Cubs Rally to Defeat Angels at Fitch
Tony Campana had four RBI, Logan Watkins scored three runs, Josh Vitters had two doubles and a walk, and Jake Optiz smashed a double and a triple, as the Cubs rallied from a 7-3 deficit to defeat the Angels 9-7 in AZ Instructional League action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.
RHP Alberto Alburquerque (April 2008 shoulder surgery) got the start for the Cubs and worked two strong innings, allowing one run on two hits and no walks (29 pitches - 23 strikes), while striking out four. Alburquerque pitched aggressively, with a 91-93 MPH fastball, an outstanding breaking ball, and an effective change working for him, keeping Angels hitters off-balance. If he can stay healthy, Alburquerque could be in the starting rotation at Daytona next April (Daytona manager Jody Davis is the AZIL Cubs manager, so he has witnessed Alburquerque's two Instructs outings first-hand).
2008 18th round draft pick LHP Jeffrey Beliveau (Florida Atlantic) followed Alburquerque to the hill and worked two innings (39 pitches), allowing two runs on a HBP, an RBI triple, and a wild pitch. The 21-year old Beliveau struggled some with his control, but he did strike out the last two hitters he faced. He has quality stuff. He just needs to throw strikes.
21-year old Dominican RHP Miguel Corletto (up at Instructs from the DSL Cubs) made his U. S. debut and worked a scoreless 5th inning, although he certainly didn't fool anybody (line-drive double, SH, and a L-4 DP that would have been a sure-fire RBI hit if Jake Optiz hadn't been standing in the way). Nothing very impressive about Corletto.
Peoria RHP John Muller pitched the 6th and had a nightmare outing, allowing four runs on two singles, a walk, a triple, and a wild pitch. Muller has one of the best sliders in the organization, but his fastball probably needs another couple of feet.
Daytona RHP Brian Schlitter (acquired from the Phillies last month for Scott Eyre), Peoria closer Steve Vento, and ex-OF (now LHP) Luke Sommer (converted to pitcher this past April at EXST) retired the last nine Angels hitters in order on just 23 pitches COMBINED, although Schlitter took a line drive off his left shin during his one inning of work. He was last seen limping to the clubhouse. Hopefully there was no fracture.
Today marked the 2008 AZ Instructional League debut of 2007 Cubs #1 draft pick Josh Vitters, and, the youngster picked up right where he left off at Boise (Vitters was rated the #1 prospect in the Northwest League by Baseball America), crushing two doubles and drawing a walk in his four PAs.
1. Starlin Castro, SS: 1-4 (SF-RBI, K)
2. Matt Cerda, C-DH: 1-3 (R, 2 BB, K)
3. Brandon Guyer, CF: 1-4 (2B, RBI, BB)
4. Rebel Ridling, 1B: 0-4 (2 K)
5. Josh Vitters, DH #1: 2-3 (2 2B, R, RBI, BB, K)
6. Jake Opitz, 2B: 2-4 (2B, 3B, R, RBI)
7. Juan Medina, DH-C: 0-4 (R)
8. Logan Watkins, LF: 2-3 (3 R, BB, K, SB)
9. Carlos Morales, 3B: 0-3 (R, SH, 2 K)
10. Tony Campana, RF: 2-3 (3B, R, 4 RBI, BB)
1. Alberto Alburquerque - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 4 K (2/0 GO/FO) - 29 pitches (23 strikes)
2. Jeffrey Beliveau - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP (3/1 GO/FO) - 39 pitches (25 strikes)
3. Miguel Corletto - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K (1/2 GO/FO) - 9 pitches (7 strikes)
4. John Muller - 1.0 IP, 3 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP (2/0 GO/FO) - 21 pitches (14 strikes)
5. Brian Schlitter - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K (2/1 GO/FO) - 4 pitches (3 strikes)
6. Steve Vento - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (2/0 GO/FO) - 9 pitches (6 strikes)
7. Luke Sommer - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (1/0 GO/FO) - 10 pitches (8 strikes)
Matt Cerda: 0-2 CS
Juan Medina: 0-2 CS
WEATHER: 100+ hotter than hot degrees
ATTENDANCE: 16 (mostly scouts)
Cubs Player Personnel Director Oneri Fleita has been at Instructs all week, but he was to leave for Chicago after today's game, probably for pre-NLDS personnel & roster strategy meetings with Manager Lou Piniella and the coaching staff, GM Jim Hendry, Assistant GM Randy Bush, Scouting Director Tim Wilken, Iowa manager Pat Listach, Hendry's senior advisor (Gary Hughes), and special assignment & advance scouts Ken Kravec, Ed Lynch, Mike Valarezo, and Paul Weaver.
Trouble Boys, the Replacements bio, is a great option. I'm sure Chad loved it.
Amen Brick. What's the point of following early-season games if you can't over-react to them? What, we should be reading books now?
"Weren't the National considered a near lock last year?"
No, I think you're thinking of Radiohead, The 1975, or Bowie's last album.
Although The National's Greatful Dead tribute is pretty cool.
I don't think they're any kind of lock, though I do expect they'll make the playoffs.
It's not like I'm glad they've gone 4-8. I just don't think it's time to be all that worried -- just like I didn't think they were going to keep playing .730 ball.
vegas isn't a fan of the game because of how erratic and unpredictable it is.
SF has recently won 3 world series many thought they weren't supposed to win...BOS won a world series recently that they weren't even supposed to be in the playoffs for...favored teams with huge wins have seen 1st round exists...fun times.
I think they'll be ok too. But having watched this team since the mid-60s, I never think it's time to conclude, well, thank god the drought is over. I've seen/heard way too many people who follow the Cubs say glad we're finally going to win the Series this year. Please. Weren't the National considered a near lock last year?
Best record in baseball and largest division lead.
I'm jumping right now!
Can we please stop pointing out how ridiculous it is to panic and start panicking in earnest?
,571 winning percentage in May.
I think they're gonna be OK.
RAISIN: All I know is that Oscar de la Cruz is still shut down, and I don't know what his prognosis is, or what the plan is going forward.
Remember just two weeks ago, when "all" they had to do was play .500 ball the rest of the season and coast into the playoffs?
Well I guess if pitchers can keep working the edges of the plate to perfection it will be a long season. But that doesn't seem likely. Rizzo finally, fully, snapping out of it would help.
If I didn't believe in coincidences (or science), I would apologize to Gordon Downie--one of my favorites. Sad news about a great talent.
Hi Arizona Phil,
Has there been any news on Oscar de la Cruz' health?
O&B: Cease was apparently working on his off-speed pitches in his first & thrd innings, because in his second inning of work he just blew the D'backs away with high-velocity gas (that's when he hit 99-100 and struck out the side).