Angels Blank Cubs at HoHoKam
With Cubs Player Personnel Director Oneri Fleita in attendance, RHP Jadel Mendez worked-out of a no outs/bases loaded jam in the top of the 8th to preserve a scoreless tie, but was not as fortunate in the top of the 9th as the AZL Angels scored four times en route to a 4-0 whitewashing of the AZL Cubs in Arizona League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa this evening.
Cubs bats were mostly silent tonight, with the notable exception of 1B Ryan Cuneo (2010 20th round draft pick out of the University of Delaware) who doubled off the RF fence in the bottom of the 2nd and roped a triple into the RF corner in the 9th. The sweet swingin' Cuneo is now hitting a cool 323/382/613 in eight AZL games, and I would think he will likely get moved up to Boise in the very near future, as should SS Elliot Soto (15th round pick out of Creighton) who continued his fine defensive play at shortstop, while also collecting a hit and a stolen base.
Catcher Micah Gibbs (Cubs 2010 3rd round pick out of LSU) made his pro debut in tonight's game, going 0-4 with a throwing error. One of his outs was a feeble ground ball to SS with one out and a runner at 3rd, and the throwing error occurred when Gibbs blocked a ball in the dirt on a swinging strike three, only to throw the ball high & wide to 1st base, allowing the batter to reach base on the strikeout. Along with Cuneo and Soto, both Micah Gibbs and fellow-catcher Chad Noble (37th round pick out of Northwestern) will likely be going up to Boise, too. Noble hit a 9th inning game-tying two-run HR last night in Phoenix, only to see AZL A's LF Yeudy Brazoban stroke a two-out two-run walk-off HR in the bottom of the 9th to give the A's the victory.
21-year old Dominican RHP Hector Mayora started tonight's game for the AZL Cubs and threw four innings of two-hit shutout ball with four strikeouts, and RHP Matt Loosen (2010 23rd round pick out of Jacksonville U.) threw two perfect innings of relief with three strikeouts.
AA Tennessee RHP Marcos Mateo (knee surgery rehab) threw one-inning in tonight's game, retiring the side 1-2-3 on 15 pitches (nine strikes). He (understandably) looked a bit rusty after missing the last seven weeks, but he also had plus-velocity, retiring the first two batters he faced on weak groundouts before upping his gas into the mid-90's to get the third batter on a called third strike. Barring a medical setback, Mateo probably won't be down here too much longer.
With tonight's loss, the AZL Cubs dropped to 2-6 and fell into last place in the AZL East, having lost three consecutive games in the 9th inning.
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
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.