Cubs Use Their Cabezas to Beat Kazmir
Yaniel Cabezas singled twice, doubled, scored two runs, and threw out two opposing base-stealers, and four Cubs pitchers combined to throw a four-hitter, as a split squad of EXST Cubs edged the EXST Angels 2-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #2 in Mesa this morning.
The game was extended an extra inning to allow Cubs and Angels pitchers to get their scheduled work.
Cubs pitchers Austin Reed and Luis Liria combined to throw six no-run, no hit innings to get things started, retiring 18 of the first 19 men they faced. When Reed is good (that is, when he throws strikes), he is VERY good, and Liria should probably be at Peoria.
It seems to help the younger pitchers when experienced catchers like Chad Noble (played four years of Big Ten baseball at Northwestern) and Yaniel Cabezas (catcher for Cuban Junior National Team) are behind the plate.
Meanwhile, the Cubs were facing MLB LHP Scott Kazmir (15-day DL – back) for the second time in a week, in what was probably his final Extended Spring Training rehab outing. Kazmir threw 5.1 IP (75 pitches), allowing one run (earned) on three hits, a walk, and two HBP, with two strikeouts and a 7/6 GO/FO.
The Cubs scored their only run off Kazmir in the bottom of the second. Yaniel Cabezas led-off with a single, Jose Valdez was hit by a pitch, and Dustin Harrington singled sharply to CF to load the bases with no outs. Pin-Chieh Chen then grounded into a 4-6 FC that scored Cabezas from 3rd.
The Cubs scored what proved to be the winning run in the bottom of the 6th (after Kazmir had left the game). Cabezas doubled to RF with one out, moved-up to 3rd base on a ground out, and scored on a Dustin Harrington RBI single.
While one squad of EXST Cubs played the Angels at Fitch Park, the other squad traveled to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort to play the EXST Rockies. Unfortunately, I am unable to provide a report on the EXST Cubs road game, since the two games were played simultaneously ten miles apart. (To get enough innings for all of the pitchers at Extended Spring Training, the Cubs are scheduling EXST split squad road game/home game dates several times this Spring).
Here is today’s abridged box score for the game at Fitch Park (Cubs players only):
1. Kyung-Min Na, CF: 0-5 (1-U, 6-3, 6-3, 3-U, E-4)
2. Wes Darvill, SS: 1-4 (E-1, BB, 4-3, L-7, 1B)
3a. Chad Noble, C: 0-3 (F-9, F-9, K)
3b. Reggie Golden, PH: 0-0 (HBP)
3c. SLOT WAS SKIPPED 5th TIME THROUGH ORDER
4a. Jesus Morelli, RF: 1-4 (L-8, 1B, K, 6-4 FC)
4b. SLOT WAS SKIPPED 5th TIME THROUGH ORDER
5. Yaniel Cabezas, DH-C: 3-5 (1B, L-9, 2B, 1B, 6-4-3 DP, 2 R)
6. Jose Valdez, LF: 0-3 (HBP, F-9, 4-3, K)
7. Dustin Harrington, 3B: 2-3 (1B, HBP, 1B, F-9, RBI)
8. Pin-Chieh Chen, 2B: 0-4 (4-6 FC, 6-4 FC, 4-3, K, RBI, CS)
9. Dustin Geiger, 1B: 0-4 (P-5, 6-3, 3-1, 6-3)
1. Austin Reed: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 35 pitches (22 strikes), 5/2 GO/FO
2. Luis Liria: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 37 pitches (23 strikes), 0/5 GO/FO
3. Amaury Paulino: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 29 pitches (17 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
4. Willengton Cruz: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 32 pitches (19 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO
Yaniel Cabezas: 2-2 CS
RF Jesus Morelli threw out runner 9-5 trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on single to RF
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80’s
He'll be fine. He's not some wimpy young pup.
In all seriousness the Cubs have the fewest amount of games played in the NL which means they're gonna be facing quite the grind later on including 24 games in a row at the end of June and beginning of July so I hope he does get a few days off.
Meh. He only got one hit today. Maybe give him a rest?
Good thing the Cubs have five left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties [edit - doesn't seem to faze Bryant!]
ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.
cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/
HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC.
ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels.
M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores) the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating.
E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.
Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).
PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.
AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.
Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.