Arizona Phil's Archives

Is That Arrieta?

Dylan Cease fired three innings of shutout ball, Vimael Machin lined a triple off the CF Batter's Eye and scored and Alex Bautista rifled an RBI double into the LF corner to highlight a two-run 7th, and then Bautista ripped an RBI single through the box into CF and Yohan Matos followed with an RBI triple high off the LF screen (near HR) to spark a two-run 9th, as the Cubs plated five runs over the final three innings and defeated the Brewers 6-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #7 (AKA "Paul Molitor Field") at the Maryvale Baseball Park Complex in Phoenix, AZ.  

Cease threw a higher percentage of strikes (62%) today than in any previous outing (he usually struggles to throw strikes, typically throwing 50-55% strikes), breaking his curve for called strikes time & again, and humming his heater consistently knee-high at 98-99 MPH (per both the Brewers & Cubs guns -- for example, 99-99-99-98-99-99-98-98-99-99-99 in the bottom of the 2nd). He even got a swing & miss on a change-up (the pitch that is his "work-in-progress").

Cease allowed four hits (three singles and a double) over his three-inning stint, but three of the hits were opposite-field grounders, and the fourth was a broken-bat humpback liner looped over the shortstop's head and into short left. 

Cease was so dominating that one of the Brewer pitchers seated behind home plate asked "Is that Arrieta?" as Cease dropped his knee-bending hook to get ahead 0-2 and then blew unhittable gas past the last two Brew Crew hitters for strike-three in the bottom of the 2nd (stranding runners at 2nd & 3rd). It's unusual when the other team's pitchers are mesmerized by an EXST opponent who isn't a major league rehabber.  

Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only) 

King Kwon Helps Cubs Best Rockies in 10 at Sloan Park

Kwang-Min Kwon drilled an RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the 10th to plate Tyler Pearson with the winning run, lifting the Cubs to a 7-6 victory over the Rockies in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action Saturday morning at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ.

Cubs Wallop Four Homers & Sweep Angels in Mesa

Isaac Paredes hammered a solo home run, Kevonte Mitchell blasted a two-run HR, and Robert Garcia (two-run single), Yeiler Peguero (RBI double), and Marcus Mastrobuoni (RBI double) contributed run-scoring hits, leading the Cubs to a 7-2 victory over the Angels at Sloan Park, and Jose Paniagua slugged a two-run HR, Tyler Pearson smacked a solo HR, and Jesus Castillo and three relievers combined to hurl a three-hit shutout, helping the Cubs blank the Angels 3-0 on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning in Mesa, AZ.   

Jabari Henry belted a solo HR in a losing cause for the Angels at Sloan Park.

Cease Fires Cubs to Victory at Sloan Park

Chris Pieters drilled a two-run single and a double, Kevonte Mitchell ripped an RBI single, walked three times, and scored a run, Yeiler Peguero doubled twice and drew a walk, and Dylan Cease tossed three innings of one-hit ball with six strikeouts and combined with five relievers to fan 14, leading the Cubs to a 5-2 victory over the Athletics in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action Wednesday morning at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Old Fashioned Pitchers Duel at Salt River Fields

LHSP Jose Paulino hurled three innings of shutout ball for the Cubs, and RHSP Christian Talley tossed four innings of shutout ball for the Rockies, as the two teams battled to a 1-1 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.  

Jose Paulino combined Cactus League Extended Spring Training line (three outings):
9.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 8 K, 15/3 GO/AO 

The 21-year old Paulino features a heavy 91-93 MPH sinker that touches 94-95 (hence the extreme GO rate), a hard-breaking slider, and a so-so change-up, but has struggled to command his electric stuff throughout his career. He was the last cut from the South Bend squad at the end of Minor League Camp, so he could find himself in the Midwest League sooner rather than later. If you're looking for an "under-the-radar" Cubs pitching prospect, Paulino might be one. At the very least, he could eventually be a very effective lefty reliever at the higher levels. 

In EXST Cubs roster news, RHSP Kyle Miller (Cubs 2015 19th round draft pick - Florida Atlantic U.) and 3B Jesse Hodges (2012 NDFA - Canadian Junior National Team) have been moved-up to South Bend, and RHRP Scott Frazier has been sent to Extended Spring Training from South Bend.

In two Cactus League EXST outings (one GS), Miler has allowed one hit, one run (unearned), and no walks with five strikeouts in 5.1 IP, and (like Paulino, Hudson, Cease, and Null) has been one of the more-impressive SP down here. He'll probably be used as a "piggy-back" reliever at SB. 

The 22-year old Hodges was the everyday 3B at South Bend last year (hitting 238/316/363 in 90 MWL games), but was a late-cut from the Myrtle Beach squad at the end of Minor League Camp and was left behind at Extended Spring Training. He was hitting 333/500/333 in four Cactus League EXST games, and he has made several eye-popping defensive stops at the "hot corner." He also drilled an RBI double off Dylan Cease and a HR off Eugenio Palma in an intrasquad game last week. 

Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only): 

Victorino Lifts Cubs over Giants at Indian School Park

Shane Victorino drilled an RBI single and a double, Kelly Dugan walked five times (including one BB with the bases loaded that forced-in a run), and SP Jeremy Null and two relievers combined to toss a four-hitter, leading the Cubs to a 4-2 victory over the Giants in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #2 at Indian School Park in Scottsdale, AZ. 

Null threw 86% of his 51 pitches for strikes. 

The Cubs banged-out nine hits, drew twelve walks and one reached base on an E-3 (so 22 baserunners total). 

Through their first ten Cactus League Extended Spring Training games, the Cubs are 6-2-2. 

Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only) 

Underwood Sharp in Final Rehab Tune-Up at Sloan Park

Five pitchers combined to toss a one-hit shutout and Didimo Bracho belted a two-run home run and an RBI single to account for all of his team's runs, helping the Diamondbacks blank the Cubs 3-0 at Sloan Park, and D. J. Wilson (two-run triple), Luis Ayala (RBI double), Gustavo Polanco (RBI double), and Jesse Hodges (RBI single) contributed run-scoring hits to highlight a five-run Cub 3rd, as the Cubs and D'backs played to a 7-7 tie on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning in Mesa, AZ.   

Michael Foster broke up the D'backs no-hit bid in Sloan Park with a one-out single in the bottom of the 9th. 

RHSP Duane Underwood (right ebow stiffness) made his final rehab start in the game at Sloan Park and threw 5.1 IP (78 pitches) of one-run ball, retiring 13 of the first 16 men he faced before running into trouble in the top of the 6th when he allowed three singles and a HBP and surrendered his only run. But he was outstanding through the first five innings, allowing no runs on two hits and a walk with four strikeouts.  

RHRP Dallas Beeler (on Cubs 15-day DL - right shoulder inflammation) made a rehab start in the game played on Field #1 and was hit hard, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits (two singles, a double, a triple, and a home run) and a walk (plus a throwing error) in 3.1 IP (50 pitches).

RHRP Aaron Crow (ex-KC - April 2015 TJS rehab) threw in the game on Field #1, but was unable to complete his inning, allowing a single, a double, and a triple and two runs while retiring only one batter. I couldn't tell if he was lifted because of pitch count or performance issues, but his stuff was subpar today and obviously didn't fool any of the young D'backs hitters.  

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):     

Cubs Super-8 Overcomes Angels at Sloan Park

Kelly Dugan and Marcus Mastrobuoni belted two-run doubles and Shane Victorino, Kevonte Mitchell, and Jesse Hodges contributed RBI singles to highlight an eight-run 7th inning uprising, as the Cubs rallied from an 8-2 deficit to surprise the Angels 10-8 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action this morning at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ.  

Jared Foster hammered an RBI triple, singled, walked, stole a base, and scored two runs to help the Angels build their 8-2 lead.   

The Cubs stole three more bases today, for a total of twenty SB in their last six games (only one CS). 

John Arguello has a game recap and photos from the game at Cubs Den

link 

And here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only):

Paredes & Paulino Let Bat & Arm Do the Talking at the Stick

Isaac Paredes (2015 IFA - Mexico - $800K signing bonus) drilled an RBI single and an RBI double, Kelly Dugan singled, doubled, walked, and scored a run, and LHSP Jose Paulino tossed three innings of perfect baseball (24 pitches - 83% strikes - 6/1 GO/AO) for the Cubs, and Scott Burcham singled, doubled, and scored a run for the Rockies, as the two teams played to a 3-3 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action this morning on Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ. 

Shane Victorino (calf strain rehab) played LF for six innings and went 0-3 (K, L-7, E-1) at the plate. I don't know how much longer he will be down here, but he is about as ripe as a rehabber can get, and has been for several days now. Hang loose, bruddah. 

Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only):  

Victorino Helps Cubs Blank A's at Fitch Park

Shane Victorino (two-run single), Trey Martin (RBI double), and Chris Pieters (RBI single) stroked run-scoring hits to highlight a five-run 2nd and four pitchers combined to toss a four-hit shutout, as the Cubs scored eight runs over the first four innings and blanked the Athletics 8-0 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action this morning on Field #4 at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Shane Victirino (calf strain rehab) served as a DH and singled twice, walked, stole a base, scored two runs, and drove-in two more.  

Ex-KC RHRP Aaron Crow (April 2015 TJS) threw a perfect 1-2-3 twelve-pitch inning to get things started, RHP Jeremy Null followed with four innings of shutout ball, and then RHP Pedro Silverio tossed three innings of perfect baseball, as Cubs pitchers completely throttled the A's hitters.  

The Cubs stole five more bases today, making it 17 SB in their last four games (only one CS). 

In a display of good sportsmanship, A's first-baseman Miguel Mercedes let Cubs first baseman Gustavo Polanco use his glove when playing defense the last three innings of the game, with the two first-basemen laying the glove on top of the 1st base bag at the end of each half-inning for the other to pick-up when he arrived at his defensive position. (We used to do that in my old neighborhood, too). Although Polanco is primarliy a catcher, he also plays 1B, but he forgot to bring his first-baseman's glove to the game, and Chris Pieters (the only other Cubs player at the game with a first-baseman's mitt) is left-handed. 

Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only), followed by the updated Cubs Extended Spring Training roster: 

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Recent comments

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  • BILLY BUCKS: As things stand right now, Dylan Cease will be in the Eugene starting rotation when the NWL season begins play in June, and if he peforms well there he could perhaps move up to South Bend toward the end of the minor league season or for the MWL playoffs (if South Bend qualifies). 

  • i'm more "wtf?" about him hitting 2nd than playing LF...especially since zobrist exists.

  • Soler's primary position is suppose to be in left for this season so technically he is not out of position. Although I agree, it does seem weird given their histories.

  • Thanks Phil.

    Any idea of where/when Cease will head for the season?

  • Over/under on HBP tonight?

  • Yes, I know KB played LF and Szczur played RF last night, but there's a legit case that RF is the easier draw at PNC.

  • Seems an odd lineup -- Soler in LF and Bryant in RF? Two guys out of position? I guess Fed has to catch tonight so All Star Gramps can catch Lester tomorrow. Or maybe Joe just wants somebody else to catch a no-hitter. Would love to see KB get the power turned on. C'mon Jorge -- channel your playoff self!

  • All it took was Schwarber, Heyward, and Szczur getting hurt for him to get to play again. Let's go ahead and call this little stretch your last real chance to prove you belong on this team, Jorge.

  • soler hitting 2nd...didn't expect that one.

  • tonight: Fowler, Soler, Bryant, Rizzo, Zobrisjt, Baez, Russell, Federowicz, Arrieta

  • roster shuffle official per Sun Times, Gordon Wittenmeyer on twitter...Szczur to DL with minor hamstring strain, Chris Villanueva to 60 day DL, Ryan Kalish to 40 man roster and gets the call-up.

  • There's an interview with Heyward up on ESPN where he says the wrist thing has been lingering and he just brought it up with the team as it didn't go away. So that could very well explain why he hasn't had the same hard contact recently.

  • Ryan Kalish writeup (by Peter Gammons last November):

    ~snip~

  • Villanueva goes to the 60 day DL.

  • Peter Gammons just tweeted that teammates are tweeting Kalish is getting recalled. Not sure which ones and what they'll do with the 40 man but there we go.

  • Jesee Rogers just said he thought Ryan Kalish would be the call up.