The Moose Was Loose In Mesa – Royals 5, Cubs 3

Spring Training Game Three – Cubs 3, Royals 5

WP – Wade Davis (1-0) LP – Edwin Jackson (0-1) Save – Michael Mariot (1)

On a chilly day in front of a Cactus League record crowd of 14,680, Mike Moustakas hit a pair of home runs and drove in three of the Royals’ five runs as the Cubs dropped to 0-3 in exhibition play.

Starlin Castro left the game in the second inning after taking his position in the field. Wade Davis hit Castro in the first inning on a 1-1 pitch and Castro tried to swipe second on a 1-0 offering to Anthony Rizzo. Castro was thrown out and appeared to have injured himself on the headfirst slide into second. Castro took himself out of the game and was replaced by Javier Baez before a pitch was thrown in the second inning.

Starlin Castro has a tight right hamstring and is listed as day to day. Castro downplayed the injury after the game and said it was not as serious as the hamstring injury he suffered early in the spring games a year ago.

Edwin Jackson and Carlos Villanueva saw their first action of the spring Sunday with basically the same results.

Jackson was sharp in the first inning, hit his spots and allowed only one hit to the four batters he faced. In his second inning of work, Jackson struggled with his command. Early in the inning he was missing up and in, later in the inning he was missing down and away. Mike Moustakas hit the first of his two home runs, a no doubter to right off Jackson in the first inning. Jackson allowed one run on three hits with no walks, a hit batsman and three strikeouts on 41 pitches, 26 for strikes, in two innings.

Carlos Villanueva served up Moustakas’ second blast of the day with one on in the third and gave up another run in the fourth inning. Villanueva allowed three runs on four hits with no walks and three strikeouts on 40 pitches, 27 for strikes, in two innings.

Dallas Beeler, Neil Ramirez, Armando Rivero and Yoanner Negrin made their first appearances of the spring with mixed results.

The Cubs offense managed three runs on eight hits Sunday afternoon. Darwin Barney (1-for-3 with a double and a RBI) doubled in Donnie Murphy (1-for-3 with a run scored) with the Cubs’ first run in the fifth inning. Javier Baez (2-for-3 with a double and a run scored) doubled and scored on an Anthony Rizzo (1-for-2 with a double, a walk, a run scored and a RBI) double in the sixth. Rizzo scored on a Justin Ruggiano (2-for-3 with a RBI) single after the Royals threw the ball around the play before.

Kris Bryant (0-for-1), Jorge Soler (0-for-1), Brett Jackson (0-for-1) and Christian Villanueva (0-for-1) received a plate appearance on Sunday.

There was a lot of swings and misses on Sunday … Cubs pitching struck out 10 batters and the Royals’ staff struck out nine Cubs.

The Cubs played a better game Sunday but in the end the pitching staff could not cool off Mike Moustakas.

Scoring Plays

Mike Moustakas led off the second inning with a towering homer to right on a 2-2 pitch from Edwin Jackson. With the Royals up 1-0, Jackson struck out Carlos Peguero swinging before he gave up a single to left (2-1 pitch) to Lorenzo Cain. Jackson plunked Brett Hayes on his hands (2-2 pitch) and put runners on first and second with one down. Pedro Ciriaco struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) and Norichika Aoki lined out to Ruggiano in left to end the second inning.

Carlos Villanueva took over in the third and struck out Danny Valencia swinging (2-2 pitch) to start the inning. Eric Hosmer followed with a double (0-1 pitch) into the left field corner. Villanueva struck out Justin Maxwell swinging (3-2 pitch) before Mike Moustakas lifted a 3-2 pitch into the berm in right … 3-0 Royals. Peguero popped out to Baez near the second base bag to end the inning.

The Royals made it 4-0 in the fourth after Cain led off the inning with a single to center off Baez’s glove. Hayes flied out to left center. Pedro Ciriaco poked a 1-2 pitch down the left field line that hit the chalk and went for a double. With runners on second and third with one down, Aoki lifted a 0-1 pitch into left. Cain tagged and scored … 4-0 Royals. Villanueva caught Valencia looking at a 0-2 pitch to end the inning.

The Royals tacked onto their lead in the fifth against Dallas Beeler. Eric Hosmer blooped a 3-2 pitch into left for a single. Maxwell grounded out to third, Hosmer advanced to second and held when Moustakas grounded out to short. Carlos Peguero ripped Beeler’s first pitch into right. Hosmer scored, 5-0 Royals. Cain rolled into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.

The Cubs got on the board in the fifth against John Lamb. Donnie Murphy reached on a two-out single to left, the Cubs’ third hit of the game. Darwin Barney pulled a 1-2 pitch into left. Murphy scored on Barney’s double, 5-1 Royals. Emilio Bonifacio lined out to second to end the inning … Bonifacio shattered his bat and the barrel ended up where the Cubs’ coaches were sitting during the game.

Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo put a couple of runs on the board against Jon Rauch in the sixth. Baez led off the inning with a ground rule double to right center. Baez crushed Rauch’s first pitch, the ball hit the track and bounced over the wall. Rizzo followed with a bloop double (1-2 pitch) down the left field line. Baez had to hold at first then scored once the ball hit the grass and the shortstop kicked the ball. The Royals tossed the ball around the infield and Rizzo ended up at third. Justin Ruggiano ripped a 1-1 pitch back up the middle and into center. Rizzo scored, 5-3 Royals.

Pitching

Edwin Jackson was sharp in the first inning. Jackson had good life on his fastball and good movement on his slider. Jackson gave up a hit in the first, but that was all on 13 pitches, 10 for strikes. Jackson struggled with his command in the second inning. Jackson missed up and in early in the inning, then down and out as the inning progressed. Jackson gave up the home run to Moustakas and it took him 28 pitches, 16 for strikes, to complete the inning.

Carlos Villanueva’s command was fine, he was catching too much of the plate and could not put hitters away. Villanueva threw 26 pitches, 15 for strikes, in the third inning and 14 more (12 strikes) in the fourth inning.

Dallas Beeler pitched the fifth and sixth innings. Beeler gave up a run in the fifth on 17 pitches, 11 for strikes, before he settled down. Beeler completed a 1-2-3 sixth inning on 10 pitches, eight for strikes.

Neil Ramirez set down the side in order in the seventh. Ramirez looked good and appeared to be throwing free and easy. Ramirez needed 16 pitches, nine for strikes, to complete his inning of work.

Armando Rivero has a big arm and he looked good for the most part on Sunday. Rivero threw 17 pitches, nine for strikes, in the eighth inning.

And Yoanner Negrin, up for the day from minor league camp, was impressive in the ninth. Negrin retired three of the four batters he faced and was greeted with a handshake from Chris Bosio when he left the field.

Observations from the Park

Darwin Barney and Kris Bryant loosened up together for the second time in three spring games. Albert Almora joined Bryant and Barney on Sunday.

Eric Hinske is very active in the dugout and is constantly talking to the players.

Dale Sveum appeared very friendly with several of the Cubs’ coaches (Chris Bosio, Brandon Hyde) and many of his ex-players.

Armando Rivero throws very hard. The mitt makes the right kind of pop when his fastball hits it. Rivero has a good delivery, rather smooth, but had trouble repeating it Sunday.

Javier Baez has a very strong arm and the bat speed is off the charts. It will be interesting to see how he translates defensively when he moves from shortstop to either second or third base.

The video board in left field at Cubs Park is a nice touch with a lot of information during the games.

The Cubs play two games Monday … one that counts as a Cactus League game and one that doesn’t. The Cubs will host the Giants in a ‘B’ game on Monday morning that begins at 11:00am CST (10:00am MST). Jason Hammel will pitch in the ‘B-squad’ contest. The Cubs make the long trip to Maryvale for the regularly scheduled exhibition game. Eric Jokish will make his first start of the spring and the Brewers will send Marco Estrada to the hill.

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Quote of the Day

"What scares me is what scares you. We're all afraid of the same things." - John Carpenter

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  • Tony_H

    If you haven’t seen this new defensive tracking system you should really take a look.

    http://www.csnchicago.com/cubs/mlb-shows-awesome-new-defensive-tracking-system

    Here is the article that is linked on CSN that shows the video of how they are tracking every detail of a defesnive play. This is really cool.

    http://regressing.deadspin.com/mlb-announces-revolutionary-new-fielding-tracking-syste-1534200504

    • Sonate

      An interesting story. Thanks for the links Tony. Somewhere in the story (or comments) there was mention that this system will generate terabytes of data per game! If that’s true they will have to analyze it in piecemeal fashion for a while. Today’s computers would choke on even a season’s worth of that data, unless the NSA allows us to use their computer setup! :)

    • paulcatanese

      This would be a super addition. It’s about time that this happens.
      I look forward on a personal basis to test the
      “eye test” to the computerized proof

    • BillyFinT

      Yup. The “field f/x,” as named 4 years ago, is a radar system. It buzzed among sabermetric communities of the potential load of data to come. And we mean LOAD. The data from each ballpark, practically and competitively to save some MLB clubs from their own player info leaked out, won’t be fully available for fan research.

  • Tony_H

    Neil – “On a chilly day…”

    No sympathy from anyone back home. By the way, what was the temperature?

  • Tony_H

    Armando Rivera is someone I would like to see pitch in a game that is televised. He is very interesting and whether he starts the year in the bullpen or gets called up later this year, he will be one to watch.

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  • paulcatanese

    Neither rain, sleet, cold or three games in the lost column stops
    Cub fans from showing up to a new stadium. Get the picture Mr.
    Ricketts?

  • GaryLeeT

    I know, it’s only spring training, and it’s only 3 games into it, but the Cubs being last in pitching (by a lot), and 27th in hitting, is still pretty depressing. Wait, silver lining alert! They are first in fielding, with zero errors.

    • Tony_H

      Do you think giving up 15 runs in 1 of the 3 games leads to a teams pitching stats being inflated?

      • GaryLeeT

        Hopefully, they will stop doing that, but every team is vulnerable to the same small sample size, and right out of the gate, the Cubs are the worst team in ST. It’s not surprising when you consider their projected 2014 regular season. Yesterday’s line-up pretty much featured the opening day line-up, and it wasn’t pretty.

        • Tony_H

          What does their lineup have to do with giving up 25 runs in 3 games with 15 in one game in which they didn’t bring almost anyone who will make the team? You can’t take ST stats one way or another too seriously. You need to watch for their approach more than the stats at this point.

          EX. Kris Bryant hit a Home Run. That is great, but if he went up their swinging for the fences, forcing the issue and finally hit one out it wouldn’t show that he has the right approach to hit in the majors. But, he had a great approach and a great AB, that ended up with him hitting a home run with 2 strikes.

          • GaryLeeT

            You saw where I prefaced my comment with “I know it’s only spring training, and it’s only 3 games into it”, Right?

          • Tony_H

            Yeah I saw how you said that right before you then used 3 ST game stats to state your point.

  • BillyFinT

    The real good news is Edwin’s arm hasn’t fallen off. We’ve heard so much reports nowadays of pitchers shutting down to avoid further damage. Edwin is healthy, as always. What a talent. It’s rare for a Big leaguer to pitch so many miles and not heading Day to day or DL or whatever the club wants him to do for the long term.

  • Tony_H

    We all have seen over and over again that the Cubs have a top ranked farm system thanks to that being the focus the last 2 years to get younger. But how do the Cubs rank in 25 and under talent.

    https://baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22944

    Not sure if this is a free article or not, but Jason Parks lists the Cubs 10th on this list and our rivals to the south 1st. Great read on other teams as well.

    Top 5
    1. St Louis
    2. Washington
    3. Atlanta
    4. Pirates
    5. Miami

    The Cubs come in at 10th, but only one player is even 24 and only one is 23, so they should be moving up this list for a while.

    10. Chicago Cubs

    1. Javier Baez (21)
    2. Starlin Castro (23)
    3. Kris Bryant (22)
    4. Anthony Rizzo (24)
    5. Albert Almora (19)
    6. Jorge Soler (22)
    7. C.J. Edwards (22)
    8. Arismendy Alcantara (22)
    9. Pierce Johnson (22)
    10. Junior Lake (23)

    Made MLB Debut? 3
    Farm System Ranking: 2
    Top 10 Prospects: Link
    Prospects on the BP 101: 7
    Top Prospect: Javier Baez
    Summary: With a list headlined by the no. 4 prospect in the game—shortstop Javier Baez—and running deep, the Cubs have a plethora of young talent either at or percolating toward the big-league roster. It’s a U25 list that leans toward prospects, but shortstop Starlin Castro and first baseman Anthony Rizzo are big-league draws. The system’s talent gives Chicago a strong punch and plenty of hope for turning around the franchise. –Chris Mellen

    Right behind us is Boston and holding down the bottom 5.

    26 LA Angels
    27. Detroit
    28. Philadelphia
    29. Milwaukee
    30. New York

    Sadly only one of these bottom 5 teams made the playoffs last year, while ignoring their farm system.

    • Tony_H

      One other thing to note on this list. 4 of the 5 top teams are good teams.

      6. Baltimore
      7. Texas
      8. Kansas City
      9. Tampa
      10. Cubs

      And 4 of the next 5, leaving 8 of the Top 10 teams as playoff caliber teams. The least wins in the Top 10 of those 8 teams was 85 last year by the Orioles.

      Number of teams 11-30th that won more than 85 games last year……….7 and one was Boston at #11.

      11 Boston 97
      16 Oakland 96
      19 Dodgers 92
      23 Cincinnati 90
      25 Cleveland 92
      27 Detroit 93
      30 Yankees 85

      So teams can win many different ways, but more and more teams are doing it while using or going younger.

  • mutantbeast

    Is it just me or does Stache Villanueva always seem to suck pitching in either Arizona or Colorado? Seems his breaking ball hangs a lot in the thin air out there.