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,
You lollygag the ball around the infield. You lollygag your way down to first. You lollygag in and out of the dugout. You know what that makes you? Larry!
Its too bad Warren didnt get to pitch. He would have saved us.
Whoa -- that Contreras play in the 8th looked too much like a "Schwarber" -- nearly crashed into the wall going full speed, with Heyward doing the same.
New rule: if you are a catcher playing LF, and find yourself sprinting after a fly ball in the gap -- stop, let the CF go after it and get ready to play it off the wall.
Cubs have no spark and no life. Pretty boring to watch these days.
I thought trips to Miami were supposed to be fun. This one sucked.
The bottom half of the bullpen now turns close games into blowout losses. Not good.
Once Fowler went to the DL, the team went into the tank. Wonder if he'll get any love this offseason? Probably not.
6IP, 2ER. The last one scored because of another botched Zobrist DP turn.
And now, a bad throw by KB. Sloppy.
What is it with Hammel always starting well and sucking after a couple months?
Ahhh...sad. Lke a few of you here, I saw him play during the '69-'71 seasons. He was the "hot Zobrist" for the club in August/September of '69 while everyone else was fizzling out...
I predict: "They will play hard and if they give the same effort every day, they'll win a lot of games."
OK, boys -- find a way to win today.
There's some BA is missing too, here's all signing bonus BA doesn't have some:
-6 Hockin $241,000 (slot price), 7 Cruz $75,000 (saved $110,00), 8 Ridlings $120,000 (saved $53,800), 9 Robinson $30,000 (saved $132,300), so far the Cubs have saved an extra $297,100
Zobrist (2B), Hayward (CF), Bryant (3B), Rizzo, Contreras (LF), Montero, Russell, Coghlan (RF), Hammel
Also -- despite losing 6 of their last 10, the Cubs picked up a game on both STL and PIT during that period. Weird, given that they swept PIT and were swept by STL.
Also, I'd like to know if there are numbers to back up my suspicion that there are a lot more fast starts than late June romps. This seems like a time where everybody not named Willson Contreras is looking a little tired and/or banged up a bit.
For once, the Cubs got off to a fast start. Seems like I've been waiting for that for 50 years.Everybody is really gunning for this team, too. It's their playoffs.
He reminds me of a little of a young guy currently on the Cubs' DL, who is also tank-like in appearance.