Javier Baez Apparently Can Do Whatever He Wants in the AFL, Too

Five Cubs saw game action in tonight's AFL Opening Night at Salt River Fields between the Mesa Solar Sox and the Salt River Rafters:  



MATT SZCZUR: Played CF and hit lead-off, grounded out 6-3 leading off the game, then laid-down a 5-3 sac bunt in the 3rd, walked his next two times up, and popped up to the first-baseman in his final PA. He saw 19 pitches in his five ABs.


JAVIER BAEZ: Got the start at SS and batted 7th in the Solar Sox order, absolutely crushing a 450+ ft HR over the CF Batter's Eye on a 1-1 pitch (94 MPH fastball) off Rockies RHP Tyler Chatwood in his first AFL AB, and then lining a two-run double (with a lot of top-spin) into the LF corner in the top of the 6th. Baez also struck out (swinging) twice, the first time on an 0-2 pitch (slider away in the dirt) and the second time on a 1-2 pitch (also in the dirt, after taking two strikes). Baez also advanced to 3rd base after his two-run double when the Rafters catcher tried to pick him off 2nd base, and Baez alertly just kept running to 3rd (was scored as a WP). BTW, at age 19 Baez is the second-youngest player in the AFL. (The youngest player is Rangers SS Luis Saldina, who is also 19, but is 5-1/2 months younger than Baez). FWIW, Starlin Castro was also 19 when he played in the AFL in 2009. 


RUBI SILVA: Pinch-hit for DH Aaron Westlake leading off the 8th and lined an opposite-field single just to the right of the diving SS, eventually coming around to score the go-ahead run.


KEVIN RHODERICK: Relieved starter Jarred Cosart in the bottom of the 4th (Cosart retired the first ten batters he faced), working 1.2 IP (23 pitches - 18 strikes) and allowing no runs on one hit (a hustle double where the batter looked to be out at 2nd base) and no walks with three strikeouts. Rhoderick has had major control issues throughout his career, but he was firing strikes tonight.  


TONY ZYCH: Was called into the game with two outs in the bottom of the 8th after the Rafters had taken a 6-5 lead off Orioles LHRP Mike Belfiore, and he struck out the one batter he faced (Blue Jays OF Jake Marisnick) on three pitches (the last one a 97 MPH heater).


A number of Cubs execs (including Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and Jason McLeod) were at the game, as were about a half-dozen Instructs Cubs (most of whom were teammates of Javier Baez just six months ago in Extended Spring Training).      

Recent comments

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  • Kershaw uses his 132nd pitch for his 15th K (Marlon Juice Byrd, with the tying run at 2nd), and the Dodgers sweep the Giants. Also, Pirates lose to the Brewers for the 5th straight time. So...with 30 to play, we are 6.5 up on SF (7 in loss column) and 8 up on the Nats, and still in contact (4.5 back) of the Pirates. Man, what a roller coaster the last 2 days -- fantastic stuff.
  • Schlitter still pitching for Iowa? Guess nobody wanted him?
  • JOHN B: Pierce Johnson and Rob Zastryzny were likely 2015 AFL candidates (I mentioned them as likely candidates to get assigned to the AFL in an article about the AFL last month) because they are starting pitchers who missed part of the season due to injuries and they need to accrue more innings.
  • Also - what did Bosio say when we went to talk to Rondon? "OK, Hector, tie game, 9th inning, 2 outs, 2-0 count on the hottest hitter in the game. Let's try the ol' fastball right down the middle and see how that works, hmmm?" Terrible pitch. I've never been a fan of using closers in non-save situations -- they are used to pitching with adrenaline pumping and celebrating the last out of the inning. I realize it was a a swinging bunt and an error that caused the problem, but that may have been the worst pitch I have seen Rondon throw in a long time.
  • Ugly series save a few clutch Homeruns. 2 first inning Homeruns allowed. 2 complete innings (out of 27) with a lead (8th and 9th game 2). 6 Leads/Ties given up top half of the inning after scoring. 9 9th inning unearned runs. Brutal roadtrip coming up while SF plays 22 straight against teams with losing records. Like the Cubs odds, obviously, but long way to go.
  • No more f'n Pajama Parties, Joe! Losing a series at home to the Reds (who have a worse record than the Brewers) in September is not what we are looking for, gentlemen. 3 series losses in a row -- let's get that fixed immediately. Bad error by KB as Crunch describes -- almost like he was surprised the ball was hit to him. I think if he makes that play we win the game.
  • solid smack to him...right through his legs. he wasn't even in motion, totally stationary. no bad bounce, either. it was hit very hard, but also squarely wiffed...not even any glove contact. it happens...not a good time for it to happen with 2 outs, though. that was the inning ender, easy.
  • Can someone tell me about Bryant's error who saw the play? You cannot give the Reds (or most teams) 4 outs. In this case with Joey Votto coming up.
  • un...fucking...believable... tie a game in the bottom 8th, give up 3 runs in the top 9th...why the hell not. awesome.
  • DAT TIE THO.
  • Ugh Hammel...the new Haren. The 3-5 starters have imploded and killed yet another series.
  • Just about to type the same thing.....Augh!
  • 5 times in the last 3 games, Cubs have taken the lead or tied the game in the bottom half, only to give up runs in the top half.
  • <p>I'd like to see stats on opposing pitcher batting average. It's probably not real, but seems like we give up hits all the time to f-ing pitchers.&nbsp;</p>
  • Tony Four Sacks # 27