Cubs Pitching & Defense Frustrates A's at Fitch Park
Micah Gibbs ripped a solo home run and an RBI single, Danny Lockhart had three hits including an RBI double, and six pitchers combined to throw a five-hit shutout, as the Cubs whitewashed the Athletics 6-0 in AZ Instructional League action this afternoon at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.
20-year old RHP Ian Dickson (Cubs 2011 35th round draft pick out of Lafayette College) made his pro debut today, getting the start and throwing one inning. Dickson pitched-around a first-pitch lead-off double, retiring the next three A’s hitters on a strikeout (swinging) and two 6-3 GO. Dickson missed the 2011 college baseball season after suffering a torn ACL in 2010, but Cubs scouts apparently had seen enough of him in previous years to offer him a contract at the 8/15 deadline once he proved he was 100%.
Besides the Gibbs HR and Lockhart’s three hits, today’s game featured two excellent defensive plays by Cubs players.
Reggie Golden showed-off his plus arm, making an outstanding pinpoint throw from CF to nail an A’s runner trying to score from 2nd base on a line-drive single to CF with two outs in the top of the 2nd inning, and 2B Rubi Silva made a terrific turn on a 6-4-3 DP in the 5th.
Although he played mostly OF this past season at Peoria and Daytona, Silva looks very comfortable at 2B, making four other nice plays on grounders to retire A’s hitters today (each play harder than the previous one), and showing off his plus-arm on two of them. Scouts in attendance were impressed (and apparently surprised) with Silva’s play-making skills at 2B.
While Cubs 2011 3rd round draft pick 2B-LF Zeke DeVoss (U. of Miami) is probably better-suited to play LF, it would appear that Silva does have the skills required to play 2B. So don’t be surprised if the Daytona Cubs 2012 Opening Day lineup features Rubi Silva at 2B.
Silva played for the Cuban Junior National Team and then later for Havana in Serie Nacional (the Cuban major league) prior to defecting, and received a reported $1M bonus when he signed with the Cubs last December.
Here is the abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Rubi Silva, 2B-DH: 0-4 (1-3, K, 3-U, 4-3)
2. Danny Lockhart, SS-2B: 3-4 (1B, K, 2B, 1B, R, RBI)
3a. Rafael Lopez, C: 1-2 (1B, 5-3)
3b. Alberto Mineo, PH: 1-1 (1B, RBI)
3c. Mark Malave, C: 0-1 (K)
4. Reggie Golden, CF: 0-3 (K, 1-3, 6-3, BB, R)
5. Jeimer Candelario, 3B: 2-4 (K, 1B, 3-1, 1B, 2 R)
6. Dustin Geiger, 1B: 1-4 (1B, K, F-7, 4-3)
7. Micah Gibbs, DH #1: 2-3 (HBP, HR, 4-3, 1B, R, 2 RBI)
8a. Yaniel Cabezas, DH #2: 0-3 (6-3, 6-3, 5-3)
8b. Carlos Penalver, SS: 0-1 (4-3)
9. Jeffrey Baez, RF: 0-3 (1-3, 1-3, K)
10. Garrett Schlecht, LF: 0-2 (K, BB, L-5, R)
1. Ian Dickson: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 24 pitches (16 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO
2. Frank Del Valle: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 1 BALK, 30 pitches (18 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
3. Dustin Fitzgerald: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 1 GIDP, 25 pitches (12 strikes), 5/0 GO/FO
4. Austin Reed: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 21 pitches (11 strikes), 3/3 GO/FO
5. Luis Liria: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 9 pitches (5 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
6. Andrew McKirahan: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 16 pitches (11 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
Rafael Lopez: 0-2 CS
CF Reggie Golden threw out base-runner 8-2 trying to score from 2nd base on a line drive single to CF
ATTENDANCE: 18 (mostly scouts)
WEATHER: Sunny & breezy with temperatures in the 90’s
2nd in defensive WAR, NL.
6th in NL in RBI
Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.
Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.