Shark Attack and Z Sighting at Fitch!
Today was an off day for most of the Cubs, but not for Carlos Zambrano and Jeff Samardzija, as Big “Z” and the Shark traveled a half-mile south down Center Street to Fitch Park to get in some additional work.
Zambrano made the trip just so he could take pre-game Batting Practice with the Iowa Cubs position players, but Samardzija was sent to Fitch by Manager Lou Piniella and Pitching Coach Larry Rothschild specifically to throw some innings in a game.
Competing with Carlos Silva, Tom Gorzelanny, and Sean Marshall for a spot in the Cubs starting rotation, Samardzija last pitched in a Cactus League game last Friday, so today was the day he would normally be scheduled to pitch, but with the off day for the big club, pitching in a minor league intrasquad game was the next-best alternative.
Samardzija had a poor outing last time out, and although he did throw three no run/no hit innings in today's minor league intrasquad game, he also struggled with his control, at one point walking three consecutive AA Tennessee hitters (Matt Spencer-Kyler Burke-Ryan Flaherty) with two outs in the top of the 2nd, before getting Kevin Soto to fly out to the warning track in LF to end the inning.
The Smokies scored their only run of the game in top of the 9th off LHRP Dustin Sasser, as Jason James and Josh Vitters crushed doubles off the LF fence (and that was James' second two-bagger of the day).
Hard-throwing RHP Rafael Dolis got the start for Tennessee, one day after the Cubs optioned him to AA. He had a bad first inning, as Brandon Guyer led-off by ripping a triple into the right-center alley. Then Jake Opitz sliced a double into the LF corner, and after Ty Wright advanced Opitz to third with a grounder to the right side of the infield, veteran Jason Dubois dumped a broken bat single into CF to score Opitz.
The I-Cubs added three more runs in the 9th. Russ Canzler singled and then sole second. before scoring on a one-out double into the left-center alley by Steve Clevenger. After Tony Thomas reached base on a two-out Ryan Flaherty error, Clevenger scored and Thomas advanced to 2nd base on a Hank Williamson wild pitch, and then Thomas scored on a Mario Mercedes bloop single into short right center.
The Cubs minor league squads have been rearranged in preparation for the first minor league Spring Training games tomorrow, with a 5th squad (Boise/Mesa/EXST) being formed from among players moved down from Peoria, Daytona, and Tennessee.
Today’s intrasquad games featured Peoria versus Daytona on Field #2, and Tennessee versus Iowa on Field #3.
Here is the the abridged box score & statistical summary from today’s Iowa-Tennessee game:
NOTE: Some innings were stopped prior to three outs because the pitcher had reached his max pitch count for that inning, while other innings were extended beyond three outs to allow a pitcher to throw more pitches. Also, Blake Lalli PH for Steve Clevenger in the 6th, but then Clevenger returned to the game as DH #2 in the same slot in the batting order in the 9th, and Lalli took his 2nd AB in the #4 slot in the batting oder (replacing Jason Dubois both at bat and in the field) in the 8th.
AA TENNESSEE LINEUP:
1. Brett Jackson, DH #1: 0-4 (F-7, 4-3, 1-U, 3-1)
2. D. J. Lemahieu, DH #2: 1-4 (P-3, 5-3, 1B, Ks)
3. Jason James, LF: 2-4 (Ks, 2B, 1-3, 2B, R)
4. Marquez Smith, 2B: 0-3 (4-3, 1-3, HBP, P-2)
5. Josh Vitters, 3B: 1-4 (P-7, 5-3, 5-4-3 GIDP, 2B, RBI, PO)
6. Matt Spencer, 1B: 0-1 (BB, HBP, F-7, SB)
7. Kyler Burke, RF: 0-1 (BB, BB, F-7)
8. Ryan Flaherty, SS: 1-2 (BB, Kc, 3B)
9. Kevin Soto, CF: 0-3 (F-7, P-4, P-8)
10a. Luis Flores, C: 0-2 (Ks, F-8)
10b. Mark Reed, C: 0-1 (Ks)
AA TENNESSEE PITCHERS:
1. Rafael Dolis – 1.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 38 pitches (23 strikes), 3/1 GO/FO
2. Todd Blackford – 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 20 pitches (10 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
3. David Cales – 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 21 pitches (14 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
4. Luke Sommer – 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 20 pitches (13 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
5. Chris Siegfried – 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 18 pitches (12 strikes), 3/1 GO/FO
6. Ryan Buchter – 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 PO, 18 pitches (15 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
7. Hank Williamson – 0.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 22 pitches (14 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
AAA IOWA LINEUP:
1a. Brandon Guyer, CF: 2-3 (3B, 1B, 6-3, R)
1b. Tony Campana, CF: 1-1 (1B, PO)
2. Jake Opitz, 3B: 1-4 (2B, 1-3, L-9, Ks, R, RBI)
3a. Ty Wright, LF: 0-3 (4-3, 6-3, 5-3)
3b. Matt Camp, LF: 0-1 (Ks)
4a. Jason Dubois, 1B: 1-2 (1B, HBP, Kc, RBI, SB)
4b. Blake Lalli, PH-1B: 0-2 (6-3, 4-3)
5. Russ Canzler, DH-RF: 1-3 (BB, Kc, 1-U, 1B, R, SB)
6. Smaily Borges, RF-DH: 0-3 (Ks, BB, L-8, FC)
7. Steve Clevenger, C-DH: 2-3 (4-3, 1B, 2B, R, RBI, CS)
8a. Nate Samson, SS: 1-2 (P-4, 1B, SB)
8b. David Macias, SS: 0-2 (5-3, P-4)
9. Tony Thomas, 2B: 0-4 (5-3, Kc, Kc, E-6, R)
10. Mario Mercedes, DH-C: 1- 4 (4-3, F-9, F-7, 1B, RBI)
AAA IOWA PITCHERS:
1. Jeff Samardzija – 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K, 46 pitches (25 strikes), 3/4 GO/FO
2. Mitch Atkins – 2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 39 pitches (25 strikes), 4/2 GO/FO
3. Gregory Reinhard – 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 1 HBP, 18 pitches (11 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
4. Jake Muyco – 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 13 pitches (9 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
5. Dustin Sasser - 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 14 pitches (7 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
Ryan Flaherty (TENN) throwing error E-6 led to two unearned runs scoring in the 9th.
Luis Flores (TENN): 1-3 CS
Mark Reed (TENN): 0-1 CS
Steve Clevenger (IOWA): 0-1 CS
Mario Mercedes (IOWA): 1 PO (Vitters at 2nd base)
I don't know the score of the Peoria-Daytona intrasquad game, but I do know that Daytona RF Nelson Perez was summariliy pulled out of the game by Player Development Director Oneri Fleita in the bottom of the 1st inning for not running out a ground ball.
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.
a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...
it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.
soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.
he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.
j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.
so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.
im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.
That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.
9 pitches in and this game already rules.
HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).
...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.
First time I saw Herrera was yesterday. He took like 100 pitches, fouled off a ton off Lester.
Very nice young player and perfect leadoff guy.
Obviously not Phil. But he mentioned this on Wednesday.
"Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day is Saturday June 4th, so probably about 8-10 pitchers and position players presently at EXST in Mesa will be sent to the Cubs Dominican Academy (probably sometime this week) and be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2."
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