Navarro Blast Propels Cubs to Victory over Giants
Dioner Navarro hammered a three-run home run to cap a four-run 1st inning, and Jeff Samardzija and six relievers combined to throw a six hitter, as the Cubs edged the San Francisco Giants 4-3 in the Cubs 2013 Cactus League home opener before a sparse crowd (7,784) this afternoon at cool & blustery Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.
The Cubs scored all four of their runs in the bottom of the 1st off Giants starter Matt Cain.
Starlin Castro ripped a single with one out, and was safe at second when SF 1B Brad Belt made an errant throw to 2nd base on what should have been the start of a 3-6-3 DP, with Anthony Rizzo reaching 1st base safely on the play. Alfonso Soriano then smoked a line-drive infield single off Matt Cain's left knee to load the bases (Cain remained in the game, although he was clearly limping), and the first run of the day scored on a Nate Schierholtz RBI ground out. Dioner Navarro followed with his three-run HR over the RF fence and into the Giants bullpen to finish the Cubs scoring for the day.
Jeff Samardzija got the start for the Cubs and had his sinker working very well today (4/0 GO/FO). He was sailing right along with two outs and nobody on base in the top of the 2nd when he surrendered a Francisco Peguero double and a Guillermo Quiroz RBI single. For the day, The Shark allowed just the one run on three hits, with two strikeouts and no walks over the 2.0 IP (33 pitches - 21 strikes).
Carlos Marmol worked the top of the 3rd (22 pitches - 12 strikes) and gave up a run, walking the lead-off hitter and then allowing a one-out RBI rocket double into the RF corner by Pablo Sandoval, before striking out Roger Kieschnick (Brooks' cousin) swinging to end the frame.
Cory Wade was next, and went two innings (26 pitches - 16 strikes), allowing one unearned run on one hit, no walks or strikeouts, and 1/4 GO/FO. The unearned scored as the result of an error by Cubs 1st baseman Anthony Rizzo, who dropped a low (but catchable) throw from Starlin Castro that allowed Brandon Crawford to reach base safely to lead-off the inning, and Crawford would eventually score on a sacrifice fly.
Casey Coleman, Kyuji Fujikawa, James Russell, and Shawn Camp threw a combined four innings (one inning a piece) of one hit shutout ball with five punch-outs (and no walks) as the Cubs held on for the victory. Fujikawa was especially sharp, showing some life on his fastball and a great splitter.
Cubs pitchers walked only one Giants batter all day, while strikng out eight.
The Cubs offense did not score after putting up the four spot in the 1st, but DH Brian Bogusevic (opposite-field line-drive double down the LF line) and Johermyn Chavez (line-drive double off the LF fence--or Cole Gillespie's face) collected extra base hits. Chavez's double was absolutely crushed, and probably never got higher than eight feet off the ground before reaching the fence.
The weather was not ideal (cold northwest wind), but stiill the sparse crowd was a bit of surprise, given that it was both the Cubs Cactus League home opener and a Sunday.
I don't hate Coghlan as a PHer but he's leading off today which is as bad as Austin Jackson doing so last year. He doesn't even have the speed.
TLS has options. He will be up again in Sept, and maybe earlier.
Very odd -- TLS .308/.419 in July (in 26 AB). Strange move for a team struggling to score runs. Hard to imagine Coghlan doing better than that. Maybe they like Coghlan better as a PH?
Sorry to nitpick -- but the first game wasn't a save.
Wow La Stella sent to Iowa and Coghlan brought up. I'm not a huge Stella fan but he has been hitting lately and is to me better than Coghlan. Neither are good defensively but I guess Coghlan can play the outfield allowing Bryant to stay at 3rd more where he's better.
Not 2nd to last but Cubs are definitely bottom of the pack in the 2nd half in oWAR and wRC+. #1 in dWAR though which is certainly a good sign for the playoffs.
I was going to say that you wouldn't want Heyward to achieve Soriano's OBP--.317 with the Cubs--but now I see that he's already done that. Pitchers have lost their fear of him.
Oh, well, at least Chapman seems to be as good as advertised.
Thanks to E-man and Quiet Man for the link on Chapman in a previous post. It's funny because I never really noticed Chapman's delivery until I saw him doing it in a blue uniform. Two saves in a Cubs uniform already. I hope they don't need him today, despite that smooth delivery.
Cubs are middle of the pack in average, 5th in OPS, 2nd in walks, 4th in runs scored in MLB. Their runs scored ranks 17th in the MLB in July.
Boston, leading everything, continues to rake in July.
Lester has given up one run or fewer in 11 starts this year. So I'd answer yes. Three of his last four starts were duds, yes. Not worried about him at all. Arrieta is concerning, to be sure. I look it at as, what he was doing was historic, so the regression was bound to happen. He showed in his start against the Mets that he's still capable, and I'd bet on him regaining his form.
marlins getting a.cashner and c.rea from SD
This is not an attack...But In what stat are the Cubs second from last in MLB, in hitting? I don't see this.
How odd the stats:
Cubs 1st in pitching in MLB
2nd to last in hitting.
In May they were 1st in both.
trevor clifton (high-A) could be interesting in a couple seasons...could even become a high/middle rotation guy. he's got a lot of pluses in his pitching except control.
eric leal's (high-A) progression through the minors should be worth watching even if only projects to be an mid/end-rotation starter.
we also gotta keep a long-distance eye on guys like jose paulino (ss-A) and preston morrison (A).
As Johnny Bach used to say when it was time for the MJ Bulls to crank up the defensive pressure: "Release the Dobermans!", and Jordan, Pippen, Rodman and Harper would just suffocate the other team.
I'd love to add Carl Jr. to that group - he's got the stuff.
Historically, the Moneyball guys have been great at identifying productive hitters. Not so much with pitchers.