Cubs Teach Giants a Thing or Two at Fitch
Junior Lake drove in three runs, Matt Cerda had three hits, and Brandon Guyer belted a solo home run, as the Cubs defeated the Giants 5-2 this afternoon in AZ Instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.
The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 2nd when Matt Cerda smashed a two-out triple off the right-centerfield fence, and scored on a "swinging bunt" infield hit by Junior Lake.
The Cubs scored four more in the 4th, as Brandon Guyer led-off with a HR over the LF fence onto 8th Street, his second HR in two days. With one out, Carlos Perez and Matt Cerda singled, and Junior Lake drove-in both Perez and Cerda with a triple pulled into the LF corner. After Carlos Morales was hit by a pitch, 18-year old Korean SS Hak-Ju Lee (making his U. S. debut) beat-out a relay from the second baseman on a potential 6-4-3 DP ball, allowing Lake to score.
The Cubs signed Lee earlier this year for a high six figure bonus (believed to have been somewhere around $800K U. S.), and the youngster attended the MLB Australian Baseball Academy along with Cubs Australian prospects Ryan Searle, Cody Hams, Adam Spencer, and Sean Williams this past Summer.
Lee is tall and thin, and looks every bit the teenager that he is. 25-year old Korean player-coach Min Kyu Sung (who played college ball in the U. S. at the U. of Nebraska - Omaha and who was signed by Cubs farm director Oneri Fleita last December to mentor Korean RHP Dae-Eun Rhee at Peoria) is now back at Fitch Park, helping Lee get adjusted to professional baseball and life in America. Sung coached 1st base today, and communicated in Korean with Lee prior to each of the youngster's at bats and after Lee got to 1st base on the RBI FC.
While the lefty-swinging Lee appeared to be a bit overmatched at the plate (he took a couple of off-balance swings that looked like he was trying to imitate Kosuke Fukudome), he did get his bat on the ball in two of his three ABs, while working a walk on a 3-2 pitch in his other PA. And he showed off his plus-speed when he beat the relay throw on the 6-4 FC RBI grounder.
RHP Alberto Alburquerque (April 2008 shoulder surgery) came over from the Fitch Park Rehab Group and got the start on the mound for the Cubs, pitching in his first game action in over a year. The Dominican righthander was surprisingly sharp with his control (16 pitches, only four balls), and while he did allow two (harmless) singles in his one inning of work, he was throwing all of his pitches for strikes, including a fastball with decent velocity.
2008 18th round draft pick LHP Jeffrey Beliveau (Florida Atlantic) followed Alburquerque to the hill and was very impressive. Beliveau has a reputation for having quality stuff with the typical spotty command of a young lefty, but he threw strikes today, displaying a fastball with movement, a change, and a plus-curve that really fooled the Giants hitters.
2008 22nd round pick RHP Tarlandus Mitchell (Alto HS - Alto, TX), one of only three high schoolers drafted and signed by the Cubs out of this past June's draft, worked just one inning, and had trouble throwing strikes. The normally hard-throwing Mitchell (typically showcasing a 94 MPH fastball) was throwing only 88-90 today, but he appeared to be working on his secondary pitches and command at the expense of velocity, albeit not too successfully .
Peoria RHRP Steve Vento had an eventful two innings, allowing four hits but only one run, as two of the runners were thrown out, one doubled-off 1st base on a line-drive to SS, and the other thrown out while trying to score after an overthrow at 1st base by Cubs third-baseman Carlos Morales (who could be Junior Lake's twin brother, BTW).
Daytona LHRP Jayson Ruhlman pitched the 7th and 8th innings, allowing one hit, walking two, and striking out four. He also picked a runner off 1st base, showing a nifty pick-off move. Then he tried to pick a runner off 1st again the next inning and got called for a balk. I guess you win some & you lose some.
RHP David Cales (2008 24th round draft pick out of St. Xavier by way of UIC and the University of Missouri) worked the 9th inning and was generally ineffective, throwing only 11 strikes among his 21 pitches, and allowing a HR, a single, and a walk, before the stocky right-hander struck out the final hitter (who represented the tying run) on a dynamite slider to preserve the victory.
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Tony Campana, CF: 0-3 (BB, K)
2. Josh Harrison, 2B: 0-4
3. Brandon Guyer, RF: 2-4 (SOLO HR, 2B, K)
4. Rebel Ridling, LF: 0-4 (K)
5. Carlos Perez, 1B: 2-4 (R, 2B, K)
6. Matt Cerda, C-DH: 3-4 (2 R, 3B)
7. Junior Lake, SS: 2-4 (R, 3 RBI, 3B, K)
8. Carlos Morales, 3B: 0-3 (K, HBP)
9. Hak-ju Lee, DH #1: 0-2 (RBI, BB)
10. Juan Medina, DH-C: 0-3
1. Alberto Alburquerque - 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (2/0 GO/FO) - 16 pitches (12 strikes)
2. Jeffrey Beliveau - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K (3/0 GO/FO) - 32 pitches (18 strikes)
3. Tarlandus Mitchell - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K (1/1 GO/FO) - 19 pitches (9 strikes)
4. Steve Vento - 2.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K (0/5 GO/FO) - 25 pitches (16 strikes)
5. Jayson Ruhlman - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 PO, 1 BALK (0/1 GO/FO) - 34 pitches (21 strikes)
6. David Cales - 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR (1/1 GO/FO) - 21 pitches (11 strikes)
Carlos Morales, E-5, overthrow at 1st base
Matt Cerda: 0-1 CS
WEATHER: 100+, hot, cloudless skies
ATTENDANCE: 10 (mostly scouts)
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.
The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.
If the ball didn't deflect off the pitcher's mound, the game wouldn't have ended. Montgomery did miss his location though, but if that same contact was made and went in any of direction, good chance of ground out if it doesn't get through.
If it was 1 night later, Chapman would be out there and we probably would be going to extras.
Also, If KB wasn't robbed of a HR, perhaps we would have won. We will never know. Nice play by Melky though.
The comparison isn't Chapman replacing Rondon. It's Chapman replacing Richard (hopefully) in the pen. Chapman's better.