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



It's deja vu all over again. 1 measly run...woo hoo. Poor Wells. Welcome to the bigs Scales & Fox, tough AB's in the 9th.

Yeah, that's the way you really, really hate to go down, especially with the bases loaded. Just make SOME contact somewhere. But, it's been that kind of season so far. Didn't even have to face Broxton, either.

This team is just so frustrating. When will they break out? Still lots of games to be played but the offense is just so sluggish.

The pitching has been fine.

Hoping to split this series now seems optimistic. Tonight was the night to get that first W.

I hate Sam Zell. He represents everything I hate about 21st century leveraged capitalism. It's not enough he bought the Trib with a heavily leveraged package? Now, he's trying to squeeze the Ricketts family for a few hundred million more than the damn team is worth, and he wants it financed.

The dude is a douche bag.

Tonight loss is on Pinella, how do you keep your best Lefty off the bench in your pocket? Hoffpauir should have taken Scales at-bat. Who cares about 10th inning defensive allignment when you are losing. If Hoffpauir crushes a double game over and you dont even have to worry about it. You play to win the game and at that point in the game you needed to tie the game and Hoff gave us the best chance.

No but really, say he only singles enough to tie the game, do you move Soriano to 2nd and have both Fox and Soriano in the infield? I can see Lou not wanting to make that move.

This game was just more of the same. Tons of double plays and unable to hit even a mid level pitcher in Wolf.

If your tied I can see the point in keeping Scales in to play defense, but when your behind you need to play the percentages to tie the game. If you only get one run and your stuck with Fox and Soriano playing infield in the 10th so be it. Put in Marmol in the 10th hope he strucks out the side and then hope the top of the lineup scratches one across. I can handle losing in 10 because of a Fox or Soriano error, I cant handle losing in the 9th if your best PH not getting a chance to try to tie or win it.

As The Talking Heads so aptly put it "Stop Making Sense".

That little bit of retardation, followed up with Cotts pitching to protect a one run lead earlier in the week... I hope Lou is just in a slump, but I am starting to fear he has been having mini-strokes.

As Devo so aptly put it "She didn't know I was a midget"

Tonight's loss is on Hendry. Fox sucks. He had his chance.

Yeah, the guy who put up wiffle ball numbers in AAA and had been 2 for 2 in the bigs to that point sucks because he struck out in his 3rd at bat. Maybe had he started he would have done better aganist Wolf than Blanco or Fontenotagoodeverydayplayer did striking out pathtically both times they faced him.

that's cute...problem is Bobby Scales just accounted for the only run the inning before and although he seems a little better from the right hand side than the left, the Cubs needed another pinch-hitter if Fox or Scales got on and it was still tied. Plus with one out, Hoffpauir is a better double play candidate.

The actual screw-up was whatever happened that they announced Koyie Hill and lost him for the game in the 8th when they used Fukudome.

"plus the Cubs needed another pinch-hitter if Fox or Scales got on and it was still tied."

This is the same kind of logic that caused us to lose the Monday game. It's flawed at best. If you lose a game because you don't use the best player you have at your disposal, hoping that later you will get to use him... sorry, but that's just stupid.

You don't put Cotts in to protect a one-run with a fresh Angel Guzman twiddling his thumbs in the bullpen and when you have the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th down by 1 run, you don't worry about getting a big inning.

I agree about the Angel Guzman incident, not about this. Transcosco (sp?) is a sinker ball pitcher and Hoff and Scales have in their brief appearances struck out at similar rates (20 to 25%) this year (16 versus 20% in the minors). You want to stay out of the DP there and Scales just hit a home run and so far has been hitting better than Hoff.

Of course, he's not a better hitter, but he has been so far and there's no reason to pinch-hit there and replace him with a guy that's 4 for his last 23.

Fleeting as it may be, Scales has hit so far in the majors...I don't think you pinch-hit unnecessarily there. I'm not as worried about burning Hoff there, although I think you need to take it into consideration, I don't think you pinch-hit there because it doesn't get you much more.  When you're talking about just one at-bat, how much of an advantage is it really to replace Scales with Hoffpauir considering Scales has a much better chance to avoid a double play and has been hitting better and all you need is a single.

We have widely differing opinions on the hitting abilities of Scales and Hoffpower.

For their minor league careers Scales hit groundballs about 50% more often than Hoffpauir has. That alone more than makes up for the difference in foot speed. I also disagree that a single wins the game (though I can't remember who was on 2nd off the top of my head). A flyball ties the game, and double definetly wins the game and Hoffpauir is vastly more likely to delivery either of those events than Scales was. Scales HR came off a pitcher who was gassed. He was over matched by this Troncosco chap.

In short, Micah is a major leauge hitter, and Scales is not.

someone told me once that anyone that hit in the minors can hit in the majors if given a chance....

but I don't think much of Scales either, but he is hitting now and that one situation didn't warrant a pinch-hitter

You must have missed the part where Scales looked like a school girl while striking out to a backup closer.

If you're going to paraphrase me, try to be reasonably accurate. I said if you dominate AAA hitting you'll hit in the majors. When did Scales do that?

so did Jake Fox, they should have pinch hit for him too...

Hoffpauir just looked like a school girl versus the backup to the backup closer...he should never hit either.

Soriano looks like a school girl about 100 times a year...usually with people on base.

but back to the original point, phitting with Hoff there wouldn't have been the right move.

Tonight's loss is all on Zell and his $2. I hate that guy.

Phil, is there any news on Julio Castillo, the Animal.? I saw in the BA trans. that he has been reinstated. Thanks.

Submitted by Hagsag on Fri, 05/29/2009 - 7:02am.
Phil, is there any news on Julio Castillo, the Animal.? I saw in the BA trans. that he has been reinstated. Thanks.


HAGSAG: Julio Castillo is on the EXST Cubs Active Roster (which presently numbers 45 players - 26 pitchers, five catchers, eight infielders, and six outfielders), but he has pitched only sim games at Fitch Park so far.

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  • 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.

    VirginiaPhil 3 hours 9 min ago view
  • 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.

    Old and Blue 5 hours 12 min ago view
  • If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.

    billybucks 14 hours 15 min ago view
  • Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."

    billybucks 14 hours 57 min ago view
  • This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.

    Charlie 15 hours 8 min ago view
  • 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.

    The E-Man 15 hours 15 min ago view
  • 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.

    billybucks 15 hours 18 min ago view
  • new one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup

    crunch 15 hours 30 min ago view
  • 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.

    blockhead25 15 hours 35 min ago view
  • ...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.

    crunch 15 hours 51 min ago view
  • I'm liking this rookie Nathan.

    CTSteve 15 hours 52 min ago view
  • Richard DFA'd. Meh...

    The E-Man 18 hours 43 min ago view
  • Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.

    Charlie 21 hours 15 min ago view
  • 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.

    chitownmvp01 21 hours 48 min ago view
  • 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.

    chitownmvp01 21 hours 50 min ago view
  • The comparison isn't Chapman replacing Rondon. It's Chapman replacing Richard (hopefully) in the pen. Chapman's better.

    billybucks 23 hours 47 min ago view