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
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.
If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?
#Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.
Fun with FIP
- J. Hammel 3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
- J. Arrieta 2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
- J. Lester 2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
- K. Hendricks 2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
- J. Lackey 3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k
he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.
JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.
My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.
Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...
joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1
not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.
really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.
Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.
Classic Scully - great stuff.
Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)
Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:
"And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."
When the Cubs were the old, hundred-year Cubs, one bad hop did not undo their opponents.
If only he was clutcher. More clutcher.