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
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.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.
a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...
it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.
soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.
he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.
j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.