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.
K-DUB: I think the Cubs might consider skipping Dylan Cease past South Bend and starting him at Myrtle Beach next season, especially if he gets some time at South Bend this season and pitches well there. As a southern kid with TJS history, pitching at Myrtle Beach in April is probably a lot more attractive than pitching in South Bend, but Cease can't go to Myrtle Beach if he isn't ready for Hi-A.
His story makes him someone I completely root for to succeed but it's interesting that he's not succeeding in the way anyone thought when he was just a prospect. Great defense and contact instead of power. I think failing so glaringly and getting sent back down might have been the best thing for him and his ego.
He still swings at too many balls out of the strike zone but he's making a lot more contact on them which I think is helped by the less violent swing. So we might not get all the HRs we were expecting but I'll gladly take what he's giving.
"KingKongVsGodzilla"? So - was there a winner?
Baez is looking like a pretty special player.
Love checking TCR for your writeups. Quick question - any of these 2015 positional IFAs stand out to you yet? I'm most specifically referring to Kwon, Sierra, Paredes, and Amaya, but I know there's a couple other guys from that class in EXST as well.
bored...looking at stats for the hell of it...
felix pena (26yo) moving to the pen in AAA is looking like an insanely good fit so far in a smallish sample size
13ip 4h 3bb 20K
remembering back to spring training he was regularly hitting mid-90s (though he didn't have a good spring stats-wise). as a starter in the minors he usually worked low-90s.
this could be an arm worth keeping an eye on even if he's only a 1-inning guy who was "demoted" to the pen to start the year.
Phil, historically this front office has been patient with their prep pitchers keeping their IP low and moving them one level at a time. I know I'm getting ahead of myself, and you may not be able to formulate an opinion on this, but you've seen a lot of pitchers over the years, so...
also, after tonight's loss, STL is 13-14.
also also, the wsox are 19-8.
Win tomorrow, and the Cubs would have a 6-game lead. On May 4.
Fully agree on Addy -- hope he is our SS for a long time. I'm just surprised he has 4 errors already -- the last 2 on routine plays.
Guess how many Carlos Correa has?
I would still rather have Russell, right now, than any shortstop the team has had in many years. The future is bright enough to wear shades.
EDIT: Gonzo WOULD have been my favorite, 'cepting a certain error of a double-play ball...
Hi Phil, made it home tonight safely. Looks like Cease is getting better each outing. I see Crow did ok today too. I will be reading your write_ups everyday. Great seeing you while there!
tomorrow's game is a 12:35pm EST game for some ungodly stupid reason...then it's back to wrigley field for a night game on the 5th.
The best part of tonight's game was 6 different players with RBIs. Truly a lineup that doesn't give up top to bottom.
excubs [email protected]_NEWS
Jake Arrieta first Cub to go 6-0 in first six starts since Three Finger Brown in 1908.
Russell now with 4 errors -- that's a big (unpleasant) surprise.