Cubs Use Long Ball to Reach the High Life
Nelson Perez smashed a gargantuan three-run homer high over the RF fence with no outs in the bottom of the 4th and John Contreras followed with a two-run shot over the LF fence and onto 8th Street later that same inning, giving the EXST Cubs all the runs they needed en route to an 8-4 kreusening of the EXST Brewers this morning at Fitch Park Field #3. The win was dedicated to the Chicago Cubs, who dropped two out of three to the Milwaukee Brewers this week at Wrigley Field
RHPs Billy Petrick (on the AAA Iowa DL with shoulder weakness) and Grant Johnson (on the AA Tennessee DL with a sprained elbow ligament) continued their rehab, each throwing one inning of shutout ball in today's game. Both appear to be fairly close to returning to their respective clubs.
The other pitchers who had outings today came back with mixed reults.
19-year old Dominican RHP Dionis Nunez gave up two runs on four hits before getting yanked out of the game mid-inning, and then he got chewed-out by one of the coaches on the bench before being allowed to go to the clubhouse. Not a good day for Dionis.
But 17-year old Dominican LHP Jeffry Antigua threw the ball very well again today while racking up four strikeouts in two innings of work, and 18-year old Dominican RHP Rogelio Carmona dropped some high octane yeast on Brewers hitters over his two innings.
And RHP Kevin Kreier (who has pitched sparingly this Spring) threw the ball as well as I've ever seen him throw, throwing strikes and keeping the Brewers hitters off-balance with a nice assortment of pitches. Kreier was a 20th round pick of the Cubs in the 2006 June draft out of Foothill HS in Henderson, NV, but he had a horrible pro debut in 2007, going 0-1 with an 11+ ERA for the AZL Cubs (Mesa).
In addition to the N. Perez and Contreras long-balls, Carlos Perez had a nice day, going 3-4 (all singles) with two RBI at the plate, while throwing out three of the six base-runners who tried to steal against him. C. Perez, a 20-year old catcher from Venezuela with three years of pro experience (one in the DSL and two in the AZL), is a definite prospect. He would probably be the #1 catcher at Peoria right now if Josh Donaldson wasn't in his way.
In EXST Cubs roster news, RHP Todd Blackford (2007 TJ surgery) has completed his rehab and has been assigned to Peoria, following RHP Billy Muldowney who was moved up to Peoria from EXST earlier this last week. (Some of you may remember Blackford as one of the two pitchers acquired by the Cubs from Atlanta in the Todd Hollandswoth deal a couple or three years ago).
In addition, RHPs Francisco Acosta and Jose Severino were sent home to the Dominican Republic after being involved in an off-the-field fight (with each other), and RHP Scott Taylor (at Fitch Park while serving a 50-game prohibited substance suspension) was sent home after violating a team rule. Acosta and Severino will likely pitch for one of the two DSL Cubs teams (although hopefully not both on the same one!), while Taylor's future is less clear, although I can say almost absolutely, positively for sure that Taylor will NOT be pitching in the Dominican Summer League .
On the injury front, Iowa 1B Micah Hoffpauir (on the DL with an oblique strain suffered just prior to Openng Day) and Tennessee 1B Matt Craig (on the DL with a leg injury) are both at Fitch Park. Hoff-POWER! is still in the early stages of rehab and is not yet swinging a bat (at least he's not taking BP), and Craig is limping around Fitch Park in shorts and flip-flops, so I wouldn't expect to see him getting into any game action for a while, either.
Both 2B Jeffrey Rea (strained quad) and LF Brandon Guyer (fractured elbow) are taking BP, but neither are playing in EXST games at this time Rea (at EXST rehabbing a sore arm) was all set to go to Peoria last week before straining a quad while running the bases the day before he was scheduled to depart, so he is probably on suicide watch right now.
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only)
1a. Cesar Salazar, DH #1: 1-2 (R, HBP)
1b. Roberto Sabates, PH: 0-1
2. Gian Guzman, 2B-SS: 1-3 (2 R, BB, SB, K)
3. Carlos Perez, C: 3-4 (2 RBI, R)
4. Nelson Perez, RF: 1-4 (HR, 3 RBI, R, K)
5. Luis Bautista, 1B: 0-3 (R, HBP)
6. Kevin Soto, CF: 0-3 (R, BB, 2 K)
7a. Luke Sommer, LF: 0-3 (K)
7b. Andres Quezada, LF: 0-1
8. John Contreras, 3B: 1-2 (HR, 2 RBI, R, 2 BB, K)
9. Junior Lake, DH #2: 2-3 (3B, RBI, BB)
10a. George Matheus, SS: 1-2
10b. Starlin Castro, 2B: 0-2 (K)
1. Billy Petrick - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP, 1 GIDP
2. Grant Johnson - 1.0 IP, 0 H. 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K
3. Jeffry Antigua - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K
4. Dionis Nunez - 1.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HR
5. Rogelio Carmona - 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K
6. Kevin Kreier - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K
Carlos Perez: 3-6 CS
WEATHER: Hot & sunny, and not quite as breezy as it was the last couple of days.
ATTENDANCE: 17, including 14 adults, two children (both appeared to be pre-schoolers), and one dog. There also was a curious absence of the usual coterie of pigeons, which remains unexplained at this time.
I love winning! It's, like, better than losing?
You lollygag the ball around the infield. You lollygag your way down to first. You lollygag in and out of the dugout. You know what that makes you? Larry!
Its too bad Warren didnt get to pitch. He would have saved us.
Whoa -- that Contreras play in the 8th looked too much like a "Schwarber" -- nearly crashed into the wall going full speed, with Heyward doing the same.
New rule: if you are a catcher playing LF, and find yourself sprinting after a fly ball in the gap -- stop, let the CF go after it and get ready to play it off the wall.
Cubs have no spark and no life. Pretty boring to watch these days.
I thought trips to Miami were supposed to be fun. This one sucked.
The bottom half of the bullpen now turns close games into blowout losses. Not good.
Once Fowler went to the DL, the team went into the tank. Wonder if he'll get any love this offseason? Probably not.
6IP, 2ER. The last one scored because of another botched Zobrist DP turn.
And now, a bad throw by KB. Sloppy.
What is it with Hammel always starting well and sucking after a couple months?
Ahhh...sad. Lke a few of you here, I saw him play during the '69-'71 seasons. He was the "hot Zobrist" for the club in August/September of '69 while everyone else was fizzling out...
I predict: "They will play hard and if they give the same effort every day, they'll win a lot of games."
OK, boys -- find a way to win today.
There's some BA is missing too, here's all signing bonus BA doesn't have some:
-6 Hockin $241,000 (slot price), 7 Cruz $75,000 (saved $110,00), 8 Ridlings $120,000 (saved $53,800), 9 Robinson $30,000 (saved $132,300), so far the Cubs have saved an extra $297,100
Zobrist (2B), Hayward (CF), Bryant (3B), Rizzo, Contreras (LF), Montero, Russell, Coghlan (RF), Hammel
Also -- despite losing 6 of their last 10, the Cubs picked up a game on both STL and PIT during that period. Weird, given that they swept PIT and were swept by STL.
Also, I'd like to know if there are numbers to back up my suspicion that there are a lot more fast starts than late June romps. This seems like a time where everybody not named Willson Contreras is looking a little tired and/or banged up a bit.
For once, the Cubs got off to a fast start. Seems like I've been waiting for that for 50 years.Everybody is really gunning for this team, too. It's their playoffs.