Cubs Sweep Giants at Fitch Park
Larry Suarez threw four shutouts innings and struck out seven, and Jose Made smacked a bases-loaded triple, leading the EXST Cubs to a 4-2 victory over the EXST Giants at Fitch Park Field #1, in one-half of an Extended Spring Training simultaneous doubleheader played this morning in Mesa under partly cloudy skies.
In the other game on Field #3, ex-OF (now RHP) Andres Quezada threw three shutout innings and the Cubs rode the extra-base hitting of John Contreras en route to an 8-3 victory over a second squad of EXST Giants.
By throwing four innings today, the 19-year old Suarez became the second Cubs pitcher at EXST to go beyond three innings (RHP Marco Carrillo was the other one, but he was at Fitch Park on an injury-rehab assignment from Daytona).
Throwing a two-seam fastball that breaks bats and is clocked consistently at 94-96 MPH, a nasty breaking ball, and an occasional change-up (just to keep the opposition honest), Suarez is unquestionably the top pitching prospect at EXST. And at 6'4 255+, he bears a resemblance to another Venezuelan Cubs pitcher by the name of Carlos Zambrano.
Signed by Cubs scout Hector Ortega as a 16-year old out of Venezuela for $350,000 the first day of the International Signing Period in 2006, Suarez has been held back a bit by injuries (he had elbow surgery a year ago, and spent most of 2008 rehabbing and getting back into pitching shape), but he's 100% now. He should be the ace of the Boise Hawks pitching staff, unless he gets promoted to Peoria before Boise's season starts next month.
In EXST Cubs roster news, OF Jericho Jones (2008 20th round pick out of Louisiana Tech) finally got his Letter of Transit out of Casablanca and has been promoted to Daytona, meaning probably either Tyler Colvin or Jonathan Wyatt (or even both, if Brandon Guyer were to get demoted to Daytona) will be moving up to AA Tennessee.
I was only able to catch bits & pieces of the game on Field #3, but here is the abridged box score for the game played on Field #1:
1. Jose Valdez, CF: 0-5 (F-7, 4-3, K, 1-3, K)
2. Juan Medina, C: 2-4 (1-3, 5-3, 1B, 1B - 1 R)
3. Logan Watkins, 2B: 1-3 (3-U, 1B, BB, K - 1 PO)
4. Chris Weimer, LF: 1-4 (K, 1B, F-7, E-9 - 1 R, 1 SB)
5. Alvaro Sosa, 1B: 0-3 (5-3, BB, 4-3, E-6 - 1 R)
6. Robert Bautista, SS: 3-4 (1B, 1B, 1B, K - 1 R, 1 SB)
7. Jose Made, 3B: 1-4 (K, 3B, 5-4 FC, 6-3 - 3 RBI, 1 PO)
8. Jae-Hoon Ha, RF: 0-0 (BB - 1 PO)
9. NO DH - SLOT SKIPPED
NOTE: Jae-Hoon Ha is nursing a sore wrist, so although he played RF for the entire game, he took only one AB (and his left wrist was heavily taped). Also, what with Jericho Jones having departed for Florida, the Cubs didn't have enough position players available to have a DH in the game on Field #1, so the #9 spot in the batting order was skipped entirely.
1. Jeffry Antigua - 3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 1 BALK, 1/5 GO/FO
2. Larry Suarez - 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 4/0 GO/FO
Throw bounced off the glove of 2B Logan Watkins on an attempted pick-off play at 2nd base for an E-4, allowing the runner to advance to 3rd base (runner did not score, however).
Juan Medina: 0-3 CS
One of the reasons I think Maddon is a great manager -- he has changed the conversation on Baez from HR & strikeouts to great defense, versatility and an all-around good ballplayer. He rarely talks about his offense, which is the only thing anybody used to talk about with Javy. He took a lot of pressure off the kid, and he seems to have responded.
Good pitching and some nifty D tonight -- nice win.
In case you didn't see it -- it was the Little League play where the guy on first gets caught in a rundown on purpose and the guy on third tries to score. It worked.
Gotta love the Pirates pitcher intentionally hitting Zobrist, then allowing Zobrist to score on a 2-out wild pitch.
Also, glad to see Zobrist coming around with RISP after my remarks last week. Heh!
ESPN reporting heyward day-to-day with an injured wrist
ESPN game tonight, btw.
Cardinal way #48
"negligent transmission of STDs"
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Twitterverse reporting that Heyward is dealing with a sore right wrist
Cardinal way #47
See ya on parrot chat
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.
It looked like the baserunner might have screened Russell some though it's still a play he should have made.
I wasn't thrilled with the use of Rondon in that situation. In save situations opponents have a 77 OPS. In non-save situations it's a 116 OPS. We had other relievers for that spot we could have used.
I'm not sure if it's his normal swing but it's obvious he can hit and he's always hit for power just not HRs so if it is his normal swing there's something else going on.
This article from spring training said he was trying to pull the ball a lot more:
Oh, thanks. I guess I should actually look at the schedule. Yay, 3-game road trip!