Cubs Dump A's 7-5 at Fitch Park

Matt Cerda drove in three runs on an RBI single and two sacrifice flies, leading the EXST Cubs to a 7-5 victory over the EXST A's in Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in Mesa.

In addition to Cerda's contributions to the offense, Logan Watkins reached base three times on two walks and an RBI triple, Alvaro Sosa had four singles, and Jose Valdez had two hits and stole three bases. 

RHP Josh Whitlock (2008 26th round draft pick out of the U. of West Virginia) made his first appearance with the EXST Cubs after getting demoted from Peoria yesterday, allowing two runs in two innings of work. He labored a bit and struggled with his command, essentially the same problem he had at Peoria.   

Also, RHP Robert Hernandez was virtually unhittable in his two innings, retiring all six hitters he faced on four strikeouts, an infield pop up, and a weak ground ball to 2B. Hernandez is at EXST rehabbing from a sprained ankle suffered while pitching for Daytona during the last week of Minor League Camp 

And RHP Cedric Redmond (rehabbing from broken finger) finally made his first game appearance of 2009, tossing a scoreless extra half-inning that was tacked onto the end of the contest after the Cubs had already won the game. 

While the Cubs and A's played on Field #3, six Cubs pitchers needing work (Yohan Gonzalez, Gian Guzman, Cody Hams, Marcos Perez, George Pineda, and Ryan Sontag) threw two innings a piece (15 pitches each inning) in a six-inning simulated game on Field #2, facing John Contreras, Sean Hoorelbeke, Jose Made, and Chris Weimer.

Hot-hitting INF Dwayne Kemp is out of action for a few days with a quad injury.    

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

LINEUP:
1. Jose Valdez, CF:  2-4  (4-3, 1B, 1B, K - 2 R, 3 SB)
2. Logan Watkins, DH #1:  1-2  (BB, 3B, BB, L-7 - 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB, 1 CS)
3. Matt Cerda, 2B:  1-1  (BB, F-7 SF, F-7 SF, 1B - 1 R, 3 RBI)
4. Jericho Jones, DH #2:  2-4  (1B, 6-3, 1B, 5-3 - 1 RBI)
5. Jesus Morelli, RF:  0-3  (F-9, HBP, F-8, 4-3 - 1 R, 1 SB)
6. Juan Medina, C-1B:  1-4  (1B, P-4, 4-3, K - 1 R)
7. Alvaro Sosa, 1B-C:  4-4  (1B, 1B, 1B, 1B)
8. George Matheus, 3B:  1-4  (6-4 FC, 6-3, 6-4 FC, 1B - 2 RBI)
9. Sean Williams, LF:  0-4  (6-3 GIDP, 6-3, 6-3, 1-3)
10. Robert Bautista, SS:  1-3  (1-3, K, 1B - 1 R, 1 SB)

PITCHERS:  
1. Jon Nagel - 3.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 5/0 GO/FO
2. Josh Whitlock - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 2/2 GO/FO
3. Josh Lansford - 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 4/1 GO/FO
4. Robert Hernandez - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 1/1 GO/FO
5. Cedric Redmond - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 0/2 GO/FO

ERRORS (2):
1. SS Robert Bautista - errant throw to 1st base (E-6) allowed batter to reach base safely with one out and nobody on base in the top of the 2nd inning.
2. 3B George Matheus - easy one hopper bounced off glove (E-5) allowing batter to reach base safely with two outs and the bases empty in the top of the 10th inning.

OUTFIELD ASSISTS:
RF Jesus Morelli threw out baserunner 9-5 trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on line-drive base hit to RF with two outs in the top of the 7th inning.

Comments

Thanks Phil -

Great as always. Question for you - did you get to see Starlin Castro last year in Arizona and if so, give us your impressions as he is really starting to perform well in A Ball. Also, I'm interested in your thoughts on our prospects with a month of the year under our belts. I've been pleasantly surprised by Vitters, Thomas, Jay Jackson and a few others recently. I'd love to get your thoughts on the top 10 or so since you know the system so well.

Thanks, Arizona Phil!

I'm disappointed to see Hernandez seems stuck as a reliever these days.

are they gonna give lansford all year to attempt this pitching thing?

his numbers look criz-appy so far...how he look in person?

Kevin Goldstein from baseball prospectus on Vitters:

Josh Vitters, 3B, Cubs (Single-A Peoria)
It's not easy being the only premium prospect in the system, but with three hits each game on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Vitters is hitting .407 in 16 games this year, and the power is beginning to show up in a major way, as the 2007 first-rounder hit his fourth home run of the year on Friday, and added a pair of doubles and his fifth homer on Sunday. Early on, scouts were calling Brett Lawrie the best young hitter in the Midwest League, but a few trips to Peoria have changed that assessment, and Vitters now holds the title.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?arti...

Nice.

And add to that Vitters just had his FOURTH straight 3-hit game, which included a double and his fifth HR this season.

The dude is strokin' it right now.

PHIL-- should we expect to see Vitters move up to Daytona? There's not really a Third Sacker there anyway, unless Jovan Rosa is considered one.

Once again, no attendance figures. How does Rob G tolerate these detail-less posts?????????? Is he getting paid off by Google? I'm flummoxed. Is detail-less a word? Or is it detailess? Is AZ Phil the Bizarro world of reporting?

AZ Phil....... I know we have a lot of pitchers, and in order to get them all some innings we have been sending out 5-6 pitchers per game. I assume that the other teams are doing the same thing so I guess it's unusual for our batters to face the same pitcher more than once in a game. I think that once these guys start playing in Boise and get to bat against a starting pitcher for 5-7 innings, we will see more power numbers (extra base hits & HRs )Is the biggest concern with this group in Mesa the poor defense that they have been playing? Thanks for your daily reports

Quick question, but can someone remind me what Carlos Perez is doing? I can't seem to remember.

Perez was released.

I forgot all about that - was rather intrigued by him.

Phil, thanks for all the reports and observations.

I know you mentioned Antigua pitching the other day, but he's appeared in many of your game reports. Does he look any bigger or faster than you've seen him in the past?

Do you know who went up to Peoria when Whitlock went down?

Also, are there any convert guys who throw notably hard? I'm recalling it didn't take long for some guys like Marmol and Dolis to stand out for their velocity. And I can recall some other converts who never turned into anything, but I recall reports on Oscar Bernard and Andy Mejia throwing very fast at times, even though they never went anywhere as pitchers.

You've mentioned that Quezada has looked good, and he had really nice numbers in DSL last year. Does he have a big fastball?

Submitted by crunch on Mon, 05/18/2009 - 7:00pm.
are they gonna give lansford all year to attempt this pitching thing?

his numbers look criz-appy so far...how he look in person?

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

CRUNCH: Josh Lansford has struggled in his last two or three outings at EXST, but I believe he will (like Jake Muyco last year) get assigned to Peoria in mid-June when EXST is over, and he will likely get invited to the AZ Instructional League post-season. Then it will be up to Lansford to show he has the talent to follow in the footsteps of Marmol, Wells, Parker, and Muyco. The Cubs will probably give him another year to prove it.

Submitted by craig on Tue, 05/19/2009 - 9:22am.

Phil, thanks for all the reports and observations.

I know you mentioned Antigua pitching the other day, but he's appeared in many of your game reports. Does he look any bigger or faster than you've seen him in the past?

Do you know who went up to Peoria when Whitlock went down?

Also, are there any convert guys who throw notably hard? I'm recalling it didn't take long for some guys like Marmol and Dolis to stand out for their velocity. And I can recall some other converts who never turned into anything, but I recall reports on Oscar Bernard and Andy Mejia throwing very fast at times, even though they never went anywhere as pitchers.

You've mentioned that Quezada has looked good, and he had really nice numbers in DSL last year. Does he have a big fastball?

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

CRAIG: Jeffry Antigua seems to have put on some bulk since last season, and he still looks like a decent prospect to me. He's in a two-inning slot right now, which means the Cubs are probably projecting him as a "piggyback" middle-reliever at this time, although he could get stretched-out to start, too. 

Kevin Kreier got reactivated from the Peoria DL when Josh Whitlock was sent down.

Andres Quezada throws hard and he also has a curve and a change-up that he can throw for strikes. The Cubs are slotting him as a rotation starter at EXST, and I would think (because of his age) that he will likely get moved up to Peoria or Daytona when EXST is over in mid-June.

Submitted by Romero on Tue, 05/19/2009 - 12:11am.
And add to that Vitters just had his FOURTH straight 3-hit game, which included a double and his fifth HR this season.

The dude is strokin' it right now.

PHIL-- should we expect to see Vitters move up to Daytona? There's not really a Third Sacker there anyway, unless Jovan Rosa is considered one.

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

ROMERO: I would not be surprised if the Cubs move Josh Vitters up to Daytona after the MWL All-Star Game.

I would project Jovan Rosa as a corner 1B-3B or possibly even a corner IF-OF (LF & RF, too). He is not blocking Vitters at 3B. Nobody will block Vitters.

Phil, has Francisco Guzman been returned to Fitch with Tyler Colvin playing again at Daytona?

Yes has has been returned to EST.

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  • I definitely saw ballpark radar guns go up to 102 on Kerry Wood back when he was still a starter, but who knows how accurate they were.

    Charlie 4 min 34 sec ago view
  • They've mentioned Henry Rodriguez (2013), Chris Carpenter, and Andrew Cashner as Cubs who have gone 100+. They said Rodriguez was tops at 100.8. Who knows before 2008?

    QuietMan 1 hour 28 min ago view
  • Regarding Heyward--

    He'll play regardless of what he does, just like Soriano played for seven years before they finally ditched him.

    What can they do? All I can think of is they can keep hiring and firing hitting coaches until they find one who can get him to stop hitting balls with the handle of the bat.

    (All those broken bats added to his paycheck is just a bit much.)

    VirginiaPhil 1 hour 29 min ago view
  • 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 1 hour 35 min 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 1 hour 39 min ago view
  • Has anybody in a Cub uniform ever thrown a ball 103 before?

    VirginiaPhil 1 hour 42 min 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 1 hour 51 min 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 1 hour 53 min ago view
  • Yup. Thanks Q

    The E-Man 1 hour 59 min ago view
  • QuietMan 2 hours 7 min ago view
  • I for one hope that Sosa comes back soon.

    Rob Richardson 2 hours 26 min 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 3 hours 4 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 3 hours 48 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 3 hours 59 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 4 hours 1 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 4 hours 19 min ago view