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) :
I have basically written off Heyward for this year -- if you are working on major swing changes in late July, you are going to struggle. Hopefully, he can be more productive at the plate next year. It will be interesting to see what they do with him if the Cardinals keep winning and close the gap.
Has anybody in a Cub uniform ever thrown a ball 103 before?
He certainly looks better, no doubt, and is a different player than what we saw when he first came up. Full credit to him for changing his approach and saving his career.
But he has zero walks in 35AB since the break, and 10 in 251 AB all year. He does seem to be able to hit some pitches out of the zone, but, a guy with his pop should be drawing more walks. However, it's easy to forget he is still only 23, and probably trying to make an impact to prove he should be an everyday player.
The usual suspects, Molina and Wong. Gyorko drew a walk with two outs, none on. I recall us (particularly Szczur and Bryant) swinging at everything Familia threw.
Yup. Thanks Q
Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTNekUcY-XM
I for one hope that Sosa comes back soon.
O/B interesting you should mention that. Google ESPN Science Aroldis Chapman and you'll be treated to how his mechanics and delivery are possibly historic. It's the 120% of his body stretch plus the torque. They compare him to the Unit and NRyan.
Amazing how much lower the production gets when Bryant runs into a mini-cold streak. He doesn't stay cold for long. If just one of Zobrist or, gulp, Heyward, gets hot, they oughta have one more really nice winning streak in them. Having a closer that you have absolute confidence in can't hurt.
I hope they hold onto Jimenez. Outfield depth is questionable, especially with McKinney, who struggled this year but still, gone.
You don't think he's improved? He looks completely different out there than he did when he first came up. The last I checked his K rate was in the low 20% range - 22-23 or so. When he came up it was 40%+.
To me, what is scary about him if I'm the other guy is that he IS learning the strike zone. This guy could easily be the MVP someday.
So, playing .500 for the rest of the year puts them at 91 wins. You would think there is enough talent to do a little better than that, right?
First team to 60 wins! Onward to 70, 80, 90 and 100!
I. Hate. The. Mets.
OK Marlins -- take 'em down. Fernandez, at home, tomorrow for the Fish.
Gotta say, though -- as much as I can't stand them, the Cardinals have had some very impressive late-inning wins against premier closers.
Very impressive that he hit a 3-2 curve ball. Such a dynamic ballplayer. If he ever learns the strike zone....