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
Everytime I recall Szcur's bone marrow donation to a stranger, it makes me smile:
If Matt is out will Kawasaki get the call-up? Or "Shane"?
"Matt Szczur will undergo an MRI on his right hamstring on Tuesday."
One of the reasons I think Maddon is a great manager -- he has changed the conversation on Baez from HR & strikeouts to great defense, versatility and an all-around good ballplayer. He rarely talks about his offense, which is the only thing anybody used to talk about with Javy. He took a lot of pressure off the kid, and he seems to have responded.
Good pitching and some nifty D tonight -- nice win.
In case you didn't see it -- it was the Little League play where the guy on first gets caught in a rundown on purpose and the guy on third tries to score. It worked.
Gotta love the Pirates pitcher intentionally hitting Zobrist, then allowing Zobrist to score on a 2-out wild pitch.
Also, glad to see Zobrist coming around with RISP after my remarks last week. Heh!
ESPN reporting heyward day-to-day with an injured wrist
ESPN game tonight, btw.
Cardinal way #48
"negligent transmission of STDs"
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Twitterverse reporting that Heyward is dealing with a sore right wrist
Cardinal way #47
See ya on parrot chat
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?
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.