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).
Don't know if Cubs will recover from "spanking" Gordo
2nd in defensive WAR, NL.
6th in NL in RBI
Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.
Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.