Cubs Pitchers Loosen Up Rockies with 19 Strikeouts
Doug Davis threw three innings of one-hit shutout ball, Todd Wellemeyer threw a 1-2-3 13-pitch inning, and Matt Loosen struck out eight in just 2.2 IP, as five EXST Cubs pitchers struck out 19 EXST Rockies batters en route to a 3-2 victory in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.
Although the Cubs were ahead 3-0 after the end of the Rockies 9th, the game was extended to 11 innings so that additional Cubs and Rockies pitchers could get their pre-scheduled work.
Making his second start since signing a minor league contract with the Cubs last week, Davis (post-2010 elbow surgery rehab) made quick work of the Rockies, needing just 24 pitches (20 strikes) to retire nine of the ten men he faced. The only blemish was a two-out triple in the right-center gap in the top of the 1st inning, and that runner was left-stranded. Davis struck out two (both swinging), and had a 6/1 GO/FO rate, as his sinker was working very well. The veteran soft-tossing lefty kept the young Rockies hitters off-balance throughout his three-inning stint, mixing an 84 MPH sinker with a curve and a change-up.
Todd Wellemeyer (sore hip rehab) followed Davis to the mound, and had an easy 1-2-3 4th inning (F-8, 4-3, K), retiring the side on 13 pitches (nine strikes).
Because they threw so few pitches in the EXST game on Field #3, both Davis and Wellemeyer moved over to Field #2 to pitch in a “sim game” that was already in progress (Dustin Fitzgerald and Ramon Garcia had just completed their two innings), and threw an additional inning (15 pitches) each on top of their EXST game work.
RHP Matt Loosen (Cubs 2010 23rd round pick out of the U. of Jacksonville) took the mound to start the top of the 5th, and had an outstanding outing, striking out eight (seven swinging) in just 2.2 IP. Loosen did allow a double and he hit a batter, but he was mostly just plain unhittable. In two EXST outings so far, Loosen has thrown 6.1 IP of shutout ball, allowing three hits, one HBP, and no walks, with 10 strikeouts. He would likely be at the top of the list should the Cubs look to promote a pitcher from Extended Spring Training to Peoria.
RHP Yao-Lin Wang also threw 2.2 IP of shutout ball today, allowing a single and a walk, with three strikeouts (two swinging).
LHP Casey Harman was the one Cub pitcher who did allow runs today, giving up two (both earned) on three hits (two triples and an inside-the-park HR), although he did strike out five (four swinging).
The Cubs scored single runs in the 1st, 5th, and 8th innings. Kyung-Min Na led off the bottom of the 1st by scalding a single through the box, and scored on a one-out Wilson Contreras RBI double. Jesus Morelli reached base on an error to start the 5th, advanced to 3rd base on a two-base throwing error (errant pick-off attempt), and scored on a line drive SF to left by Johan DeJesus. Morelli then finished the Cubs scoring with a solo HR over the LF fence and onto 8th Street to open the bottom of the 8th.
Here is today’s abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Kyung-Min Na, CF: 1-4 (1B, P-6, L-9, 4-3, R)
2. Dustin Harrington, SS: 1-4 (6-3, 6-3, F-9, 1B)
3. Wilson Contreras, 1B: 2-4 (2B, 5-3, 5-3, 1B, RBI, CS)
4. Dong-Yub Kim, DH #1: 1-4 (1B, F-7, K, K)
5. Dustin Geiger, 3B: 1-4 (P-2, K, 1-3, 1B)
6. Jesus Morelli, RF: 1-4 (5-3, E-6, HR, 4-3, 2 R, RBI)
7a. Johan DeJesus, C-DH: 0-2 (5-3, L-7 SF, K, RBI)
7b. Max Kwan, PH: 0-1 (5-3)
8. Eduardo Gonzalez, LF: 0-3 (K, 3-1, 6-3)
9. Hector Suarez, DH-C: 0-3 (3-1, K, 4-3)
10. Gregori Gonzalez, 2B: 0-3 (K, 3-1, P-4)
1. Doug Davis: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 24 pitches (20 strikes), 6/1 GO/FO
2. Todd Wellemeyer: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 13 pitches (9 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
3. Matt Loosen: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 47 pitches (35 strikes)
4. Yao-Lin Wang: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 46 pitches (29 strikes), 2/3 GO/FO
5. Casey Harman: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, 33 pitches (26 strikes)
3B Dustin Geiger E5 – fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely
WEATHER: Partly cloudy & breezy with temperatures in the 80’s
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!
given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.
i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.
Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?
He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.
My guess? Toronto.
PHIL: It seems as if Paniagua has always played 1B with the Cubs. At 6'2 and 180#, what is his frame like? String bean? Have you seen him bulk up? Where do you project him? Thanks.
Phil, what's your thoughts on which position players are going to Eugene and who is staying in AZL?
Ahhh...way to bring me down BB.
Still - a win tomorrow will be an acheivement regardless.
Don't mean to spoil your mood, but with tonight's win the are 3-5 on the trip with one to play.
While I'm bringing the room down -- Richard comes in to pitch the 9th with a 12-1 lead...and can't finish the game. Woof.
For some reason
It is remarkable how my mood has become uplifted with one game against the Cards.
That is sick.
But, I have been an addict for a long time.
A W tomorrow and it will be a .500 road trip.
Also, to keep the losses in perspective, if the Cubs were to lose 10 games a month - a lot at this current pace - they still end up 102-60. Six months of the ride!
So, the Mesa Cubs should be solid this summer in the AZL Rookie League?
And, I like the, "But did you know" lead in there. Something a little different.
I can tell really like this group of hitters in AZ right now.
What pitchers out there, other than Cease, should we be excited about?
Thanks as always for the info.