EXST Cubs Face Kelvim Escobar at Diablo Park

Dwayne Kemp drove in the go-ahead runs with a line drive two-run single to right-center in the top of the 11th, but the EXST Cubs could not hold the lead, as the EXST Angels rallied with two runs of their own in the bottom of the frame, as the Cubs and Angels played to a 4-4 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at the Angels Minor League Complex at Diablo Park in Tempe this morning.

The other offensive highlight for the Cubs was provided over the course of an inning by speedy Dominican lead-off hitter Jose Valdez, who reached base after being hit by a pitch to lead-off the top of the 5th, and then proceeded to steal 2nd, 3rd, and home.

For all you Angels fans out there (and you know who you are), RHSP Kelvim Escobar (on the 60-day DL after undergoing shoulder surgery) made a rehab start for the EXST Angels, throwing 1.2 IP (30 pitches) and retiring all five men he faced on three ground outs, a line drive, and a strikeout. 

Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only)...

LINEUP:
1. Jose Valdez, CF: 0-3 (K, HBP, 1-3, 1-3 - 1 R, 3 SB)
2. Hak-Ju Lee, DH #1: 0-3 (L-6, BB, 6-3, L-4 DP - 1 SB)
3. Matt Cerda, C - DH #2: 2-4 (4-3, F-7, 1B, 2B - 1 R)
4. Chris Weimer, 1B: 1-4 (5-3, P-3, K, 1B - 1 R)
5. Jericho Jones, LF: 0-3 (6-3, 6-3, 4-3, HBP - 1 R)
6. Logan Watkins, SS: 2-4 (K, F-7, 1B, 1B - 1 RBI, 1 PO)
7. Dwayne Kemp, 2B: 1-2 (BB, E-6, SH, 1B - 2 RBI)
8. Kevin Soto, RF: 0-3: (K, 6-3 GIDP, 6-3)
9. George Matheus, 3B: 0-2 (BB, 5-3, 3-U)
10. Juan Medina, DH #2 - C: 1-3 (FC, 6-3, 1B)

PITCHERS:
1. Jon Nagel - 3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 7/1 GO/FO
2. Tarlandus Mitchell - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 3/0 GO/FO
3. Eduardo Figueroa - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 3/2 GO/FO
4. Yohan Gonzalez - 2.0 IP, 2 H. 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 6/0 GO/FO
5. Marcos Perez - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 3/0 GO/FO
6. Josh Lansford - 1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 WP   

ERRORS (1):
SS Logan Watkins bobbled a grounder allowing batter to reach base with one out in the bottom of the 3rd inning, eventually resulting in an unearned run.   

CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Juan Medina - 0-2 CS

ATTENDANCE: 16 (including retired MLB LHP Bruce Hurst, who was there to watch his son Kyle pitch for the EXST Angels) 

Comments

Thanks, as always, Arizona Phil.

I was wondering if you had any thoughts on Nagel. I know he's coming back from Tommy John surgery before he was drafted.

Thanks for the report AZ Phil......the Angels pitchers got a lot of ground ball outs and our pitchers weren't giving up walks and hbp like they have been lately.That's incouraging.

Submitted by Raisin101 on Tue, 05/12/2009 - 5:16pm.
Thanks, as always, Arizona Phil.

I was wondering if you had any thoughts on Nagel. I know he's coming back from Tommy John surgery before he was drafted.

=====================================

RAISIN: Jon Nagel pounds the lower part of the strike zone with a hard sinker, sort of a younger version of Randy Wells. He is a big guy (widebody), but he doesn't throw real hard. His sinker is a real good pitch, though. He just keeps pumping it over the plate and gets ground ball after ground ball. So Nagel needs his infielders to make routine plays, but at EXST, the infield defense isn't very consistent.

BTW, the Royals have released RHP Ryan Acosta (Cubs 2007 12th round pick who got 4th round money to give up his NLI to the U. of Georgia), who was somewhat unexpectedly released by the Cubs prior to the start of Spring Training 2009 after struggling with personal demons the past couple of years. Ryan is the son of the one-time Cubs pitching coach Oscar Acosta, who died in a car crash when Ryan was in HS.

AZ Phil: Do you know what kind of demons that Acosta was dealing with? I had been wondering what had happened to him, as I thought he was going to have a bright future with the club after he was signed in 2007.

IIRC, I think his mom got sick or something like that.

I could be way off, though.

The Cubs down early again. Man it would be nice for them to get a nice lead early.

Yahtzee goes yard!!! A-Fonse the other day and now Monopoly today with big HR's. That is the way for the other big bats to pick up ARam and Lee. Now we need to bullpen to hold it...

And now, pinch hit home run for Bobby Scales!

I predict that he will be the next player to have his name spelled with an exclamation point. (Bobby Scales!)

Only Ne!f! can have that. It is the only thing he has left...:)

I think it would be Sca!es.

time to start paying attention...

Am I crazy or were the wrigley nuts chanting MILTON BRADLEY just after his shot.

anyone there?

I mean how Cubs fan is that????

So did you guys talk about Brenley's observation that Soto is still hurt? His hand has always slipped off the bat handle as he swings. Is he fucked? Dr. Hechct?

haven't heard this lately about Soto. He did get a single and a walk tonight...so we're just waiting on power and rbi's.

Seems that his shoulder is OK and that was an earlier malady for him.

sorry if I spelt the good doctor's name. :-)

Quick question to MLB.

DVR is temporarily una fucking vailable????????????

My divorce lawyer, who is the meanest bastard on earth, will be in touch with you. And he'll make the Cloverfield monster look like a rose in your fucking ass.

Thanks.

I like Kemp, but man, he's got a stacked deck in front of him at 2nd base.

AzPhil - How's Watkins looking defensively overall? The error comment piqued my interest, and obviously, one error does not make a conclusion, but I am just curious if you think he moves well enough for the position and has the reactions to potentially try to develop there long run. IIRC, some folks were thinking 2nd/CF for him (maybe even you, my memory is a bit shoddy these days). Does it look like Watkins could stick at short? I'm just curious, because IIRC a previous post of yours, you said that Hak-ju might outgrow short.

Two other quick questions - Cerda and his defense, and how has Jericho's bat been? Has he been making good contact?

juanpierrewood. classic.

Submitted by toonsterwu on Wed, 05/13/2009 - 1:46am.
I like Kemp, but man, he's got a stacked deck in front of him at 2nd base.

AzPhil - How's Watkins looking defensively overall? The error comment piqued my interest, and obviously, one error does not make a conclusion, but I am just curious if you think he moves well enough for the position and has the reactions to potentially try to develop there long run. IIRC, some folks were thinking 2nd/CF for him (maybe even you, my memory is a bit shoddy these days). Does it look like Watkins could stick at short? I'm just curious, because IIRC a previous post of yours, you said that Hak-ju might outgrow short.

Two other quick questions - Cerda and his defense, and how has Jericho's bat been? Has he been making good contact?

===========================================

TOONSTER: Logan Watkins is an "athletic" defender who has the range to play middle infield, and he has plenty of arm, too, but he throws almost sidearm, so he probably will end up at 2B rather than SS or CF.

Matt Cerda is still working on his defense behind the plate, but he didn't look good when he was moved to 2B last month, so I doubt that the Cubs will move him again to 2B even if he continues to struggle at catcher. They'll likely just give him as much time as he needs to develop, even if it means spending two or three years in Mesa. He's sort of a long-term investment.

Jericho Jones got sick at the end of Minor League Camp and although he's healthy now, he still looks sluggish at bat and in the field. Hopefully he will get it going soon, but he's definitely really struggling right now.

Chris Weimer and Dwayne Kemp have been the team's hottest hitters so far, while Jae-Hoon Ha shows the most promise as a hitter.

AZ Phil was right about Jericho getting sick but he is back hitting over .400 for the spring and has been working on pitch recognition; increasing his walks and decreasing his strikeouts.He has been hitting off a machine that throws 96mph from 52 feet to fine tune his pitch recognition and bat speed.He reports early everyday to get in extra work and says his arm strength is better than ever.( he's thrown out several runners from lf this spring )He got to hit in a simulated game vs "animal" ( Julio Castillo)a week or so ago and ripped his 95-97mph fastball for several hits including one off the wall and one gapper.For those who don't know who Julio Castillo is.....he is the pitcher who got suspended after the brawl in Peoria last season. He is allowed to work out but not allowed to participate in the EXTST games.I also heard that after yesterdays game the players were surprised to find one of their two team vans had been stolen out of the parking lot during the game. They had to wait an extra 30 minutes to get another van from Mesa.

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  • Lester will probably be all right.

    I think Arrieta might have added too much muscle preparing for that butt-naked ESPN photo shoot. Pitchers are supposed to be loose, not muscled up.

    Seriously.

    VirginiaPhil 4 min 43 sec ago view
  • I have basically written off Heyward for this year -- if you are working on major swing changes in late July, you are going to struggle. Hopefully, he can be more productive at the plate next year. It will be interesting to see what they do with him if the Cardinals keep winning and close the gap. Heyward is dead last in the NL in slugging and in the bottom 5 in OPS -- yet still has a positive WAR. Hunh.

    billybucks 8 min 15 sec ago view
  • Has anybody in a Cub uniform ever thrown a ball 103 before?

    VirginiaPhil 11 min 51 sec ago view
  • He certainly looks better, no doubt, and is a different player than what we saw when he first came up. Full credit to him for changing his approach and saving his career.

    But he has zero walks in 35AB since the break, and 10 in 251 AB all year. He does seem to be able to hit some pitches out of the zone, but, a guy with his pop should be drawing more walks. However, it's easy to forget he is still only 23, and probably trying to make an impact to prove he should be an everyday player.

    billybucks 20 min 47 sec ago view
  • The usual suspects, Molina and Wong. Gyorko drew a walk with two outs, none on. I recall us (particularly Szczur and Bryant) swinging at everything Familia threw.

    VirginiaPhil 22 min 39 sec ago view
  • Yup. Thanks Q

    The E-Man 28 min 25 sec ago view
  • QuietMan 36 min 23 sec ago view
  • I for one hope that Sosa comes back soon.

    Rob Richardson 55 min 32 sec ago view
  • O/B interesting you should mention that. Google ESPN Science Aroldis Chapman and you'll be treated to how his mechanics and delivery are possibly historic. It's the 120% of his body stretch plus the torque. They compare him to the Unit and NRyan.

    The E-Man 1 hour 33 min ago view
  • Amazing how much lower the production gets when Bryant runs into a mini-cold streak. He doesn't stay cold for long. If just one of Zobrist or, gulp, Heyward, gets hot, they oughta have one more really nice winning streak in them. Having a closer that you have absolute confidence in can't hurt.

    Old and Blue 2 hours 17 min ago view
  • I hope they hold onto Jimenez. Outfield depth is questionable, especially with McKinney, who struggled this year but still, gone.

    Old and Blue 2 hours 29 min ago view
  • You don't think he's improved? He looks completely different out there than he did when he first came up. The last I checked his K rate was in the low 20% range - 22-23 or so. When he came up it was 40%+.

    To me, what is scary about him if I'm the other guy is that he IS learning the strike zone. This guy could easily be the MVP someday.

    Old and Blue 2 hours 30 min ago view
  • So, playing .500 for the rest of the year puts them at 91 wins. You would think there is enough talent to do a little better than that, right?

    The E-Man 2 hours 48 min ago view
  • First team to 60 wins! Onward to 70, 80, 90 and 100!

    billybucks 11 hours 18 min ago view
  • I. Hate. The. Mets.

    billybucks 11 hours 47 min ago view
  • OK Marlins -- take 'em down. Fernandez, at home, tomorrow for the Fish.

    Gotta say, though -- as much as I can't stand them, the Cardinals have had some very impressive late-inning wins against premier closers.

    billybucks 11 hours 47 min ago view