Giant Nine Spot Crushes Cubs
Matt Downs clubbed a grand slam home run to cap a nine-run 2nd inning, and the Giants coasted to a 9-4 victory over the Cubs in AZ Instructional League action this afternoon at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.
18-year old Venezuelan RHP Larry Suarez got the start for the Cubs today, and just like last time, had an easy 1-2-3 1st inning before struggling in his second inning of work.
The big right-hander allowed five runs on three hits and two walks in the top of the 2nd, and while his stuff was good (heavy sinker and a "plus" breaking ball), the big right-hander struggled with his mechanics, as he had a lot of trouble throwing strikes.
2008 11th round pick RHP Toby Matchulat (Wabash Valley CC) relieved Suarez with one out in the 2nd inning, and proceeded to surrender two bases-loaded walks and the grand slam to Downs. Matchulat had even more difficulty finding home plate than did Suarez.
Tarlandus Mitchell (two innings) and Erik Hamren, Jayson Ruhlman, Brian Schlitter, and Steve Vento (one inning each) threw six innings of one-hit shutout relief, but by then it was too late. Schlitter returned to the mound looking none the worse for wear, after getting struck flush on the shin by a line drive last week.
On offense, the Cubs scored a run in the bottom of the 1st, as speedy lead-off hitter Tony Campana worked a walk, stole second, advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch, and scored on a Josh Vitters RBI ground out.
The Cubs plated three more runs in the 4th on doubles by Vitters and Robinson Chirinos, a walk, two wild pitches, and a two-out RBI single by Junior Lake.
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Tony Campana, CF: 1-2 (R, 2 BB, SB, CS)
2. Josh Harrison, 2B: 0-3 (BB, K, 2 SB)
3. Josh Vitters, 3B: 1-4 (2B, R, RBI)
4. Brandon Guyer, RF: 1-4 (2 K)
5. Robinson Chirinos, C-DH: 1-4 (2B, R, RBI, K)
6. Jericho Jones, DH #1: 1-3 (R, 2B, BB, K)
7. Jake Opitz, 1B: 1-3 (2B)
8. Junior Lake, SS: 1-3 (RBI)
9. Carlos Morales, LF: 0-3 (2 K)
10. Carlos Perez, DH-C: 1-3
1. Larry Suarez - 1.1 IP, 3 H, 5 R (5 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP (1/1 GO/F/O) - 31 pitches (15 strikes)
2. Toby Matchulat - 1.2 IP, 1 H, 4 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 1 HR (3/2 GO/FO) - 30 pitches (13 strikes)
3. Tarlandus Mitchell - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K (1/3 GO/FO) - 39 pitches (25 strikes)
4. Erik Hamren - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 WP (1/1 GO/FO) - 17 pitches (9 strikes)
5. Jayson Ruhlman - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (0/1 GO/FO) - 11 pitches (9 strikes)
6. Brian Schlitter - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K (1/2 GO/FO) - 15 pitches (9 strikes)
7. Steve Vento - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (1/1 GO/FO) - 17 pitches (8 strikes)
1. Toby Matchulat, E-1, fumbled dribbler hit in front of pitcher's mound allowing batter to reach base;
2. Junior Lake, E-6, two base overthrow at 1st base allowing batter to reach 2nd base.
Robinson Chirinos: 1-1 CS
WEATHER: Hot but VERY breezy
ATTENDANCE: 60+ (MLB Scout School Day)
Apparently the Yankees had the choice of either Gleyber Torres or Eloy Jimenez in the Chapman deal, and they chose Torrers.
Chapman shouldn't be reserved anymore on 40 man.
Interesting split on Heyward according to ESPN. As a CF, his slash line .292/.363/.375/.738. At RF: .212/.204/.300/.604. 21/72 as a CF, 58/273 as a RF.
He's also been better when batting 2nd, but he had a nice start in the 6 hole, but has slumped ever since. He was heating up before the All Star break, but is only hitting .108 in the 2nd half.
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.