Rhee Keeps Laying Goose Eggs
Dae-Eun Rhee tossed three shutout innings as the Cubs took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the 4th at Diablo Park Field #3 in Tempe, but the Angels came back to win this afternoon's AZ Instructional League contest by a score of 5-1.
Rhee's three shutout innings followed his last start on the very same field last week, when the young Korean threw three perfect innings at the Angels. Rhee, who is in the final stages of rehab from 2008 Tommy John Surgery, once again did not throw any of his killer splitter/change-ups (his strikeout pitch), instead mixing a sinking fastball with a curve, throwing both for strikes and pitching to contact. The Angels hitters did not get good wood on the ball, and Rhee was able to get seven ground outs (he had no strikeouts). Both of the hits he allowed were singles.
The key for Rhee in his last two starts at Diablo Park has been control, something he lacked in his rehab outings at Mesa and Boise over the last few weeks of the 2009 minor league regular season. I would presume that Rhee will add the splitter back to his repertoire next season, giving him the array of stuff needed to once again be a Top Ten Prospect. Kudos should go to Cubs Minor League Pitching Coordinator Mark Riggins and pitching coaches Rick Tronerud and Jeff Fassero for getting Rhee to the point where he can once again throw strikes consistently and be successful on the mound.
Hard-throwing RHP Trey McNutt (2009 32nd round pick out of Shelton State CC) followed Rhee to the mound and gave up an opposite field game-tying home run to the first batter he faced in the 4th, and then RHP Nick Struck (2009 39th round pick out of Mt Hood CC) was the victim of an Angel rally in the 7th, as the Halos turned a walk, two singles, and a stolen base into two runs, giving the boys from the O. C. a 3-1 lead.
The Angels led 3-1 after the Cubs went down in the 9th, but the game was extended an extra half-inning to allow 18-year old Taiwanese RHP Yao-Lin Wang to get his pre-scheduled inning of work. Wang was not very impressive, showing just pedestrian stuff while allowing two runs on two hits and a walk.
The Cubs signed not one but two Wangs out of Chinese Taipei this year (Yao-Lin and Tzu-An), and both were invited to Instructs, where they join fellow countryman 2B Pin-Chieh Chen making their U. S. debut.
Yao-Lin is a stocky kid, with the same body-type as Sean Gallagher and Ryan Searle, while Tzu-An is a lanky 6'6 with a body more like Chris Huseby or Toby Matchulat. Tzu-An is (supposedly) the better prospect of the two, and I would expect him to get a shot at throwing an inning or two sometime later this week.
The Cubs offense was mostly dead today. They scored their only run in the top of the 1st, as D. J. LeMahieu lined a single to CF with one out, and, after LeMahieu advanced to second on a PB and to third on a WP, Brandon Guyer got the only RBI of the day with a run-scoring ground out.
The Cubs did get the potential tying run to 2nd in the top of the 9th with no outs (Blair Springfield and Hak-Ju Lee ripped singles, and then both runners advanced a base on a PB), but LeMahieu and Guyer fanned, and Kyler Burke popped out to the shortstop in shallow LF to end the threat, as the Cubs came up empty.
2008 4th round pick Matt Cerda returned to the lineup after a three-month absence due to a broken hand suffered at Boise, and played 3B. He made one nice play on a slow chopper, but on a couple of others he was slow to react to hard-hit balls that skipped past him for base-hits. Cerda may not have the split-second reaction time and one-step quickness needed to play the hot corner.
Josh Vitters and Welington Castillo are working out at Fitch Park in preparation for the Arizona Fall League, and they might get an AB or two in an Instructs game to help them get ready for the start of the AFL season next week.
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Hak-Ju Lee, SS: 1-4 (4-3, L-8, K, 1B)
2. D. J. LeMahieu, DH #1: 2-4 (1B, 1B, 1-4-3, K), R
3. Brandon Guyer, CF: 0-4 (6-3, K, F-9, K), RBI
4. Kyler Burke, RF: 1-4 (F-7, 1B, K, P-6), PO
5. Richard Jones, DH #2: 0-3 (3-1, K, 4-3)
6a. Jae-Hoon Ha, C: 0-2 (4-3, 5-3)
6b. Brandon May, C: 0-1 (5-3)
7. Justin Bour, 1B: 0-2 (K, L-5, BB)
8. Matt Cerda, 3B: 1-3 (F-7, 3-1, 1B)
9. Pin-Chieh Chen, 2B: 1-3 (1B, 4-3, 4-3)
10. Blair Springfield, LF: 2-3 (6-4-3 DP, 2B, 1B)
1. Dae-Eun Rhee - 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 7/2 GO/FO, 31 pitches (21 strikes)
2. Trey McNutt - 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 1/3 GO/FO, 34 pitches (23 strikes)
3. Julio Pena - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 13 pitches (9 strikes)
4. Nick Struck - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 PO, 2/1 GO/FO, 33 pitches (19 strikes)
5. Yao-Lin Wang - 1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 2/0 GO/FO, 16 pitches (10 strikes)
1. Jae-Hoon Ha - E-2 (overthrow at 2nd base on stolen base attempt, allowing runner to advance to 3rd)
2. Hak-Ju Lee - E6 (bobble allowing batter to reach base).
Jae-Hoon Ha - 0-2 CS, E (see above)
Brandon May - 1-2 CS
WEATHER: 80's, sunny, breezy
ATTENDANCE: 14 (mostly scouts)
Take THAT, Cardinals -- you beat Fernandez, we beat Sale.
I really like Lackey as a 6-inning pitcher.
Three amigos? Because the Dominican, the Venezuelan, and the Cuban?
Maybe the three-headed dragon?
Who says Contreras can't frame? Stone cold robbery of Eaton with that called third strike for the first out in the eighth
Three amigos time?
he should hit more of those. that would be an ideal outcome. /moneyballs
Russell with 19 RBI in July so far. Grand Slams help.
...and Familia with back-to-back blown saves. Blows a one-run lead vs. Rockies today, gets his 2nd consecutive loss.
I am OK with the Mets missing the playoffs and suffering crushing losses at home --- just want them to beat St. Louis.
He played with fire twice agains the Cubs -- unfortunately, the Cubs couldn't stop swinging.
How about Kyle Farnsworth? I know he was consistently upper 90s.
If he puts up Soriano numbers I will be ecstatic
I think Javy is learning--but he's learning to make contact, not learning to lay off pitches out of the zone. A quick glance at his plate discipline numbers on Fangraphs shows that his contact rate is up, especially his contact rate out of the zone, but his swing rate is up too, especially his swing rate out of the zone.
I definitely saw ballpark radar guns go up to 102 on Kerry Wood back when he was still a starter, but who knows how accurate they were.
They've mentioned Henry Rodriguez (2013), Chris Carpenter, and Andrew Cashner as Cubs who have gone 100+. They said Rodriguez was tops at 100.8. Who knows before 2008?
He'll play regardless of what he does, just like Soriano played for seven years before they finally ditched him.
What can they do? All I can think of is they can keep hiring and firing hitting coaches until they find one who can get him to stop hitting balls with the handle of the bat.
(All those broken bats added to his paycheck is just a bit much.)
Lester will probably be all right.
I think Arrieta might have added too much muscle preparing for that butt-naked ESPN photo shoot. Pitchers are supposed to be loose, not muscled up.
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. Heyward is dead last in the NL in slugging and in the bottom 5 in OPS -- yet still has a positive WAR. Hunh.
Has anybody in a Cub uniform ever thrown a ball 103 before?