Olt and Baez Hit Big, Big Flies … Cubs Lose to the Mariners in Extras – Mariners 8, Cubs 7

Spring Training Game Fourteen – Cubs 7, Mariners 8 – 10 innings

WP – Lucas Luetge (1-0) LP – Marcus Hatley (1-1) Save – None

The Cubs took a 7-4 lead into the ninth inning but Tsuyoshi Wada and Frank Batista could not hold the lead and the Mariners won the game in the bottom of the tenth on a single by Ty Kelly off of Marcus Hatley.

Mike Olt (3-for-4 with two home runs and three RBI) hit a pair of long home runs on Wednesday night. Olt’s first blast off of Randy Wolf traveled an estimated 430 feet. And his second home run ended up just short of the scoreboard in left. Both of Olt’s home runs tied the game at the time.

Javier Baez (1-for-3 with a home run) hit a mammoth home run off of Randy Wolf in the fourth inning that appeared to hit off the scoreboard in left. The ball traveled an estimated 460 feet.

The Cubs offense had a good game. The Cubs scored seven runs on 12 hits with four walks.

Ryan Kalish (1-for-3 with a run scored and a stolen base) scored a run and swiped his third bag of the spring. Albert Almora (1-for-2 with a run scored) continued his impressive Spring Training on the day he was assigned to minor league camp and John Baker (2-for-3 with a double and three RBI) gave the Cubs a 6-3 lead with a bases clearing double in the sixth inning. Emilio Bonifacio (1-for-4), Junior Lake (1-for-3), Chris Valaika (1-for-3 with a run scored) and Chris Coghlan (1-for-2 with a double) also collected hits.

James McDonald had a rough night. McDonald was all over the place in his 2 2/3 innings of work. McDonald struggled with his command and mechanics and if not for two double plays his line would look worse than it does. McDonald allowed two runs on two hits with five walks and no strikeouts. McDonald hit a batter and threw 64 pitches, only 26 for strikes.

James Russell made his spring debut and served up a solo home run to Brad Miller in his inning of work.

Rick Renteria used the new replay system for the first time Wednesday night. Renteria challenged a close play on a ball hit to the hole at short by Ryan Kalish in the fourth inning. The call was upheld and Kalish was out.

With Wednesday’s loss, the Cubs slipped to 6-8 in the Cactus League.

Scoring Plays

The Mariners took an early lead in the first inning against a wild James McDonald. After Abraham Almonte grounded out to Baez at short, McDonald issued a four-pitch walk to Kyle Seager. Seager swiped second with Robinson Cano at the plate. Cano doubled to right center on a 2-2 pitch. Seager scored, 1-0 Mariners. Justin Smoak flied out to right and Logan Morrison grounded out to second to end the inning.

Mike Olt tied the game in the top of the second on the first pitch of the inning from Randy Wolf. Olt crushed Wolf’s first offering. The ball ended up just to the left of straight away center … approximately 430 feet. Javier Baez grounded out to short. Ryan Kalish reached on an infield single to short. Chris Valaika followed with a single to left. Christian Villanueva stepped in with runners on first and second with one out. Kalish stole third but Villanueva rolled into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.

The Mariners took the lead right back in the bottom of the second. McDonald walked Dustin Ackley (3-2 pitch) to start the inning. Michael Saunders grounded out to first. Ackley advanced to second on the play. McDonald hit Mike Zunino. With two on and one out, Brad Miller singled to left. Ackley scored, 2-1 Mariners. McDonald walked Almonte to load the bases with one out. Kyle Seager smoked a 3-2 pitch back up the middle that found Javier Baez … 6-4-3 double play, inning over.

The game remained 2-1 Seattle until the fourth inning.

Randy Wolf took the hill for the fourth and retired Mike Olt on a pop out to left (3-2 pitch). Javier Baez stepped in and Wolf started him out with two breaking balls. Baez worked the count back to even then mutilated Wolf’s next pitch. The ball appeared to hit the scoreboard in left and traveled an estimated 460 feet … game tied at two. Ryan Kalish grounded out to short. The throw from Brad Miller to Justin Smoak was very close and Rick Renteria challenged the play. The call was upheld and Valaika popped out to short to end the inning.

The Mariners took the lead right back in the home half of the fourth. James Russell made his spring debut and picked up two quick outs. Saunders flied out to left center and Zunino struck out swinging. Brad Miller launched a 2-2 pitch over the wall in right center … 3-2 Mariners. Russell retired Almonte on a grounder to third to end the inning.

The Mariners took the 3-2 lead into the sixth inning.

Charlie Furbush replaced Fernando Rodney for the sixth inning and retired Jorge Soler on a flyout to right. Mike Olt launched his second home run of the game, a solo shot that tied the game at three. Baez was caught looking at a 1-2 pitch for the second out. The Mariners then forgot how to catch the baseball. Ryan Kalish reached on an error by Jesus Montero at first base. Chris Valaika then appeared to pop out to second. But Ty Kelly whiffed on the pop up at second. Kalish advanced to third and Villanueva walked to load the bases with two outs. John Baker doubled to right. Kalish, Valaika and Villanueva scored, 6-3 Cubs. Bonifacio grounded out to second to end the inning.

The Mariners got one of the runs back in the bottom of the sixth against Dallas Beeler. Dustin Ackley led off the sixth with a single to right. Michael Saunders doubled to right center. Ackley scored, 6-4 Cubs. Beeler retired John Buck on a flyout to right. After Brad Miller reached on catcher’s interference (Eli Whiteside), Almonte grounded into a 6-4 fielder’s choice and Willie Bloomquist fouled out to first to end the inning.

Mike Olt wrapped up his big night in the seventh inning. Albert Almora led off the seventh with an infield single to the hole at short off of Ramon Ramirez. Jorge Soler walked. With runners on first and second with one out, Mike Olt ripped a 3-1 pitch through the hole at short and into left field. Almora scored, 7-4 Cubs. Josh Vitters ran for Olt at first base. Lloyd McClendon went to his pen for Logan Kensing. Logan Watkins rolled into a 4-6-3 double play and with Soler at third, Eli Whiteside popped out to second for the third out.

The game remained 7-4 Cubs until the bottom of the ninth.

Tsuyoshi Wada took the hill in the ninth for this second inning of work. Wada retired Bloomquist on a flyout to center for the first out. Ty Kelly walked. Jesus Montero doubled to left. Kelly held at third with one out. Xavier Avery hit for Logan Morrison and struck out swinging (foul tip). Stefen Romero walked to load the bases. James Jones went the other way (left field) with Wada’s first pitch. Kelly scored, 7-5 Cubs. With the bases loaded and two down, Renteria went to his pen for minor leaguer Frank Batista. John Buck blooped a single into center. Montero and Romero scored and tied the game at seven. With two on and two down, Batista struck out Chris Taylor swinging to end the inning.

Marcus Hatley gave up a leadoff single to Abraham Almonte in the tenth inning. McClendon called for a hit and run with Bloomquist at the plate. Willie Bloomquist chopped the ball in the vacated spot at second. Almonte ended up at third and scored on a single to left off the bat of Ty Kelly.

Pitching

James McDonald had another bad outing. McDonald struggled with his command and mechanics throughout his long 2 2/3 inning start. McDonald missed high at the beginning of his outing then low as his outing progressed. To put it simply, McDonald was all over the place. McDonald gave up two runs on two hits with five walks, no strikeouts and he hit a batter. McDonald threw 64 pitches only 26 for strikes.

James Russell made his spring debut and threw strikes. Russell surrendered a solo home run to Brad Miller. Russell threw 18 pitches, 15 for strikes.

Dallas Beeler was solid again. Beeler gave up one run on four hits with a walk and no strikeouts in three innings of work. Beeler had good command, hit his spots and threw 43 pitches, 28 for strikes.

Tsuyoshi Wada was very good in his first inning of work in the eighth. Wada retired all three batters he faced. Wada struggled with his command in the ninth and was lifted before he could record three outs. Wada ended up being charged with three runs on two hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings.

Thursday is the Cubs only day off in the Cactus League. The games resume Friday afternoon when the Dodgers travel to Mesa. Kyle Hendricks is scheduled to face Josh Beckett.

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  • Eugene Debs

    McDonald = clearly not the answer to any question that involves a roster spot.

    • Tony_H

      Of course a pitcher with much, much worse ST appearances is the lead article on ESPN MLB….Matt Garza and his 19.06 ERA in 3 outings.
      But I don’t see McDonald making this team unless something happens with him quick.

      • cubtex

        Remember how many on here got up in arms over Garza’s 1st spring training with the Cubs? You and Aaron were piling on. Turned out that he had a pretty damn good year.

        2011 Spring Training Stats for Cubs.
        21.2 IP 35 HITS 25 Earned Runs and 14 Walks. Pretty bad right Tony?

        2011 with Cubs

        198 IP 186 hits 197 K’s with a 3.32 ERA

        • Tony_H

          Maybe he just can’t pitch in ST.

          I bet he just threw fastballs to work on his command.

          • cubtex

            I am sure you remember how that was the main topic on the CCO during that time :)

          • mutantbeast

            More likely they cant throw there breaking balls, Arizona, like Colorado, tends to make breaking balls hang some.

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    Should we start to get excited about Olt yet? His overall average may still not be stellar but he’s getting hot and hiring when he plays. Obviously today will be tough to repeat but it appears he is seeing the ball. If that is the case it’s solid evidence last year is behind him which if so…oh boy. Top 25 Olt appears back.

    • Zonk

      Hard to say until he faces ML pitching….but it is encouraging, you are right. Olt can field and has power, it’s all going to boil down to how much contact he can make. He probably took a huge step last night to opening day 3B

    • Tony_H

      Yes. Both HR’s were off of major league pitching and it shows he is seeing the ball. Strikeouts will always be an issue with him but if he is healthy and seeing the ball, I think he regains his prospect ranking and projection.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        If nothing else we can be excited that someone, anyone, appears to be beating out Valbuena for opening day 3rd baseman.

        • EqDoc

          I agree. I don’t think I can stomach another season of Valbuena…

      • BigJonLilJon

        He also had another impressive at bad. He battled hard from down 0-2 to a full count and fouling off several pitches. This gets the pitcher to work and gets his count up. Not a stat thing but a good team thing none the less

    • cubtex

      If nothing else he looks like he is seeing left hand pitching pretty well.

    • paulcatanese

      Are you sure they weren’t changeups?:)
      Kidding, they were hit well.

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    I think Kalish needs to break camp with the big league club. He’s not hitting great yet but he still gets in base an once in he makes things happen. I spoke more with my Sox fan budy about him and he thinks it will take him most of the season to really find his stroke. But by the end if this year he thinks he’ll be hitting, and that going forward he is a guy that will bat .300.

    He seems to be a gamer. Gets on and steals bases and upsets a pitchers rhythm. I like him and could see him working his way into te future. I think he is going to have a good major league career.

    • bmoneyy20

      I believe he is making league minimum—–he is making this team

      • Tony_H

        His cost has nothing to do with it as all players with less than 3 years of service time basically make league minimum.

        He will most likely start in Iowa, unless he finishes very strong in ST.

  • jtrain23

    I know that we were not on the positive side of this game, but I am ok with outings such as this. I feel that once the pitching situation shakes out, our rotation and bullpen will be decent enough not to lose as many games as last year. They may not win many games, but they will keep the team in the games.

    My major concern going into this year was the Cubs inability to put crooked numbers on the board, hit with authority, and produce with runners in scoring position. Hopefully Rizzo’s game has matured and a guy like Olt can reach some of his potential to give us some sort of presence in the middle of the lineup.

  • bmoneyy20

    I was in Arizona last week. the best thing I saw was Baez going in hard to second and breaking up a double play, this was after he hit a mammoth shot.