A's Shut Down Cubs at Fitch
A's pitchers held the Cubs to one run on four hits while fanning twelve, as the Cubs dropped a 5-1 decision to the A's in AZ Instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 this afternoon in hot and sunny Mesa.
RHP Thomas Diamond got the starrt for the Cubs, and went two innings (54 pitches - only 32 strikes). He struggled with his command and labored throughout his two innings of work, although he only allowed one unearned run. His fastball was consistently in the low 90's, and he threw a few decent breaking balls, too, (at least the ones he was able to drop into the strike zone).
Diamond, the Texas Rangers 1st round draft pick in 2004,,was claimed off waivers by the Cubs earlier this month, before being placed back on Outright Waivers last week and ultimately getting outrighted to AAA Iowa.
Prior to being claimed off waivers by the Cubs, Diamond had been assigned to the Arizona Fall League by the Rangers, but the Cubs chose not replace one of the pitchers they assigned to the AFL with Diamond. Instead, the Cubs sent Diamond to the AZ Instructional League for some much needed work. (Diamond was one of the Rangers top prospects 2005-07 before undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery, and although he is able to pitch and occasionally shows flashes of his former self, his command generally stinks, like it did today).
Diamond pitched for Cubs Assistant GM Randy Bush back when Bush was head baseball coach at the University of New Orleans (Diamond was the ace of thev UNO staff), which is probably why the Cubs decided to take a flyer on the barrel-chested, 26-year old right-hander.
2009 6th round pick Brooks Raley (Texas A&M) followed Diamond to the hill, and had his ups & downs. The lanky lefty didn't walk anybody (although only 33 of his 53 pitches were strikes) and he did strike out four, but he also allowed two runs on three hits (one of which was a gargantuan homer onto 8th Street), a HBP, and a WP.
Hard-throwing RHP Trey McNutt (2009 32nd round draft pick Shelton State CC) followed Raley and also threw three innings, almost exactly duplicating Raley's line, the only differences being McNutt threw even fewer strikes than Raley (54 total pitches, only 31 strikes), didn't surrender a long ball, and walked one while striking out three, but otherwise he also allowed two runs on three hits, hit a batter, and threw a WP.
The Cubs offense never got going, the only run scoring in the 4th on an error, a walk, a ground out, and a Wild Pitch.
And catcher Brandon May (a converted infielder who is learning to catch at Instructs) had a bad day behind the plate, allowing two passed ball and one stolen base in just five innings of work.,
18-year old Taiwanese 2B Pin-Chieh Chen made his U. S. debut today, and went 0-3. He did make a strong relay throw from mid-RF to 3rd base attempting cut-down a baserunner, however (the runner was just barely safe), and handled four other chances at 2B flawlessly.
Speedy 17-year old Korean CF Kyung-Min Na left the game after fouling a ball off his ankle in the bottom of the 3rd, but he was able to walk to the clubhouse (albeit with a noticeable limp). I would guess he is "day-to-day."
2008 4th round pick Matt Cerda (broken hand) and 2009 11th round pick LHP John Mincone (June 2009 shoulder surgery to clean-up "debris") have been moved from the Fitch Park Rehab Group to the Cubs Instructs Active Roster. Mincone is scheduled to pitch tomorrow, and Cerda will be returning to the lineup sometime later this week.
Cerda, who was drafted as a catcher out of HS despite not catching since his Oceanside, CA little league team played in the Little Leegue World Series several years earlier, has been moved to 2B full-time, a postion he played off-and-on this season prior to his injury. Whether he will ever go back behind the plate (or get moved to yet another different position) is still TBD.
Meanwhile, Peoria RHP Marcus Hatley has undergone Tommy John Surgery and will probably miss most of the 2010 season while rehabbing at Fitch Park. And 2009 1st round pick CF Brett Jackson continues to nurse a sore wrist and is unable to play in games. .
Also, for those of you who might be wondering where 2009 10th round pick 1B-3B CharlesThomas is presently, he opted to return to Edward Waters College to complete his degree, rather than participate in the AZ Instructional League (to which he was invited).
He is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1a. Kyung-Min Na, CF: 0-2 (E-4, 4-3)
1b. Blair Springfield, RF: 0-2 (K, K)
2. Logan Watkins, DH #1: 1-4 (1B, 4-3, 3-1, P-6), CS
3. Ryan Flaherty, 3B: 1-4 (K, E-6, L-7, 2B), R
4. Rebel Ridling, 1B: 0-3 (K, BB, F-8, 1-3)
5. Kyler Burke, RF-CF: 0-3 (K, K, P-2)
6a. Brandon May, C: 1-2 (2B, 6-3)
6b. Richard Jones, C: 1-1 (1B)
7. Bobby Wagner, DH #2: 0-2 (BB, K, K)
8. D. J. Fitzgerald, LF: 0-3 (K, K, 6-3)
9. Pin-Chieh Chen, 2B: 0-3 (6-3, 4-3, F-7)
10. Wes Darvill, SS: 0-3 (K, K, 4-3)
1. Thomas Diamond - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 2 BB,.2 K, 2 WP, 3/1 GO/FO, 54 pitches (32 strikes)
2. Brooks Raley - 3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP, 1 HR, 1 WP, 1 PO, 1/3 GO/FO, 53 pitches (33 strikes)
3. Trey McNutt - 3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 4/2 GO/FO, 54 pitches (31 strikes)
4. Steve Grife - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 2/1 GO/FO, 15 pitches (nine strikes)
Brandon May: 0-1 CS, 2 PB
Richard Jones: 1-1 CS
WEATHER: 100+ hot & sunny
ATTENDANCE: 18 (mostly scouts) :
Good thing the Cubs have 4 left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties
ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.
cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/
HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC.
ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels.
M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores) the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating.
E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.
Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).
PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.
a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...
it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.