Cubs Win 8-1 in Arizona!

OK. So it was the Arizona Instructional League Cubs. But, hey, they ARE Cubs, and they DID win 8-1 today at Fitch Park Field #3, defeating the Giants with a 15-hit attack that featured the professional debut of Korean RHP Dae-Eun Rhee. Signed by Cubs Pacific Rim Scouting Coordinator Steve Wilson last July, the 18-year old Rhee was considered one of the top pitching prospects in South Korea this past year. Rhee's parents traveled from South Korea to Arizona with Dae-Eun, and have been attending Instructional League games for two weeks, hoping for a chance to see their son to pitch in a game. And today, they fiinally got their wish. With their mini-video recorders in hand recording their son's debut from different POVs, Rhee showed-off a 90 MPH two-seamer with movement and a virtually unhittable splitter that left Giants hitters waving their bats like fly swatters. I can tell you that scouts from rival teams who were in attendance at the game today were VERY impressed with Rhee. Another positive is the continued improvement in Donnie Veal. The only AA pitcher at Instructs, Veal arrived at Fitch Park last month with his mechanics totally messed up. But he has managed to smooth-out his delivery and straighten-up his body (he's now "pitching tall") to where he is an almost completely new (and better!) pitcher than the one who arrived three weeks ago. And he was at his best today, throwing two pristine perfect innings (22 pitches), and striking out three. He was as sharp as a tack. I have questioned whether Veal could remain a starter, what with his consistently high pitch counts and poor command, but based on his last couple of outings, things might be coming around for Donnie. He looked great today, that's for sure. Chris Huseby got the start for the Cubs, and had another fine outing, throwing two shutout innings (25 pitches). Veal followed Huseby with his two perfect innings, and then 24-year old Colombian RHP Dumas Garcia followed, throwing two more blanks. Garcia pitched for the Georgia Peanuts in the independent South Coast League in 2007, and was signed by the Cubs just last month. He cocks his head to the side, and then brings a 94 MPH fastball and killer change-up to the plate. Rhee pitched the 7th, and then 25-year old Venezuelan RHP Rafael Cova worked a 1-2-3 8th (with two strikeouts). Some of you may remember Cova as a hotshot pitching prospect with the Mets a couple of years ago (he even got an NRI to ST with the big club in 2006), but he got himself suspended during the'06 season, and then was released. He pitched for Tijuana (Mexican League) in 2007, and was one of three Tijuana pitchers signed by the Cubs recently (RHP Alan Guerrero and LHP Marco Tovar being the other two). And there is nothing wrong with Cova's arm (mid-90's fastball and a plus breaking ball), either. At the plate, the Cubs scored a run in the 3rd on an RBI double hit high off the left-field fence by Brandon Guyer following back-to-back two-out singles by Marwin Gonzalez and Steve Clevenger, and then four more in the 5th. Jovan Rosa and Drew Rundle led off the 5th with singles, and then Gian Guzman walked to load the bases with nobody out. Jonathan Wyatt then smoked a double off the center field hitting background to plate Rosa, Rundle, and Guzman, and Clevenger knocked-in Wyatt with a line single to CF. The Cubs scored again in the bottom of the 6th on an RBI single by Guzman following a lead-off double by Kyler Burke and a one-out single by Rundle, and then scored two more runs the 7th. Carlos Perez led off the 7th with a single, and advanced to third on a double by Guyer, his second two-bagger of the game. After Cliff Andersen walked to load the bases with nobody out, Marquez Smith hit a sac fly onto the warning track in RF to score Perez, and then Jovan Rosa singled to drive-in Burke. The last inning featured a 35-pitch performance by Jose Ceda that was worthy of Satchel Paige, as he walked the bases loaded and then struck out the side. Unfortunately, before he walked the bases loaded, Ceda gave up an infield single to the lead-off hitter, so he lost the shutout. On the injury front, the two catchers knocked out of yesterday's intrasquad game (Carlos Perez with a hamstring tweak and Mark Reed with a blow to the groin) have returned to action. Perez relieved Steve Clevenger behind the plate to start the sixth inning, and Reed worked out on Field #2 with rest of the postion players who did not play in the game, although his voice was about an octave higher today than it was yesterday. Having Perez and Reed able to return to action was good for Steve Clevenger and Josh Donaldson, because otherwise the Cubs would have been down to just two catchers. (The 5th catcher in camp--highly regarded Welington Castillo--had his Instructional League season cut-short after undergoing season-ending knee-surgery). Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only): LINEUP: 1. Jonathan Wyatt, CF (1-5, R, 3 RBI, 2B) 2. Marwin Gonzalez, SS (2-4, R, 2B) 3A. Steve Clevenger, C (2-2, RBI, BB) 3B. Carlos Perez, C (1-1, R) 4. Brandon Guyer, DH #1 (3-4, R, RBI, 2 2B, K) 5. Cliff Andersen, LF (1-3, BB) 6. Marquez Smith, 2B (0-3, SF-RBI, 2 K) 7. Kyler Burke, RF (1-4, R, 2B, 2 K) 8. Jovan Rosa, 3B (2-4, R, RBI, K) 9. Drew Rundle, 1B (2-4, R, K) 10. Gian Guzman, DH #2 (1-3, R, RBI, BB) PITCHING: 1. Chris Huseby - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (25 pitches) 2. Donald Veal - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (22 pitches) 3. Dumas Garcia - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (24 pitches) 4. Dae-Eun Rhee - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (11 pitches) 5. Rafael Cova - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R,0 BB, 2 K (11 pitches) 6. Jose Ceda - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 3 K, 2 WP (35 pitches) ERRORS: NONE ATTENDANCE: 50+ (a collection of scouting trainees from the MLB Scouting Bureau were crawling all over the place... it was hard to breath!).
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Comments

AZ PHIL: If only the big league team could do this well in AZ.

What's the prognosis on Ceda getting, a. a ST invite, 2008, AND b. when do you think he would have a shot of breaking into the Majors?

The E-Man — October 5, 2007 @ 5:53 pm
AZ PHIL: If only the big league team could do this well in AZ.

What’s the prognosis on Ceda getting, a. a ST invite, 2008, AND b. when do you think he would have a shot of breaking into the Majors?

=============================

E-MAN: I don't think Ceda will get an NRI to ST 2008, but he could move up quickly through the pipeline in '08 (beginning season at Daytona, and then maybe a mid-season promotion to AA), and could be a late-season (September) recall.

But even if he and his 98 MPH fastball and hard slider aren't brought up to the big leagues anytime next season, I would fully expect him to be a part of the Cubs bullpen by 2009.

He is a freakin' BEAST.

FWIW, i saw that headline and wanted to cry.

OK I feel better now- Yankees also going home, down two games to none.

Not that I'm taking delight in others' misfortune...but...

yes I am

you know for $50 million, this Dice-K guy kind of sucks....

And I thought the 13 people that attended last week's game was a sellout...

how's ceda's slider breaking? he have better control of it yet? can he keep it low or does he even need to in order to be effective? why dont unicorns exist?

How serious is Castillo's injury/surgery? And I got to ask, what did Cova do to get suspended/cut?

Great to hear such rave reviews on Rhee and good to see improvements with Huseby and Veal. Thanks for all these updates!!

Also, in regards to the Dolis injury in your previous entry - that's a real shame. I really liked Dolis from the early results. I take it both he and Muldowney will miss most of 2008 too?

crunch — October 5, 2007 @ 7:40 pm
how’s ceda’s slider breaking? he have better control of it yet? can he keep it low or does he even need to in order to be effective? why dont unicorns exist?

=========================

CRUNCH: When Ceda's wild, he's wild with his fastball. His slider isn't the problem.

Navin — October 5, 2007 @ 7:41 pm
How serious is Castillo’s injury/surgery? And I got to ask, what did Cova do to get suspended/cut?

Great to hear such rave reviews on Rhee and good to see improvements with Huseby and Veal. Thanks for all these updates!!

===============================

NAVIN: I'm not exactly sure what the nature of the knee injury was, but apparently it was not a torn ACL or MCL. It was some kind of scope job.

cool, and thnx.

how does he use his slider? does he try to keep it low or does he use the whole zone?

Navin — October 5, 2007 @ 7:47 pm
Also, in regards to the Dolis injury in your previous entry - that’s a real shame. I really liked Dolis from the early results. I take it both he and Muldowney will miss most of 2008 too

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NAVIN: Hopefully both will be healthy enough to be assigned to the Active Rehab group at EXST 2008, and then be ready for a minor league assignment by mid-season. It certainly does delay their development, though.

crunch — October 5, 2007 @ 9:37 pm
cool, and thnx.

how does he use his slider? does he try to keep it low or does he use the whole zone?

==========================

CRUNCH: Ceda usually tries to throw his fastball at knee-level and when he misses, he misses low and/or off the corner. but after he walked the bases loaded today, he struck out the side with high heat in the strike zone, and that's when he throws 98 MPH.

His slider is hard and tight, and he targets it into the middle of the strike zone versus right-handed hitters and off the plate with a break back across the plate versus lefties. It's more likely to be a called strike versus left-handed hitters, and a swinging strike versus right-handed hitters.

He seems to have better command when he keeps the ball up in the strike zone and just lets her rip, mixing the high gas with his slider.

you know for $50 million, this Dice-K guy kind of sucks….

Turns out there's a difference pitching every five days versus every six days, and AL hitters are better than Nippon League hitters.

He's still better than Marquis though!

all first four series could be sweeps

He’s still better than Marquis though!

Well... Marquis also didn't cost 50 million dollars. Or anything close to that. And he isn't that much better.

Matsuzaka has an ERA+ of 104 while Marquis had an ERA+ of 99.

Definitely not a 30 million dollar difference, that's for sure.

And Neal... to close your italics tab, type "" at the end of the appropriate sentence.

ha... my directions on closing tags sure didn't work. oh well...

Neal - look up how to close tags somewhere.

More Chip Caray flashbacks during the Indians-Yanks game:

--before Hafner's GW 1B, talking about how if said hit were to happen, Lofton would "come scampering home" from third

--right after the count went to 3-2 on Hafner: "The pitch of decision!!!"

Yep, same old Chip.

"And Neal… to close your italics tab, type “” at the end of the appropriate sentence."

That must be some firefox bug. I don't have any problem with it in IE.

i'm awake and pumped for the game tonight.

i feel strangely optimistic. not sure why other than i like both pitching matchups. if the dbacks want to also bring webb back on short rest for game 4, ok. the way Z is pitching i'll take that shot again at home.

if you get to game 5 you're happy, all the pressure is on them. and lilly can't have his worst start of the year again....can he?

rich hill seems like the perfect zen warrior to drown it all out. i love the quotes after game 2 where he was eating an ice cream bar.

it all starts today.

We win tonight... Hill can, should, will beat Hernandez at home...

Ace going tomorrow... (I doubt Az will pitch Webb up 2-1... they'd want to save him for game 1 of the NLCS if possible) Lou won't pull him after 85 pitches this time.

Game 5 Lilly vs Webb... on paper against us but we'd be on a roll at that point... Pressue (and doubt) with Arizona... WE WIN!

I like our chances!

All 4 Division Series are 2-0, and other than the Rockies, the home team has won every game so far.

Lets keep up the Home team winning trend through the Weekend!

Something that might bring a smile to your face-

They may not win but they are the most likable team I can remember

http://deadspin.com/sports/ryan-dempster-like...

Dressing Wrigley for the NLDS pictures:

http://tinyurl.com/26gnb7

Not usual to mention a competitive blog but you gotta love the picture on Goatriders...of John Belushi

(and our mvn censors have put a kabosh on posting any pictures without written permission of the organization or photographer, so I guess GR must have had a seance with ol' John)

I went to the Cubs-Reds game last Sunday and Baseball America gave out free publications. In it, Josh Donaldson and Ceda received rave reviews. Sorry I can't produce it here but the gist was that Ceda definetly has major league stuff. I know Phil wrote some nice things about Donaldson last week as well.

Question for Az Phil?

Got to see your top 20 list for the organization, looked like it was a good one! There's some pretty decent players that didnt even make it, which shows that the Cubs seem to building alot of depth inside the organization. Could you tell us why you think that is and who might be responsible for this uprise in prospects with the Cubs.

Good Grief I'm sick of fair weather Cubs fans. Just like here, they're bailing (over at chicagosports.com)

The Cubs are down 0-2 -- and you're ...

36.3%
Disappointed but not giving up (3164 responses)

62.7%
Crushed ... with only a faint glimmer of hope or Waiting for next year. (5541 responses)

Fair-weather Cub's fan... Pfft... I'm a Rockies fan!

:-p

Have been since '74.

re:14

thanks for fielding questions. helps a lot.

Cubs lineup is in and predictable, given we were told Kendall was catching (from AM 1000 and Bruce Levine):

Soriano LF
Theriot SS
DLee 1B
Floyd RF
ARam 3B
DeRosa 2B
JJones CF
Kendall C
Rich Hill P

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