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.