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)
They've mentioned Henry Rodriguez (2013), Chris Carpenter, and Andrew Cashner as Cubs who have gone 100+. They said Rodriguez was tops at 100.8. Who knows before 2008?
He'll play regardless of what he does, just like Soriano played for seven years before they finally ditched him.
What can they do? All I can think of is they can keep hiring and firing hitting coaches until they find one who can get him to stop hitting balls with the handle of the bat.
(All those broken bats added to his paycheck is just a bit much.)
Lester will probably be all right.
I think Arrieta might have added too much muscle preparing for that butt-naked ESPN photo shoot. Pitchers are supposed to be loose, not muscled up.
I have basically written off Heyward for this year -- if you are working on major swing changes in late July, you are going to struggle. Hopefully, he can be more productive at the plate next year. It will be interesting to see what they do with him if the Cardinals keep winning and close the gap. Heyward is dead last in the NL in slugging and in the bottom 5 in OPS -- yet still has a positive WAR. Hunh.
Has anybody in a Cub uniform ever thrown a ball 103 before?
He certainly looks better, no doubt, and is a different player than what we saw when he first came up. Full credit to him for changing his approach and saving his career.
But he has zero walks in 35AB since the break, and 10 in 251 AB all year. He does seem to be able to hit some pitches out of the zone, but, a guy with his pop should be drawing more walks. However, it's easy to forget he is still only 23, and probably trying to make an impact to prove he should be an everyday player.
The usual suspects, Molina and Wong. Gyorko drew a walk with two outs, none on. I recall us (particularly Szczur and Bryant) swinging at everything Familia threw.
Yup. Thanks Q
Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTNekUcY-XM
I for one hope that Sosa comes back soon.
O/B interesting you should mention that. Google ESPN Science Aroldis Chapman and you'll be treated to how his mechanics and delivery are possibly historic. It's the 120% of his body stretch plus the torque. They compare him to the Unit and NRyan.
Amazing how much lower the production gets when Bryant runs into a mini-cold streak. He doesn't stay cold for long. If just one of Zobrist or, gulp, Heyward, gets hot, they oughta have one more really nice winning streak in them. Having a closer that you have absolute confidence in can't hurt.
I hope they hold onto Jimenez. Outfield depth is questionable, especially with McKinney, who struggled this year but still, gone.
You don't think he's improved? He looks completely different out there than he did when he first came up. The last I checked his K rate was in the low 20% range - 22-23 or so. When he came up it was 40%+.
To me, what is scary about him if I'm the other guy is that he IS learning the strike zone. This guy could easily be the MVP someday.
So, playing .500 for the rest of the year puts them at 91 wins. You would think there is enough talent to do a little better than that, right?
First team to 60 wins! Onward to 70, 80, 90 and 100!