Carlos Silva: Identity Theft Victim?
Five Cubs pitchers combined to throw a three-hitter, Jeff Baker smashed a solo home run, and Xavier Nady doubled twice and knocked-in two runs, leading the Cubs to a 4-1 victory over the Texas Rangers in Cactus League action before a capacity crowd of 13,157 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny & warm Mesa this afternoon.
Carlos Silva got the start for the Cubs and looked very good, throwing four shutout innings (52 pitches - 37 strikes, 4/5 GO/FO), allowing two hits and one HBP, while striking out three (Julio Borbon once and Chris Davis twice, with all three punchouts featuring a called third strike).
Silva threw effortlessly and just plain cruised through his four innings of work, retiring the last seven men he faced. He looked like he probably could have gone another inning or two if Manager Lou Piniella had let him do it. This was probably the best outing by a Cubs starting pitcher this Spring.
1st inning: Kc, L-4 (outstanding diving catch by Fontenot), 1B, HBP, and Kc (20 pitches - 14 strikes)
2nd inning: P-3, 6-3, 1B, FC (10 pitches - seven strikes)
3rd inning: 3-U, 5-3, P-5 (11 pitches - eight strikes)
4th inning: F-8, Kc, L-5 (11 pitches - eight strikes)
Esmailin Caridad followed Silva and further solidified his spot in the 2010 Cubs bullpen, facing just six men in his two innings (31 pitches - 19 strikes), striking out three (Taylor Teagarden, Elvis Andrus, and David Murphy, all swinging). Caridad did walk Joaquin Arias with two outs in the 5th, but Arias was gunned down by Geovany Soto trying to steal 2nd base. Caridad appeared to be throwing VERY hard today, and overmatched all three of his strikeout victims.
RHP Marcos Mateo entered the game in the 6th, and although he did allow a solo HR to DH Justin Smoak leading off the 8th, he probably threw the ball as well this afternoon as he has all Spring. Mateo threw strikes (22 pitches - 16 strikes), and struck out three of the five men he faced. Like Caridad, Mateo was really rushin' it up there today.
Mateo was relieved by Jeff Stevens with one out and the bases empty in the 8th (it looked like it took Stevens longer than normal to get loose, which may be why Mateo started the 8th inning), and Stevens retired both men he faced, although he did go 3-2 on both hitters.
LHP James Russell continued his fine Spring, working a 1-2-3 9th (13 pitches - seven strikes), striking out the last two men he faced.
The Cubs didn't do much offensively, but they did manage to bunch their hits.
Ryan Theriot singled leading off the bottom of the 1st (chopper bobbled by 1st baseman Chris Davis, but Rangers starter Neftali Feliz forgot to cover 1st), but Kosuke Fukudome and Xavier Nady struck out swinging (and Theriot was caught stealing on a "strike 'em, out, throw 'em out" when Nady fanned). Alfonso Soriano singled with two outs in the 2nd, but was left stranded.
But then the Cubs rallied with two outs and nobody on base in the 3rd against Feliz, as The Riot lined a single to CF, and advanced to 3rd when Kosuke Fukudome grounded an opposite-field double down the LF line. Xavier Nady then ripped a double into the left-field corner, scoring Theriot and Fukudome, and Marlon Byrd lined a single to center, scoring Nady from 2nd with the third run of the inning.
Jeff Baker might be breaking out of his Spring Training slump, as he crushed a towering solo home run over the left-center fence of LHP C. J. Wilson (who had retired all eight men he faced--including FIVE strikeouts--prior to the Baker HR).
The Cubs threatened against Wilson (who worked four innings today) in the 8th, as Tyler Colvin hung in there against a tough lefty and roped a line-single to CF on a 3-2 pitch to lead off the inning. Nady then doubled (his second two-bagger of the day) to advance Colvin to 3rd, but Wilson made some good pitches and retired the next three hitters (James Adduci, Micah Hoffpauir, and Sam Fuld) on weak ground balls (the first two with the infield pulled-in). Hoffpauir and Fuld have really struggled at the plate so far.
The Cubs optioned hard-throwing (but very raw) 22-year old RHP Rafael Dolis to AA Tennessee today, so the Cubs MLB Spring Traning roster now stands at 50 (including 24 pitchers, five catchers, 13 infielders, and eight outfielders). The Cubs must get their MLB Active List roster down to 25 players by Sunday April 3rd.
The Cubs have their annual mid-Spring Training day off tomorrow.
CB Bucknor not having a good day....
Jesse Rogers [email protected] Yeah, there was plenty of chatter before the game about home plate ump today. Knew he would be a factor.
Jake Arrieta gives up first inning run
For the first time in a year, 33 starts.
Old news, sorry if it's 3/44-
J-Hey being classy by repaying an old teammate:
With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?
Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.
This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.