Smokies and I-Cubs Get Swept at Fitch Park
Sonny Gray and three relievers combined to throw a five-hitter as the Midland RiverHounds (Oakland A’s AA affiliate) defeated the Tennessee Smokies 3-1 on Field #2, and Jonathon Mota ripped a two-run home run and Juan Apodaca had three hits, but it wasn’t enough as the Sacramento River Cats (A’s AAA affiliate) outlasted the Iowa Cubs 9-5 on Field #3, in Cactus League Minor League game action this afternoon at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.
RHP Matt Loosen was moved up to the Iowa squad from the Tennessee squad and made the start for the I-Cubs, and LHP Austin Kirk was moved up to the Tennessee squad from the Daytona squad and was the starting pitcher for the Smokies, and although they both pitched OK (not great), the two best outings of the day by Cubs pitchers were LHP Eric Jokisch (who led all Cubs minor league pitchers in wins last season), and Tennessee LHP Casey Harman.
Jokisch “piggy-backed” with Kirk and threw 4-2/3 innings of shutout ball, and Harman threw two perfect innings in relief after being transferred from the Tennessee squad to the Iowa squad mid-game (moving from the bullpen on Field #2 to the bullpen on Field #3) when Marcus Hatley and Kevin Rhoderick imploded and the I-Cubs ran out of available pitchers.
Hatley allowed three runs on three hits and two walks in just 2/3 of an inning (37 pitches – only 19 strikes), and Rhoderick labored through his one inning of work, throwing only 12 of his 30 pitches for strikes, and getting off on the wrong foot by walking the first three men he faced to load the bases with no outs.
Neither Cubs squad playing at Fitch Park today showed much offense, but even when there was a glimmer of a threat, the Cubs farmhands found a way to run themselves out of scoring opportunities with over-aggressive base-running, including two players thrown out trying to strech a single into a double (both out by a mile), another player trying to score from 2nd on a single to short CF (also out by a mile), and a couple of inopportune stolen base attempts that rsulted in "caught stealings" and took runners off base when they were most needed.
As usual, players and pitchers from the Boise/Mesa squad were dispersed among the four full-season squads who played games today (Peoria and Daytona played road games versus the A's "A" and Hi-A affiliates at the Papago Park Sports Complex in Phoenix), and several of the Boise/Mesa position players who did not travel to Papago Park saw game action for Iowa or Tennessee.
Here are the abridged box scores from the two games played at Fitch Park (Cubs players only)
FITCH PARK FIELD #2
1a. Logan Watkins, SS: 0-2 (BB, E-6, K, R)
1b. Carlos Penalver, SS: 1-1 (2B)
2. Eduardo Gonzalez, LF: 0-4 (K, E-5, F-8, K)
3. Matt Cerda, DH #1: 2-3 (2B, L-1 DP, 1B, RBI)
4. Justin Bour, 1B: 0-3 (K, F-7, 4-3)
5. Nelson Perez, RF: 0-3 (3-1, K, K)
6. Michael Burgess, DH #2: 0-3 (F-7, 1-3, F-8)
7. Michael Brenly, C: 1-3 (K, 1B, F-7)
8. Jeimer Candelario, 3B: 0-3 (K, 3-U, K)
9. Taiwan Easterling, CF: 0-3 (6-3, F-7, K)
10. Brad Zapenas, 2B: 1-2 (1B, BB, 1-3)
1. Austin Kirk: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 41 pitches (24 strikes), 1/6 GO/FO
2. Eric Jokisch: 4.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 PO, 1 GIDP, 53 pitches (32 strikes), 6/5 GO/FO
3. Dan Berlind: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 2 WP, 39 pitches (25 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
TENNESSEE ERRORS: 1
SS Carlos Penalver - E6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base)
TENNESSEE CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Michael Brenly: 0-1 CS
TENNESSEE BASERUNNING ADVENTURES:
Michael Brenly was thrown out 7-4 trying to stretch single into double leading off bottom of 5th
Matt Cerda was thrown out 7-4 trying to stretch single into double leading off bottom of 6th
FITCH PARK FIELD #3
1a. Brett Jackson, CF: 0-1 (4-3, BB, BB, R)
1b. Jeffrey Baez, RF: 0-2 (K, E-5)
2. Jonathon Mota, SS: 1-5 (K, HR, 6-3, 5-3, K, R, 2 RBI)
3a. Josh Vitters, 3B: 0-3 (4-3, P-5, 6-3)
3b. Leugim Barroso, 3B: 2-2 (1B, 1B, CS)
4a. Anthony Rizzo, 1B: 1-2 (BB, 1B, K, R)
4b. Rebel Ridling, 1B: 0-1 (BB, K)
5. Marquez Smith, DH: 1-4 (BB, P-4, 2B, K, K)
6a. Juan Apodaca, C: 3-3 (1B, 2B, 1B, R)
6b. Luis Flores, C: 0-2 (F-9, P-4)
7. Nate Samson, 2B: 1-4 (6-4-3 DP, E-4, K, 1B, R, CS)
8. Delbis Arcila, LF: 1-4 (3-U, 1-3, 1B, K)
9. Oliver Zapata, RF-CF: 2-4 (4-3, 1B, K, 1B, SB)
1. Matt Loosen: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 55 pitches (41 strikes), 2/5 GO/FO
2. Marcus Hatley: 0.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 37 pitches (19 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
3. Kevin Rhoderick: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 30 pitches (12 strikes), 0/2 GO/FO
4. Alberto Cabrera: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 21 pitches (15 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
5. Casey Harman: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 26 pitches (19 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
6. Tony Zych: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 12 pitches (9 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
IOWA ERRORS: NONE
IOWA CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Juan Apodaca: 0-2 CS
Luis Flores: 1 PB
IOWA BASERUNNING ADVENTURES:
Marquez Smith was thrown out 8-2 trying to score from 2nd on base hit to CF with two outs in bottom of 5th
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80’s
I definitely saw ballpark radar guns go up to 102 on Kerry Wood back when he was still a starter, but who knows how accurate they were.
They've mentioned Henry Rodriguez (2013), Chris Carpenter, and Andrew Cashner as Cubs who have gone 100+. They said Rodriguez was tops at 100.8. Who knows before 2008?
He'll play regardless of what he does, just like Soriano played for seven years before they finally ditched him.
What can they do? All I can think of is they can keep hiring and firing hitting coaches until they find one who can get him to stop hitting balls with the handle of the bat.
(All those broken bats added to his paycheck is just a bit much.)
Lester will probably be all right.
I think Arrieta might have added too much muscle preparing for that butt-naked ESPN photo shoot. Pitchers are supposed to be loose, not muscled up.
I have basically written off Heyward for this year -- if you are working on major swing changes in late July, you are going to struggle. Hopefully, he can be more productive at the plate next year. It will be interesting to see what they do with him if the Cardinals keep winning and close the gap. Heyward is dead last in the NL in slugging and in the bottom 5 in OPS -- yet still has a positive WAR. Hunh.
Has anybody in a Cub uniform ever thrown a ball 103 before?
He certainly looks better, no doubt, and is a different player than what we saw when he first came up. Full credit to him for changing his approach and saving his career.
But he has zero walks in 35AB since the break, and 10 in 251 AB all year. He does seem to be able to hit some pitches out of the zone, but, a guy with his pop should be drawing more walks. However, it's easy to forget he is still only 23, and probably trying to make an impact to prove he should be an everyday player.
The usual suspects, Molina and Wong. Gyorko drew a walk with two outs, none on. I recall us (particularly Szczur and Bryant) swinging at everything Familia threw.
Yup. Thanks Q
Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTNekUcY-XM
I for one hope that Sosa comes back soon.
O/B interesting you should mention that. Google ESPN Science Aroldis Chapman and you'll be treated to how his mechanics and delivery are possibly historic. It's the 120% of his body stretch plus the torque. They compare him to the Unit and NRyan.
Amazing how much lower the production gets when Bryant runs into a mini-cold streak. He doesn't stay cold for long. If just one of Zobrist or, gulp, Heyward, gets hot, they oughta have one more really nice winning streak in them. Having a closer that you have absolute confidence in can't hurt.
I hope they hold onto Jimenez. Outfield depth is questionable, especially with McKinney, who struggled this year but still, gone.
You don't think he's improved? He looks completely different out there than he did when he first came up. The last I checked his K rate was in the low 20% range - 22-23 or so. When he came up it was 40%+.
To me, what is scary about him if I'm the other guy is that he IS learning the strike zone. This guy could easily be the MVP someday.
So, playing .500 for the rest of the year puts them at 91 wins. You would think there is enough talent to do a little better than that, right?