Cubs & Angels Play Pretend World Series Game 7 at Fitch
In what may be a preview of the World Series, the Cubs defeated the Angels 3-2 in AZ Instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this afternoon.
Robinson Chirinos was the primary offensive force for the Cubs today, reaching base four times on a solo HR, a double and two walks.
Of course Chirinos also is something of a "ringer," since he has played eight seasons in the Cubs organization, including the first two months of 2008 at AA Tennessee. The only reason Chirinos is even at "Instructs" is because he is making the conversion from infielder to catcher (although he played RF today), so he certainly is not at Fitch to work on his hitting, especially when he is primarily facing 19 and 20-year old kid pitchers.
Chirinos is eligible to be a minor league FA after the conclusion of the 2008 World Series, but the fact that the Cubs went to the trouble to convert him to catcher and then invited him to attend the AZ Instructional League probably means Chirinos has (or will) "re-up" with the Cubs for 2009. If that is the case, he would probably project as a "super-sub" C-IF-OF at AA Tennessee in '09, and he could conceivably even get an NRI to Spring Training with the big club as a reward for his hard work and his willingness to remain in the organization.
In addition to the big day at the plate for Chirinos, 2008 25th round pick Rebel Ridling (Oklahoma State) had two hits including a triple and a two-out RBI single, 2008 6th round pick 2B-LF Josh Harrison (U. of Cincinnati) had his third double in two days, and SS Starlin Castro rapped out two hits, giving him a total of five over his last two games.
CF Brandon Guyer (who homered Monday and Tuesday) returned to the lineup and went 0-4 with two strikeouts out of the "clean-up" slot.
Just like Opening Day last Monday, 2008 2nd round draft pick RHP Aaron Shafer (Wichita State) and 3rd rounder RHP Chris Carpenter (Kent State) each worked two innings of shutout ball. Effectively mixing up his pitches, working both sides of the plate with his fastball, and throwing quality strikes, Shafer "pitched to contact" the way your supposed to do it, as the right-hander needed only 20 pitches to complete his two innings of work. And Carpenter's 93 MPH sinker had good action today, too.
LHP James Leverton (2008 8th round pick out of Texas Tech) also worked two innings, and he surrendered his second HR in two games as Roberto Lopez took Leverton deep in the top of the 5th.
RHP Erik Hamren (37th round pick out of Saddleback CC by way of the University of the Pacific) made his first appearance in an Instructs game and did not last an inning, as he struggled with his control (24 pitches, only 12 strikes) while allowing one run on one hit and two walks in 2/3 of an inning.
RHP Dan McDaniel (who likely will be the closer at Peoria in 2009), ex-catcher Jake Muyco, and Daytona LHP Jayson Ruhlman worked one shutout inning a piece, with Ruhlman absolutely carving up the Angels' youngsters in his one inning.
Pitching in the "Advanced-A" Florida State League for a full season in 2008, Ruhlman and RHP Brian Schlitter (acquired from the Phillies for Scott Eyre) are the two most experienced Cubs pitchers at Instructs, and so they have a natural advantage over the some of the opposition's younger hitters. (Both Ruhlman and Schlitter will almost certainly be in the AA Tennessee bullpen in 2009).
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):
NOTE: While the Cubs won the game 3-2 in nine innings, the game was extended an extra inning (top of the 10th) to allow Jayson Ruhlman to get his pre-scheduled one inning of work.
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Josh Harrison, LF: 1-3 (2B, BB)
2. Matt Cerda, DH-C: 0-4
3. Robinson Chirinos, RF: 2-2 (2 R, RBI, HR, 2B, 2 BB)
4. Brandon Guyer, CF: 0-4 (2 K)
5. Rebel Ridling, 1B: 2-4: (RBI, 3B, K)
6. Jake Opitz, 2B: 0-4
7. Starlin Castro, SS: 2-4 (R)
8. Junior Lake, 3B: 1-3 (BB, K)
9a. Michael Brenly, C: 0-1 (BB)
9b. Carlos Morales, DH: 0-2
10. Hak-Ju Lee, DH #2: 0-3 (RBI GO)
1. Aaron Shafer - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 PO (2/3 GO/FO) - 20 pitches (14 strikes)
2. Chris Carpenter - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K (3/0 GO/FO) - 29 pitches (16 strikes)
3. James Leverton - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR (4/1 GO/FO) - 28 pitches (19 strikes)
4. Dan McDaniel - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (1/1 GO/FO) - 16 pitches (11 strikes)
5. Erik Hamren - 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 0 K (1/0 GO/FO) - 24 pitches (12 strikes)
6. Jake Muyco - 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K (2/2 GO/FO) - 9 pitches (6 strikes)
7. Jayson Ruhlman - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (1/0 GO/FO) - 13 pitches (11 strikes)
1. Starlin Castro, E-6, dropped pop fly in LF foul territory
2. Junior Lake, E-5, misplayed ground ball allowing batter to reach base
3. Jake Muyco, E-1, overthrew pick-off attempt at 1st base allowing runner to reach 2nd base
Michael Brenly: 1-3 CS
Matt Cerda: 1-3 CS
WEATHER: 100+, sunny, hot, hot hot
ATTENDANCE: 17 (mostly scouts)
The Cubs had some good runs and nice winning streaks that propelled them to the playoffs. Austin Jackson wasn't part of that. I don't quite understand what it is about Jackson that they are so enamored with.
I think the strike zone was very inconsistent, but it's hard to blame the loss on the ump. They had chances and mistake pitches and just couldn't cash in. Lackey ran the ball inside and outside very effectively.
Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.
Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell
if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.
I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth
Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.
Wtf is up w/that?!
Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...
I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.
Awesome stuff, Phil.
listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.
That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.
it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?
sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.
HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).
Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.
I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.
One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players.
CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.