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).
I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.
Awesome stuff, Phil.
listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.
That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.
it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?
sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.
HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).
Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.
I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.
One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players.
CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.
Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.
As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?
AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?
Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.
AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.
I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.
But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.
Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.
Jason deGrom -- oh, my.
Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.
Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.