I Can See Four Miles (ABs)
Aaron Miles got four at bats and reached base twice, and four Cubs pitchers combined to throw a four-hit shutout with 13 strikeouts, as the EXST Cubs blanked the EXST A's 5-0 this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 under mostly-cloudy skies.
Miles, on the Cubs 15-day DL since May 27th with a sore shoulder, got the start at shortstop, and hit 2nd in each of the first four innings. He was the middle-man on a 4-6-3 DP in the top of the 2nd, but otherwise had a quiet day in the field throughout his four innings at SS.
At the plate, Miles grounded out to 2nd base (4-3) on a hit & run play that advanced a runner to 2nd base in the 1st inning, walked in the 2nd inning, popped up to short in the 3rd inning, and singled to right (sending the runner on 1st to 3rd) in his final AB in the 4th.
In addition, IF-OF Ryan Freel (on the Cubs 15-day DL with a strained hamstring since May 28th) and INF Luis Rivas (on the Iowa Cubs DL with a hamstring strain since April) took "live" BP, but did not play in the game. (Rivas has actually been at Fitch Park for several weeks, but he is just now starting to get out onto the field).
18-year old Dominican LHP Jeffry Antigua got the start for the EXST Cubs today and was outstanding, throwing four shutout innings, allowing two ground singles and no walks, while striking out eight. He kept the ball down on every hitter, getting four ground outs in addition to the eight punchouts, including the 4-6-3 DP that featured a nice "turn" by Aaron Miles.
19-year old RHP Tarlandus Mitchell (Cubs 2008 22nd round draft pick out of Alto HS - Alto, TX) followed Antigua to the mound, and threw two hitless & shutout innings, striking out four while walking two. Mitchell had a very poor outing last week in Tempe (he was yanked out of the game after only one inning), so I'm sure he felt good with his comeback outing today.
RHP (and ex-OF) Andres Quezada then threw two shutout innings, and RHP Carlos Rojas finished up with one inning of shutout relief.
The Cubs offense got going right off the bat in the bottom of the 1st. Jose Valdez was hit on the foot with a pitch (he also was hit on the same foot with a pitch in his next AB), and advanced to 2nd on the Aaron Miles ground out. Then with two outs, John Contreras blasted a double off the LF fence, scoring Valdez.
The Cubs scored again in the 4th. Matt Cerda (2008 4th round pick out of Oceanside HS - Oceanside, CA) led off with a walk, and advanced to 3rd on a line single to right by Miles. Then with one out, Chris Weimer lined a single to CF, scoring Cerda.
The Cubs got three insurance runs in the 8th, as 20-year old lanky Dominican switch-hitting infielder Robert Bautista (batting right-handed) led-off the inning by blasting a home run over the left-field fence onto 8th Street. (The normally light-hitting Bautista hit an inside-the-park HR yesterday, so maybe I should stop comparing his speed and defensive play to Junior Lake and his hitting prowess to Veronica Lake). Jose Valdez and Dwayne Kemp singled, and Valdez scored on a passed ball. Then Contreras singled, scoring Kemp.
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Jose Valdez, CF: 1-2 (HBP, HBP, F-8, 1B + 2 R, 1 CS)
2a. Aaron Miles, SS: 0-1 (4-3)
2b. Dwayne Kemp, SS: 1-2 (4-3, 1B + 1 R)
3. Matt Cerda, DH-C: 0-3 (F-7, BB, F-9, 4-3 + 1 R)
3x. Aaron Miles, PH: 1-1 (1B)
4. John Contreras, DH #2: 3-4 (2B, 1B, K, 1B + 2 RBI)
5. Chris Weimer, 1B: 2-4 (K, 1B, 3B, L-6 + 1 RBI)
6. Jae-Hoon Ha, LF 2-4 (1B, 1B, K, 1-3)
6x. Aaron Miles, PH: 0-0 (BB)
7. Logan Watkins, 2B: 1-2 (1-3 SH, P-6, 1B)
8. Jesus Morelli, RF: 0-2 (5-2 FC, K, 5-3 SH)
9. Alvaro Sosa, C-DH: 1-3 (F-7, E-6, 1B + 1 PO)
10. Robert Bautista, 3B: 1-3 (F-7, F-7, HR + 1 R, 1 RBI)
10x. Aaron Miles, PH: 0-1 (P-6)
1. Jeffry Antigua - 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K, 1 GIDP, 4/0 GO/FO
2. Tarlandus Mitchell - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K
3. Andres Quezada - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 4/1 GO/FO
4. Carlos Rojas - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1/2 GO/FO
1. C Alvaro Sosa - overthrow at 2nd base on stolen base attempt, allowing runner to advance to 3rd.
2. 2B Logan Watkins - dropped pop-up in short RF, allowing batter to reach base.
1. Alvaro Sosa: 0-1 CS, 1 E (see above)
2. Matt Cerda: 1-3 CS
WEATHER: temperature in the 90's, mostly cloudy, not as hot as yesterday,
I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.
Awesome stuff, Phil.
listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.
That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.
it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?
sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.
HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).
Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.
I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.
One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players.
CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.
Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.
As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?
AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?
Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.
AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.
I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.
But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.
Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.
Jason deGrom -- oh, my.
Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.
Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.