Cashner Looks Sharp at HoHoKam
The Scottsdale Scorpions stung the Mesa Solar Sox 11-1 today at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.
Cubs RHP Andrew Cashner (2008 1st round pick out of TCU) started the game for the Solar Sox and took the loss, but he actually looked very good, allowing just one run on three hits (no walks) with one K, 5/4 GO/FO, and 54 pitches (36 strikes), over 3.2 IP. He also showed an outstanding pickoff move to 1st base, nailing Diamondbacks 2B Pedro Ciriaco (38 SB at AA Mobile in 2009) cold in the top of the 2nd.
The only run charged to Cashner scored after he left the game (he retired the first two men he faced in the top of the 4th, then gave up a single, and was pulled from the game after throwing pitch #54) when Angels RHP Marco Albano came into the game in "relief" and got royally hammered (four hits and a walk in just 1/3 of an inning) .
LHP John Gaub followed Albano to the mound, and allowed four runs on four hits in 1.0+ IP. After striking out Ciriaco to open the 5th, Gaub gave up a one-out double to Cole Gillespie, with the runner coming around to score on a stolen base and a Domonic Brown sac-fly. Gaub then struck out Brandon Allen on a nasty slider. (Gaub faced only two lefty hitters today--Brown and Allen--and one popped out to CF, while the other struck out swinging).
The Scorpions loaded the bases against Gaub in the top of the 6th on three consecutive line singles to the outfield to start the inning, and then all three runs scored after Gaub left the game, as the Scorpions unloaded the bases against Angels reliever Jeremy Haynes on a two-run RBI single, a FC, and a double.
So far in three AFL games, Gaub has thrown three innings, and allowed six runs on eight hits, and no walks, while striking out five.Left-handed hitters don't touch him, but he is not fooling the right-handers at all.
Starlin Castro and Welington Castillo were also in the lineup today, Castro the DH hitting 2nd, and Castillo behind the plate hitting 9th. Castro went 1-4 with a line-drive double over the left-fielders head (plus a 6-3, 4-6 FC, and a K-swinging) and Castillo went 0-3 with two strikeouts (both swinging) and a pop out to RF, plus a passed ball (ball just clanked off his glove and rolled to the backstop).
The 19-year old Castro is now hitting 481, and his one strikeout today was just his first in 28 PA so far in AFL play.
RHP Blake Parker, LHP James Russell, and 3B Josh Vitters (400/429/500 in five games played) did not play today, but Parker (in particular) has looked very good so far, throwing 3.1 IP of shutout ball over three games out of the bullpen while picking up two saves, allowing three hits and no walks, with three K. Parker was already a strong candidate to get added to the Cubs 40-man roster by the 11/20 deadline, but pitching well in the AFL just helps solidify his chances even more. .
In other Winter League activity elsewhere around the Western Hemisphere involving Cubs players, Iowa Cubs supersub IF-OF Matt Camp is making a bid to get added to the 40-man roster, hitting 378/440/573 with two doubles, a triple, and a HR, plus 6 SB (1 CS) and only three K in 49 PA (10 games) so far at Mexicali in the Mexican Pacific League (LMP). The 25-year old Camp (13th round pick out of NC State in 2006) is a speedy left-handed hitter who hit 284/329/344 with 19 SB at Iowa and Tennessee (combined) in 2009.
Already very likely to get an NRI to Spring Training even if he isn't added to the 40, Camp can play 2B-SS-3B-LF-CF-RF and PR, and should get some consideration from Cubs Manager Lou Piniella in Spring Training 2010 as a possible bench guy, especially if Mike Fontenot and/or Sam Fuld get traded or are sent back to Iowa (both Fontenot and Fuld have minor league options available).
Meanwhile, RHP Jeff Samardzija is 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in three starts for Mexicali, allowing six runs (two earned) on 13 hits, three walks and two HBP, with 12 K and two GIDP, over 13.0 IP. Samardzija will likely battle LHPs Tom Gorzelanny and Sean Marshall for the Cubs 5th starter job in Spring Training, with the two losers going to the bullpen, although both Samardzija and Marshall do have minor league options left (Gorzelanny is out of minor league options, however).
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.
It looked like the baserunner might have screened Russell some though it's still a play he should have made.
I wasn't thrilled with the use of Rondon in that situation. In save situations opponents have a 77 OPS. In non-save situations it's a 116 OPS. We had other relievers for that spot we could have used.
I'm not sure if it's his normal swing but it's obvious he can hit and he's always hit for power just not HRs so if it is his normal swing there's something else going on.
This article from spring training said he was trying to pull the ball a lot more:
Oh, thanks. I guess I should actually look at the schedule. Yay, 3-game road trip!
Good call, indeed. This ought to be a good series.
Sorry to nit-pick -- but the games against the Nats this week are at home.
Can't remember a worse weather-start to a season. Yuck.
Basically Russell booted a slam dunk DP grounder letting a run score. But he drove in the tying run in 9th. Just not their day, Rondon notwithstanding.
Didn't see the game, but it sounded like the Cubs gave away 2 runs with poor fielding. Bummer.
Well, it's been a fun diet of Reds, Brewers and Braves, but now the Cubs have to play real teams in May (Pirates, Nationals, SF, Cards and Dodgers) -- hope we are all still smiling when we wake up on Memorial Day.
He does seem out of synch. His body seems to start forward, then his arms sort of try to catch up -- if that's his normal swing, he will never hit for power. It's an all-arms slasher swing, but the timing seems off.
He is currently slugging .256 -- I realize the weather has been bad, but that's epically bad. Currently 92nd out of 94 qualified NL batters. Yikes.
Weird home stand -- 3-1, with 2 rainouts, vs. two teams that will lose 100 games. Feels oddly disappointing.
Miserable baseball weather all week -- hopefully better weather will get the bats going. Not just walking, but actually hitting.
That strike call on LaSterlla was terrible
I was hearing some talk that John Mallee is trying to change Heyward's swing. Wonder if that is lending itself to the slow start.
at least it wasn't a "nobody showed up" stomping.
anytime you wanna jumpstart your season would be nice, heyward.
Now looming VERY large. Game tied.
That Braves TOOTBLAN trying to stretch a double into a triple is looming very large.
Phil, do you know if Victorino has an opt out date approaching? Thanks.