Snakes Take Two Bites of the Apple at Fitch Park
17-year old Panamanian LHP Anfernee Benitez tossed four innings of no run/no hit ball with eight strikeouts, 16-year old Dominican SS Sergio Alcantara singled twice, tripled, and scored two runs, and Tyler Linton cracked a two-run double to cap a four run 8th inning rally, as the Diamondbacks outlasted the Cubs 8-6 on Field #4, and Wagner Mateo belted an RBI double to put the D'backs on the board in the top of the 1st, and Andrew Velasquez laced an RBI triple to plate the Diamondbacks final run in the top of the 4th, as the D'backs withstood a Cub rally in the bottom of the 9th (Cubs scored twice and left the bases loaded) and defeated the Cubs 5-3 on Field #2, sweeping a Cactus League Extended Spring Training doubleheader played this morning at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.
Jose Rosario got the start for the Cubs on Field #4 and had a rough 1st inning, surrendering four runs on four hits (three singles and a double) and a walk. But then he found his rhythm and retired 12 of the last 13 men he faced (five on strikes) before reaching his pre-planned pitch limit (67).
Rony Rodriguez whacked a two-run HR in the bottom of the 5th and Justin Marra followed an inning later with a two-run double to help the Cubs tie the game on Field #4, and then the Cubs took a 6-4 lead in the bottom of the 7th, before the D'backs erupted for four runs off reliever Chad Martin (capped by the Tyler Linton two-run two-bagger) in the top of the 8th. Martin had a really poor outing, allowing four runs on six hits (three singles, two doubles, and a triple) in just two innngs of work
Albert Almora was in the lineup on Field #4 and played CF for six innings, getting four AB and going 1-4. He struck out (swinging) twice against Anfernee Benitez, then he broke up the no-hitter by rifling a single off RHRP Bobby Hillier and past the D'backs third-baseman leading off the bottom of the 5th (before scoring on the Rony Rodriguez HR), and popped up to the second-baseman in short RF in his final PA (also versus Hillier).
Prior to the doubleheader, RHP Chang-Yong Lim (July 2012 TJS rehab) threw a 25-pitch "live" BP inning on Field #1, facing Jose Morales (strained hamstring rehab), Lance Rymel, and Justin Marra. The 36-year old side-armin' Korean and one-time closer for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows (NPB) was signed by the Cubs post-2012, and has been rehabbing at Fitch Park for the past couple of months. Barring a medical setback, I would think he will probably see some EXST game action soon. (Fellow South Korean Dong-Yub Kim bowed to Lim in "we are not worthy" style as he passed behind the batting cage on Field #1 on his way to Field #4).
In EXST Cubs roster news, INF Bryant Flete has been moved down to the VSL Cubs. Flete had an interesting weekend, playing in the EXST game at Talking Stick last Friday, flying to Venezuela on Saturday, and then playing in the VSL Cubs inaugural yesterday morning (Flete hit lead-off and played SS for the VSL Cubs).
Here are the abridged box scores from today's games (Cubs players only):
FITCH PARK FIELD #2
SQUAD "B" LINEUP:
1. Rashad Crawford, RF: 1-4 (1-3, 1B, F-7, HBP, K)
2. Carlos Penalver, SS: 0-5 (6-3, P-3, 4-3, P-3, 4-3)
3. Jeffrey Baez, CF: 1-4 (K, F-8, 1B, P-3, R)
4. Yasiel Balaguert, 1B: 2-4 (K, P-3, 1B, 1B, R)
5. Mark Malave, 3B: 0-2 (BB, F-7, K, BB, R)
6. Trevor Gretzky, DH: 2-4 (1B, K, K, 1B, RBI)
7. Brad Zapenas, 2B: 1-4 (K-DP, F-7, K, 1B)
8a. Erick Castillo, C: 0-2 (3-1, F-8)
8b. Alberto Mineo, C: 0-1 (BB, 6-3, RBI)
9. Roberto Caro, LF: 0-3 (6-3, F-7, 1-3, BB)
CUBS SQUAD "B" PITCHERS:
1. Trey Lang: 3.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 46 pitches (27 strikes), 3/4 GO/FO
2. Jasvir Rakkar: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 26 pitches (18 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
3. Mike Hamann: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 24 pitches (14 strikes), 4/1 GO/FO
4. Tyler Bremer: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 15 pitches (11 strikes), 2/3 GO/FO
CUBS SQUAD "B" ERRORS: 1
SS Carlos Penalver - E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
CUBS SQUAD "B" CATCHERS:
1. Erick Castillo: 1-2 CS
2. Alberto Mineo: 0-1 CS
FITCH PARK FIELD #4
CUBS SQUAD "A" LINEUP:
X. Albert Almora, CF: 1-4 (K, K, 1B, P-4)
NOTE: Almora batted four times, leading off the bottom of the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 6th innings
1. Frandy de la Rosa, 2B: 1-4 (K, K, 4-3, 1B, RBI)
2. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 1-3 (K, F-7, 1B, HBP, R)
3. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 1-4 (K, K, 1B, P-6, R)
4a. Rony Rodriguez, C: 1-2 (5-3, HR, R, 2 RBI)
4b. Justin Marra, C: 1-2 (2B, K, 2 RBI)
5. Jose Dore, LF-RF: 0-3 (K, HBP, K, K)
6. Kevin Encarnacion, RF-CF: 1-3 (BB, L-9, 1B, F-7, R)
7. Xavier Batista, DH: 0-3 (5-4 FC, F-7, BB, K, R)
8. Francisco Sanchez, SS: 0-4 (6-3, K, K, K)
9a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TWO TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
9b. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 0-2 (F-8, P-5)
CUBS SQUAD "A" PITCHERS:
1. Jose Rosario: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R (4 ER), 2 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 67 pitches (40 strikes), 4/5 GO/FO
NOTE: Top of the 5th inning was stopped with two outs when Rosario reached his pre-planned max pitch limit for the game
2. Daury Torrez: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 29 pitches (19 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
3. Chad Martin: 2.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R (4 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 34 pitches (26 strikes), 2/3 GO/FO
CUBS SQUAD "A" ERRORS: NONE
CUBS SQUAD "A" CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Rony Rodriguez: 0-1 CS
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures 100+
NOTE: It wasn't a Cactus League Extended Spring Training game, but the Cubs did play a seven-inning intrasquad game yesterday (Monday) at Fitch Park.
LHP Kyler Burke (strained oblique rehab) got the start for Squad "A" and went 5.1 IP (79 pitches), allowing one run (it was unearned) on three hits (two singles and a triple) and a walk. He struck out four, with a 7/1 GO/FO. Burke should be ready to move up to (presumably) either Daytona or Tennessee.
Jacob Rogers and Yasiel Balaguert were the offensive stars of the game. Rogers belted two doubles (including a two-run double high off the CF "Batter's Eye") and a two-run HR and drove-in four runs for Squad "A," and Balaguert collected a single, a double, and a triple, drove-in two runs, and scored one for Squad "B."
Albert Almora played CF for five innings for Squad "A" and batted four times, going 1-4. He grounded out 4-3 in his first AB, chopped a single over the third-baseman's head his second time up, grounded out 6-3 in his third PA, and flied out F-9 in his final AB.
Rashad Crawford batted once in each of the first three innings for Squad "B," to practice hitting LH against a LHP (Kyler Burke). Formerly a switch-hitter, Crawford is trying to learn to hit LH (only) to take better advantage of his blazing speed. He isn't a very good hitter to begin with (he's hitting 094/216/186 with 13 K in 37 PA in 14 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games), so it's not like he's giving up much by hitting LH versus LHPs.
The game was halted by the coaches briefly in the top of the 6th so that Frandy de la Rosa could run around the bases three times, after he neglected to run out an infield pop up.
Here is the box score from yesterday's intrasquad game:
SQUAD "B" LINEUP:
X. Rashad Crawford, CF: 0-3 (F-7, 4-3, K)
NOTE: Crawford batted three times, leading off the top of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd innings
1. Carlos Penalver, SS-DH: 0-3 (6-3, 5-3, L-7)
2. Yasiel Balaguert, LF-DH: 3-3 (3B, 1B, 2B, R, 2 RBI)
3. Reggie Golden, DH-LF: 0-3 (E-6, 4-3, K)
4. Trevor Gretzky, 1B: 1-2 (1B, 1-3, BB, SB, CS)
5. Garrett Schlecht, RF: 0-2 (3-U, K, BB)
6. Lance Rymel, C: 0-3 (5-3, F-7, K)
7. Mark Malave, 3B: 0-1 (BB, F-9, BB, CS)
8. Frandy de la Rosa, 2B: 0-3 (K, P-5, K)
9. Brad Zapenas, DH-SS: 0-1 (K, HBP, R)
10a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
10b. Roberto Caro, CF: 0-0 (BB, R)
SQUAD "A" LINEUP:
X. Albert Almora, CF: 1-4 (4-3, 1B, 6-3, F-8)
NOTE: Almora batted four times, leading off the bottom of the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings
1. Kevin Encarnacion, DH-CF: 1-2 (F-9, 1B, BB, R, SB)
2. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 1-3 (1B, 5-3 DP, E-4, R)
3. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 1-2 (BB, 1B, K, 2 R)
4. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 3-3 (2B, HR, 2B, 2 R, 4 RBI)
5. Jose Dore, DH #2: 0-2 (K, BB, K)
6. Justin Marra, C: 1-3 (K, K, 1B, RBI)
7. Xavier Batista, RF: 0-2 (BB, F-8, L-7)
8. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 0-2 (BB, 6-3, K, SB)
9. Francisco Sanchez, SS: 0-2 (K, E-3, R)
SQUAD "B" PITCHERS:
1. Duane Underwood: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 3 K, 1 GIDP, 60 pitches (34 strikes) 3/1 GO/FO
2. Carlos Martinez: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 4 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 39 pitches (24 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
NOTE: Bottom of the 4th inning was stopped with two outs when C. Martinez reached his pre-planned max pitch-limit for the game
3. Orbandy Rodriguez: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 26 pitches (18 strikes), 0/2 GO/FO
SQUAD "A" PITCHERS:
1. Kyler Burke: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 4 K, 79 pitches (52 strikes), 7/1 GO/FO
2. Jorge Diaz: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 15 pitches (8 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
3. Juan Francisco: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K, 23 pitches (8 strikes)
SQUAD "B" ERRORS: 3
1. C Lance Rymel - E-2 (overthrow on SB attempt allowed runner to score)
2. 1B Trevor Gretzky - E-3 (three-base fielding error allowed batter to reach 3rd base safely and runner from 1st to score)
3. 2B Frandy de la Rosa - E-4 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely & unearned run to score)
SQUAD "A" ERRORS: 1
SS Francisco Sanchez - E-6 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely & unearned run to score)
SQUAD "B" CATCHER DEFENSE:
Lance Rymel: 0-2 CS, 1 PO, 1 E (see above)
SQUAD "A" CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Justin Marra: 2-3 CS
SQUAD "B" OUTFIELD ASSISTS:
RF Garrett Schlecht - batter (Justin Marra) was thrown out 9-6 trying to stretch single into double
McNutt / Archer didn't work out well for us.
The floor is more valuable than the ceiling. It's the same reason we drafted Kris Bryant instead of Jon Gray.
Apparently the Yankees had the choice of either Gleyber Torres or Eloy Jimenez in the Chapman deal, and they chose Torres.
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.