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
Ugh Hammel...the new Haren. The 3-5 starters have imploded and killed yet another series.
Just about to type the same thing.....Augh!
5 times in the last 3 games, Cubs have taken the lead or tied the game in the bottom half, only to give up runs in the top half.
<p>I'd like to see stats on opposing pitcher batting average. It's probably not real, but seems like we give up hits all the time to f-ing pitchers. </p>
Tony Four Sacks # 27
Hammel has k'd Votto twice. /baseball
Sore Ribs doesn't worry me too much. Getting a "precautionary MRI" has me assuming he is going to be out at least a few days, possibly more.
Maybe he got injured diving for the ball in LF? I really hope it's not code for a "strained oblique"....
Our starting pitching kinda sucks for #3-5.
Schwarber out with "sore ribs" /sorry to interrupt the magic number talk
JOHN B: Pierce Johnson and Rob Zastryzny were likely 2015 AFL candidates ( I mentioned them as likely candidates to get assigned to the AFL in an article about the AFL last month) because they are starting pitchers who missed part of the season due to injuries and they need to accrue more innings.
Schwarber stays back and hammers a 3-2 change-up that was down and away. Very impressive.
And a good job to drive the ball to RF to advance the runner in the 8th. Encouraging.
<p>It looks like the Cubs "post-season clinch number" is 25 right now: http://lyle.smu.edu/~olinick/riot/national_league.html</p> <p> </p>
Is the magic number 25 or 26?
Agreed, to my untrained eyes he does look better than last season. Not a finished product yet and hopefully he will continue to improve, but if he plays solid middle infield defense he will stick in the majors.