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.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.
If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?
#Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.
Fun with FIP
- J. Hammel 3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
- J. Arrieta 2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
- J. Lester 2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
- K. Hendricks 2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
- J. Lackey 3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k
he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.
JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.
My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.
Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...
joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1
not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.
really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.
Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.
Classic Scully - great stuff.
Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)
Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:
"And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."
When the Cubs were the old, hundred-year Cubs, one bad hop did not undo their opponents.
If only he was clutcher. More clutcher.