AZL Cubs Rally for Four in 8th to Defeat A's at HoHoKam
Mixing two singles with two walks, two wild pitches, an error, a stolen base, and two sacrifice flies, the AZL Cubs scored four in the 8th to break a 1-1 tie and defeat the AZL A's 5-1 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park Sunday night in Mesa.
With the game tied at one, Blair Springfield drew a lead-off walk on a 3-2 pitch to get the Cubs 8th inning started. Speedy Vismeldy Bieneme was sent into the game as a pinch-runner, and proceeded to steal 2nd base and advance to 3rd on the catcher's E-2 overthrow. He then scored on a Wild Pitch. Cody Shields followed by reaching base on a strike out/WP, beating the throw to 1st by a step. Pin-Chieh Chen looped a single down the LF line to move Shields to 2nd base, and Elliot Soto followed by drilling an RBI single into the 5.5 hole, scoring Shields, as Chen moved up to 3rd and Soto advanced to 2nd on the throw to the plate. After Ryan Cuneo was walked intentionally to load the bases and set-up a force at any base, Anthony Giansanti and Sergio Burruel hit consecutive F-7 sacrifice flies to plate Chen and Soto with the 3rd and 4th runs of the inning.
The Cubs had previously tied the game in the bottom of the 6th on consecutive two-out singles by Chen (a line drive sliced to LF), Soto (a high chopper that the 3rd baseman could not field cleanly), and Cuneo (a rocket ground ball through the box into CF).
Two more Cubs made their pro debut tonight, and both 15th round pick (and Algonquin, IL native) SS Elliot Soto (Creighton) and 23rd round selection RHP Matt Loosen (Jacksonville U.) had a hand in the victory.
Soto (considered one of the top defensive shortstops in college baseball) had two hits (including an RBI single) and made two flashy plays at shortstop, one a rangy stop and no-look back-handed flip that started a 6-4-3 DP, and another a full-steam running pick-up and off-balance throw to 1st to nail the batter and keep the go-ahead run off base in the 8th.
Loosen got credit for the victory, throwing 1.2 IP (20 pitches -15 strikes), allowing one hit (a single) while striking out one.
2009 16th round draft pick CF Cody Shields (AU - Montgomery) also made his "official" pro debut tonight (he missed the 2009 season recovering from TJS), although he had seen a lot of action in Extended Spring Training prior to breaking his hand in an intrasquad game about a month ago.
AA Tennessee LHP Casey Lambert (2009 TJS rehab) made his second AZL rehab start tonight, throwing two innings (25 pitches - 22 strikes) and allowing one run on three hits and no walks, while striking out three. RHP Eduardo Figueroa followed Lambert with five innings of one-hit shutout ball, walking one while striking out five (by far the best he's looked in his two years in Mesa), and RHP Jadel Mendez relieved Matt Loosen with a runner on base and two outs in the top of the 9th, before getting a strike out (swinging) to end the game.
In AZL Cubs roster news, RHP Manolin DeLeon (2010 knee surgery) has moved up to Peoria (he was at Daytona last season), RHP Aaron Kurcz (2010 10th round pick out of the College of Southern Nevada), LHP Eric Jokisch (2010 11th round pick out of Northwestern), and INF Pierre LePage (2010 13th round pick out of the University of Connecticut) have ben promoted to Boise, RHP Jesse Ginley (2009 NDFA) has been moved down from Boise to the AZL Cubs, and 3B-1B-C Bobby Wagner (2009 38th round pick out of Panola JC) has been released. (Wagner tried to make the conversion to catcher in Extended Spring Training, but it just didn't work out).
As for the three who got their tickets punched to Boise, Kurcz may not have the stamina or repertoire to be a starter, but he does have the earmarks of a closer or 8th inning set-up man (he throws mid-90's gas), Jokisch is a polished college lefty who (if he can stay healthy) could move quickly through the system, and LePage began his pro career last week like a house afire, getting seven hits and two SB in his first two games before the promotion to Boise. (LePage struck out just three times in 278 PA at U-Conn in 2010).
Chapman shouldn't be reserved anymore on 40 man.
Interesting split on Heyward according to ESPN. As a CF, his slash line .292/.363/.375/.738. At RF: .212/.204/.300/.604. 21/72 as a CF, 58/273 as a RF.
He's also been better when batting 2nd, but he had a nice start in the 6 hole, but has slumped ever since. He was heating up before the All Star break, but is only hitting .108 in the 2nd half.
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.
The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.