Cubs and Rockies Just Split the Difference at Fitch
Eduardo Gonzalez capped a four-run 2nd inning with a three-run inside-the-park HR, leading one squad of EXST Cubs to a 4-2 victory over one squad of EXST Rockies on Field #3, while four pitchers combined to throw a four-hitter as the other squad of EXST Rockies defeated the other squad of EXST Cubs 5-1 on Field #2, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training doubleheader played this morning at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.
The games were played simultaneously on adjacent fields, and both games were seven-inning affairs.
LHP (ex-OF) Kyler Burke made his third EXST appearance, starting the game on Field #2. Unlike Burke’s previous outings, the lefty struggled with his control throughout his 2.1 IP of work, throwing a first-pitch “ball one” to all seven batters he faced, and throwing only half of his 42 pitches for strikes. However, he also struck out three and allowed just one hit—a lead-off single to the first man he faced (Burke then proceeded to pick the runner off), and the only run charged to him was an inherited run allowed by Santo Rodriguez when the Dominican right-hander surrendered a two-run HR to the first man he faced after relieving Burke with one out and a man on 1st base in the top of the 3rd inning.
Meanwhile, RHP (ex-3B) Charles Thomas had his finest outing of the year, starting the game on Field #2 and working three shutout innings (38 pitches – 22 strikes). The Lee Smith clone used his 98 MPH fastball to strike out four, while allowing just a single, a walk, and a HBP in his three innings of work. Like Burke, Thomas also picked a runner off 1st base.
In EXST Cubs roster news, 21-year old RHP Felix Pena has arrived at Fitch Park from the Dominican Academy, while 2B-SS Rafael Valdes has been moved up to Daytona.
The 27-year old Valdes is one of four Cuban defectors signed by the Cubs over the past six months (C Yaniel Cabezas, OF Rubi Silva, and OF Mayke Reyes being the other three), and while he may be a bit too old to still be considered a “prospect,” the slick-fielding middle-infielder does bring extensive experience to the Cubs organization, after playing several seasons with Pinar Del Rio in the Cuban National Series (the Cuban “major league”), as well as playing for Team Cuba in various international tournaments. (Valdes was the 2B for Team Cuba at the World Port Tournament in Rotterdam when LHP Aroldis Chapman defected in July 2009).
The Cubs Scouting Department has convened at Fitch Park to prepare for next week’s Rule 4 Draft (AKA “First-Year Player Draft”). Several potential draft picks worked-out for the Cubs scouts on Field #1 early this morning, prior to the EXST doubleheader.
Here are the abridged box scores from today’s games (Cubs players only)
SQUAD “A” LINEUP:
1. Pin-Chieh Chen, CF: 1-3 (1B, 3-U, K, R)
2. Gregori Gonzalez, 3B: 0-3 (6-3, 6-3, K)
3. Wilson Contreras, 1B: 0-3 (5-3, 6-3, F-8, RBI)
4. Jesus Morelli, RF: 1-2 (F-8, 1B, BB)
5. Reggie Golden, DH #1: 0-2 (BB, 1-3, F-8)
6a. Yaniel Cabezas, C: 0-2 (F-8, 6-3)
6b. Carlos Romero, PH: 0-1 (6-3)
7. Wes Darvill, SS: 0-3 (4-3 DP, 6-3, K)
8. Blair Springfield, LF: 0-3 (6-3, 6-3, L-8)
9. Max Kwan, DH #2: 2-2 (1B, 1B)
10. Gioskar Amaya, 2B: 0-2 (3-U, 4-6-3 DP)
SQUAD “A” PITCHERS:
1. Charles Thomas: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 1 PO, 38 pitches (22 strikes), 0/3 GO/FO
2. Ramon Garcia: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 30 pitches (22 strikes), 1/4 GO/FO
3. Jean Sandoval: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 1 GIDP, 37 pitches (21 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
SQUAD “A” ERRORS: 3
1. 3B Gregori Gonzalez - E5 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)
2. 3B Gregori Gonzalez - E5 (two-base throwing error allowed batter to reach 2nd base safely – eventually led to two unearned runs scoring)
3. 3B Gregori Gonzalez - E5 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)
SQUAD “A” CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Yaniel Cabezas: 1-1 CS
SQUAD “A” OUTFIELD ASSISTS:
RF Jesus Morelli - batter-runner thrown out at 2nd base
SQUAD “B” LINEUP:
1. Vismeldy Bieneme, 2B: 1-4 (3-1, 1B, F-8, 6-3, R, RBI)
2. Eduardo Gonzalez, RF: 3-4 (1B, HR, 4-3, 1B, R, 3 RBI, SB, CS)
3. Marco Hernandez, SS: 2-3 (1B, 4-3 1B, SB)
4. Brian Inoa, DH: 0-3 (K, K, 3-1)
5. Brandon May, 3B: 0-2 (6-3, BB, 4-3)
6. Dustin Geiger, 1B: 0-3 (6-3, P-3, F-8)
7. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 3-3 (2B, 1B, 1B, R)
8. Johan DeJesus, C: 0-3 (F-7, 5-4 FC, 4-6-3 DP)
9. Oliver Zapata, CF: 2-3 (1B, 4-6-3 DP, 1B, R)
SQUAD “B” PITCHERS:
1. Kyler Burke: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 1 PO, 42 pitches (21 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
2. Santo Rodriguez: 2.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 28 pitches (18 strikes), 3/2 GO/FO
3. Ryan Hartman: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 PO, 13 pitches (10 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
4. Colin Richardson: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 13 pitches (9 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
SQUAD “B” ERRORS: 1
C Johan DeJesus - E2 (throwing error on stolen base attempt at 2nd base allowed base-runner to advance to 3rd base)
SQUAD “B” CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Johan DeJesus: 0-1 CS, 1 E (see above)
WEATHER: Mostly cloudy and breezy with temperatures in the 80’s
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.
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...