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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  • Hmmm, my math might be fuzzy but if he retired 3 batters with 3 pitches, how did he get a 1/1 GO/AO ratio?

    bradsbeard 1 hour 18 min ago view
  • Pls DFA Peralta when Richard comes back. Richard 1 IP, O R, O ER, 0 BB, 2 Ks in first rehab appearance. We really need to trade for a LHRP.

    chitownmvp01 1 hour 36 min ago view
  • "The Boston Red Sox were banned from signing any international players for the next year and had five of their teenage prospects declared free agents on Friday after a Major League Baseball investigation showed they circumvented signing-bonus rules last year, a source familiar with the situation told Yahoo Sports."

    https://www.yahoo.com/sports/news/source-red-sox-b...

    Rob Richardson 5 hours 15 min ago view
  • The thing with Heyward is its not just free agency. He is way under performing his career #s. He's making the same % of contact but his soft contact is much higher and hard contact much lower than all his previous years so there is something very specifically going on this year causing the issues. Chances are he will eventually get back to his previous #s and it's better to get the slump now and get that hot run later but I wish I knew what is different about this year. He's either just not seeing the ball as well or a swing change is causing it.

    johann 5 hours 30 min ago view
  • Only 3 pitches for Leathersich. Not much of a rehab outing.

    Thanks for the reporting Phil.

    QuietMan 5 hours 42 min ago view
  • He's the nastiest pitcher I've seen in awhile. I'm gonna give them all a mulligan on this one.

    Coghlan's strike out was more disappointing. He was fighting off a lot of pitches and not swinging at crap, and on the last pitch, he swung at stuff he was laying off, and struck out.

    And Heyward, too. I don't blame Heyward - I blame free agency. I hate it. You almost never get a valid return on the investment.

    I look forward to the day when ball players own the teams. The current economics are not sustainable.

    Old and Blue 6 hours 44 min ago view
  • Oh, I'm sure you're right. He's not 27-27 in saves for nothing. But, man, I hope they learned last night that he didn't throw a single pitch in the zone to KB, Contreras or Baez, and they all just kept swinging.

    billybucks 8 hours 51 min ago view
  • Sounds like a much better game than last night's fiasco in Flushing.

    Old and Blue 9 hours 8 min ago view
  • I'm pretty sure it looks like a sweet pitch on the way in. How many sinkers like that are there at 98 mph? I agree that they should just do a Lackey and stand their with their bat on their shoulders until he throws a strike next time, but I can see how that's hard to do.

    The bullpen, on the other hand, is a mess, and Heyward is starting to piss me off.

    Old and Blue 9 hours 9 min ago view
  • I noticed that too. He's getting to everything, but when he gets right under it on a high flyball he looks uncomfortable

    cubbies.4ever 17 hours 43 min ago view
  • Did you expect anything different?

    billybucks 18 hours 13 min ago view
  • Wow, did they blow this game. Stupid plays by the kids in the 7th -- Almora throwing to 3rd instead of 2nd to keep the DP in order (when a DP probably wins the game) and Baez throwing to 3rd (to a backpedalling KB) instead of getting the easy 2nd out at first - cost them the game. Also, Contreras almost throws the ball into RF on a nonexistent pick-off play. And Maddon, for using Peralta in the first place. Did they do a bunch of shots in the dugout before the 7th? Unbelievably bad baseball. I thought Almora had a high baseball IQ?

    billybucks 18 hours 35 min ago view
  • men on 2nd/3rd, 0 out...and nothing.

    cubs lose :(

    crunch 19 hours 8 min ago view
  • UH OH! RALLY TIME!

    crunch 19 hours 18 min ago view
  • Getting tired of this Heywood weak sauce

    jacos 19 hours 29 min ago view
  • Yep, can't say I disagree with that. His first batter and resulting walk was just brutal. Reminded me of a bit of Jacque Jones spiking his throws into the ground from RF.

    Eric S 19 hours 37 min ago view