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,
Meanwhile on the SouthSide
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?