Inoa Hits for the Cycle at Talking Stick
Brian Inoa hit for the cycle and Dustin Geiger ripped two RBI doubles, leading a split squad of EXST Cubs to a 6-5 victory over the EXST Diamondbacks in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Whirlwind Field at Salt River Fields at the Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.
Justin Hilt and Wagner Mateo homered for the Diamondbacks.
The game was extended an extra inning to allow all of the pitchers who were due to throw today to get their scheduled work.
I can’t remember the last time I saw somebody hit for the cycle in an Extended Spring Training game, so what Brian Inoa did today is quite rare. The 20-year old switch-hitting Dominican catcher tripled to right-center in the top of the 2nd inning, smacked a solo home run over the right-centerfield fence in the 4th, executed a picture-perfect hit & run single into the vacant "four-hole" in the 6th, and smoked a double off the LF fence in the 8th. On the negative side, Inoa also committed two errors (an overthrow on a stolen base attempt that led directly to an unearned run scoring, and a dropped foul pop-up).
This is Inoa’s first season in the U. S. after making his pro debut last year in the Dominican Summer League with DSL Cubs #2 (AKA the “Bad News Cubs”), where he hit 279/356/369 in 60 games (203 PA), mostly as a DH. In just 26 games behind the plate for DSL Cubs #2 in 2010, Inoa committed a whopping 11 errors and allowed ten passed balls. (He is what I guess you might call an "offensive-first" catcher).
Here is the abridged box score from today’s game (Cubs players only)
1. Vismeldy Bieneme, 2B: 0-4 (3-U, F-7, F-7, 5-3 SH, K)
2. Eduardo Gonzalez, RF: 1-5 (K, 6-3, K, F-7, 2B, R)
3. Marco Hernandez, SS: 1-4 (3-U, 1B, 4-3, BB, P-1, SB)
4. Brandon May, 3B; 2-5 (P-4, K, 1B, 1B, 4-3, RBI)
5. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 1-5 (K, 5-3, 4-6 FC, F-9, 1B, RBI)
6. Brian Inoa, C: 4-5 (3B, HR, 1B, 2B, 4-6 FC, 3 R, RBI)
7. Dustin Geiger, DH: 2-3 (2B, P-4, BB, 2B, R, 2 RBI)
8. Xavier Batista, 1B: 1-4 (1B, 5-3, F-9, 5-3, RBI)
9. Oliver Zapata, CF: 1-3 (P-6, K, BB, 1B, R, SB)
1. Austin Reed: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 1 PO, 42 pitches (29 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
2. Colin Richardson: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 25 pitches (16 strikes), 2/3 GO/FO
3. Charles Thomas: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 17 pitches (12 strikes), 3/2 GO/FO
4. Ramon Garcia: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HR, 17 pitches (13 strikes), 2/3 GO/FO
5. Larry Suarez: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 18 pitches (15 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
1. C Brian Inoa - E2 (overthrow at 3rd base on stolen base allowed the runner to score an earned run)
2. C Brian Inoa - E2 (dropped pop fly in foul territory extending batter’s AB)
Brian Inoa: 0-2 CS, 2 E (see above)
WEATHER: Sunny and breezy with temperatures in the 80’s
I think Javy is learning--but he's learning to make contact, not learning to lay off pitches out of the zone. A quick glance at his plate discipline numbers on Fangraphs shows that his contact rate is up, especially his contact rate out of the zone, but his swing rate is up too, especially his swing rate out of the zone.
I definitely saw ballpark radar guns go up to 102 on Kerry Wood back when he was still a starter, but who knows how accurate they were.
They've mentioned Henry Rodriguez (2013), Chris Carpenter, and Andrew Cashner as Cubs who have gone 100+. They said Rodriguez was tops at 100.8. Who knows before 2008?
He'll play regardless of what he does, just like Soriano played for seven years before they finally ditched him.
What can they do? All I can think of is they can keep hiring and firing hitting coaches until they find one who can get him to stop hitting balls with the handle of the bat.
(All those broken bats added to his paycheck is just a bit much.)
Lester will probably be all right.
I think Arrieta might have added too much muscle preparing for that butt-naked ESPN photo shoot. Pitchers are supposed to be loose, not muscled up.
I have basically written off Heyward for this year -- if you are working on major swing changes in late July, you are going to struggle. Hopefully, he can be more productive at the plate next year. It will be interesting to see what they do with him if the Cardinals keep winning and close the gap. Heyward is dead last in the NL in slugging and in the bottom 5 in OPS -- yet still has a positive WAR. Hunh.
Has anybody in a Cub uniform ever thrown a ball 103 before?
He certainly looks better, no doubt, and is a different player than what we saw when he first came up. Full credit to him for changing his approach and saving his career.
But he has zero walks in 35AB since the break, and 10 in 251 AB all year. He does seem to be able to hit some pitches out of the zone, but, a guy with his pop should be drawing more walks. However, it's easy to forget he is still only 23, and probably trying to make an impact to prove he should be an everyday player.
The usual suspects, Molina and Wong. Gyorko drew a walk with two outs, none on. I recall us (particularly Szczur and Bryant) swinging at everything Familia threw.
Yup. Thanks Q
Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTNekUcY-XM
I for one hope that Sosa comes back soon.
O/B interesting you should mention that. Google ESPN Science Aroldis Chapman and you'll be treated to how his mechanics and delivery are possibly historic. It's the 120% of his body stretch plus the torque. They compare him to the Unit and NRyan.
Amazing how much lower the production gets when Bryant runs into a mini-cold streak. He doesn't stay cold for long. If just one of Zobrist or, gulp, Heyward, gets hot, they oughta have one more really nice winning streak in them. Having a closer that you have absolute confidence in can't hurt.
I hope they hold onto Jimenez. Outfield depth is questionable, especially with McKinney, who struggled this year but still, gone.
You don't think he's improved? He looks completely different out there than he did when he first came up. The last I checked his K rate was in the low 20% range - 22-23 or so. When he came up it was 40%+.
To me, what is scary about him if I'm the other guy is that he IS learning the strike zone. This guy could easily be the MVP someday.