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.
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.
If the ball didn't deflect off the pitcher's mound, the game wouldn't have ended. Montgomery did miss his location though, but if that same contact was made and went in any of direction, good chance of ground out if it doesn't get through.
If it was 1 night later, Chapman would be out there and we probably would be going to extras.
Also, If KB wasn't robbed of a HR, perhaps we would have won. We will never know. Nice play by Melky though.
The comparison isn't Chapman replacing Rondon. It's Chapman replacing Richard (hopefully) in the pen. Chapman's better.