Cubs 9th Inning Rally Falls Short at Papago
Logan Watkins reached base four times (three singles and a HBP), scored twice, and drove-in a run, and D. J. LeMahieu blasted a two-run double and a solo HR, but a 9th inning Cub rally fell short as the potential tying run was thrown out at the plate, giving the A's a 10-9 decision over the Cubs in AZ Instructional League action at the Papago Baseball Complex in Phoenix this afternoon.
The Cubs got off to a quick 3-0 lead in the top of the 1st on a Kyler Burke RBI ground out with the bases loaded and a two-out, two-run RBI single by Rebel Ridling, and then scored three more times in the top of the 5th on a two-run double by D. J. LeMahieu and a Ryan Flaherty triple to take a 6-0 lead, before the roof caved in the 5th and 6th as the A's scored nine unanswered runs to take a 9-6 lead.
LeMahieu narrowed the gap to 9-7 in the top of the 8th, hitting a solo HR over the LF fence, the LSU Tigers' first professional HR. (LeMahieu is probably the best hitter at Instructs, but most of his hits are rockets hit to CF or RF, and while he hits the ball very hard, he doesn't have much elevation in his swing... at least until today, when he turned on the ball like HR hitters do, and launched one out of the yard).
The A's added an insurance run in the 8th on a lead-off solo HR, but the Cubs threatened to tie the game in the top of the 9th.
Rebel Ridling led-off the 9th for the Cubs by lining a single to right. Then with one out, Richard Jones reached safely when the A's second-baseman dropped a pop fly in short right for an error. Brandon May walked to load the bases, and Kyung-Min Na blooped a single into short left, scoring Ridling, and keeping the bases jammed. Logan Watkins then roped what appeared to be a sure-fire game-tying two-run single to right-center, and while Jones did score easily from 3rd, May got a late break off 2nd base and was thrown out at the plate. Then LeMahieu popped up to the second-baseman to end the game, leaving runners stranded at 2nd & 3rd.
19-year old LHP Austin Kirk (Cubs 2009 3rd round draft pick out of Owasso HS - Owasso, OK) got the start today and worked three shutout innings. He escaped trouble in the bottom of the second when he walked the first two hitters, before getting out of the jam with a 6-4 FC grounder, and a 6-4-3 DP. Kirk retired the last six men he faced.
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Logan Watkins, 2B: 3-4 (1B, HBP, 1B, 1-3, 1B), 2 R, RBI, CS
2. D. J. LeMahieu, SS: 2-5 (3-U, 5-3, 2B, HR, P-4), R, 3 RBI
3. Ryan Flaherty, 3B: 2-4 (1B, 4-3, 3B, F-7), 2 R
4. Brandon Guyer, LF: 1-2 (HBP, BB, 6-3, 2B), R
5. Kyler Burke, RF: 0-3 (6-3, L-8, BB, 6-3), RBI
6. Rebel Ridling, 1B: 2-4 (1B, E-9, K, 1B), R, 2 RBI
7. Justin Bour, DH #1: 0-4 (6-U FC, K, 4-6-3 DP, L-7)
8. Richard Jones, DH #2: 1-4 (4-3, 4-3, 1B, E-4), R
9a. Jovan Rosa, C: 1-2 (5-3, 1B), R
9b. Brandon May, PH-C: 0-0 (BB, BB)
10. Kyung-Min Na, CF: 1-4 (K, K, 4-6-3 DP, 1B), RBI
1. Austin Kirk - 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 4/4 GO/FO, 49 pitches (30 strikes)
2. Eduardo Figueroa - 2.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R (4 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 3/4 GO/FO, 46 pitches (26 strikes)
3. Hector Mayora - 0.1 IP, 5 H, 5 R (5 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 21 pitches (11 strikes)
4. Julio Pena - 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GO/FO, 22 pitches (14 strikes)
5. Steve Grife - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 1/1 GO/FO, 15 pitches (11 strikes)
D. J. LeMahieu (E-6) - errant throw to 1B with two outs in the bottom of the 5th allowed batter to reach base safely, but then the runner at 2nd base was thrown out 3-2 trying to score on the play for the third out of the inning.
Jovan Rosa - 0-2 CS, 1 PB
1. D. J. LeMahieu - was thrown out 9-4-5 trying to stretch two-run RBI double into triple with one out in the top of the 5th.
2. Brandon May - was thrown out 8-2 trying to score tying run from 2nd base on single to right-center with bases loaded and one out in the top of the 9th.
WEATHER: 90's, hot & sunny
Chapman shouldn't be reserved anymore on 40 man.
Interesting split on Heyward according to ESPN. As a CF, his slash line .292/.363/.375/.738. At RF: .212/.204/.300/.604. 21/72 as a CF, 58/273 as a RF.
He's also been better when batting 2nd, but he had a nice start in the 6 hole, but has slumped ever since. He was heating up before the All Star break, but is only hitting .108 in the 2nd half.
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.