matheus, SS 1-2 (1B, P-4)
7. Sean Hoorelbeke, 1B: 0-4 (F-7, L-5, 4-6 FC, E-6 - 1 R)
8. Jesus Morelli, RF: 0-2 (4-3, K, BB, HBP - 1 SB)
9. Jose Guevara, C-DH: 1-4 (K, 6-3, K, 1B - 1 RBI)
10. Sean Williams, LF: 1-2 (1B, BB, BB, F-9 - 2 R)
1. Jon Nagel - 3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 3/2 GO/FO
2. Rogelio Carmona - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 2/2 GO/FO
3. Marcos Perez - 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 2/0 GO/FO
4. Melvin Vasquez - 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/2 GO/FO
5. Adam Spencer - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 0/3 GO/FO
Matt Cerda - 1 PB
WEATHER: Hot & sunny, temperature in the high 90's
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.
The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.
If the ball didn't deflect off the pitcher's mound, the game wouldn't have ended. Montgomery did miss his location though, but if that same contact was made and went in any of direction, good chance of ground out if it doesn't get through.
If it was 1 night later, Chapman would be out there and we probably would be going to extras.
Also, If KB wasn't robbed of a HR, perhaps we would have won. We will never know. Nice play by Melky though.
The comparison isn't Chapman replacing Rondon. It's Chapman replacing Richard (hopefully) in the pen. Chapman's better.