Alfonso Soriano for DH! (Vote Early & Often)
Alfonso Soriano homered twice and Brett Jackson whacked a three-run home run, leading the Cubs to an 11-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in warm, sunny, and windy (sometimes VERY windy) Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.
Matt Garza was the Cubs starting pitcher, and he worked two innings (31 pitches – 22 strikes), allowing two runs on three hits and an HBP, no walks, and one strrikeout (Ramon Hernandez - looking). Garza threw a scoreless 1st inning, and then the Rockies plated both of their runs off Garza in the top of the 2nd.
Casey Blake was hit by a pitch leading-off the inning, and then Brandon Wood doubled off the CF batter’s eye, sending Blake to 3rd. Ex-Cub Tyler Colvin picked up an RBI with a 4-3 GO that scored Blake and moved Wood up to 3rd, and then after Garza got Chris Nelson on a pop up and looked like he might get out of the inning with only one run scoring, Wilkin Castillo roped an RBI single to left to score Wood.
After going down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 1st against Rockies RH starter Guillermo Moscoso, the Cubs put up a four-spot in the bottom of the 2nd.
DH and clean-up hitter Alfonso Soriano smacked a solo HR off the Wells Fargo sign at the top of the scoreboard beyond the LF fence to get things started, and then with two outs, Anthony Rizzo ripped a rocket line-drive single to right center and Welington Castillo doubled down the LF line, putting runners at 2nd & 3rd. Brett Jackson then blasted a moon-shot three-run HR over the RF fence and into the Rockies bullpen, giving the Cubs a 4-2 lead.
The Cubs scored another run in the bottom of the 3rd, as Alfonso Soriano smoked a lead-off double off the CF batter’s eye, and then with two outs, scored from 3rd on an Anthony Rizzo two-out RBI infield single. (Rizzo showed good speed going down the line).
RHP Casey Coleman worked the 3rd & 4th innings for the Cubs and had a decent two-inning stint, throwing shutout ball, while allowing consecutive two-out singles in the 4th.
LHP James Russell pitched the 6th, and allowed a lead-off HR to Dexter Fowler that hit the scoreboard in almost the exact same spot Soriano's 1st inning HR did earlier. Russell then gave-up two more hits (both singles), before inducing Ramon Hernandez to ground into a much-needed 6-4-3 DP and getting Casey Blake on a fly out to end the inning. Russell is expected to be the Cubs #1 lefty specialist this season, but he faced only RH hitters today (Fowler-Pacheco-Cuddyer-Hernandez-Blake).
Up 5-3 through 4-1/2 innings, the Cubs scored four runs in the bottom of the 5th against Rockies RHRP Zach Putnam.
Blake DeWitt continued his hot hitting, lining a lead-off single to center. Alfonso Soriano then hit his second HR of the day, a line-drive two-run shot just inside the LF foul pole. Ian Stewart walked, and Junior Lake ripped a double down the LF line, sending Stewart to 3rd. Anthony Rizzo grounded out 4-3 to score Stewart and move Lake up to 3rd, and then Welington Castillo grounded a sharply-hit single between 2nd & 3rd to knock-in Lake with the inning’s final run.
NRI LHP Chris Rusin threw the 6th & 7th innings for the Cubs, allowing one hit and one run (a Tyler Colvin triple followed by an RBI gound out in the 6th), and two walks and no runs in the 7th. Rusin works slow and really likes to nibble, and went 3-2 on several of the Colorado hitters.
The Cubs finished their scoring in the 7th, tallying twice. Jonathon Mota led-off the inning with a bloop single, and scored on a Joe Mather triple. Then after Michael Brenly grounded out (with the runner holding at 3rd), Mather scored on Jae-Hoon Ha grounder, beating the throw home by Rockies 3B (and ex-Cub) Brendan Harris. (Mather has good speed for a big guy)
The Cub Defensive Play of the Day was a spectacular catch by CF Jim Adduci, who made a long run and then caught a fly in deep right-center, crashing into the fence in the process. Adduci also showed-off his plus arm, making an outstanding throw to 2nd from the base of the CF batter’s eye after fielding a double the previous inning.
The 26-year old Adduci was acquired by the Cubs from the Marlins a few years ago in the Todd Wellemeyer deal, and has spent five seasons in the Cub organization. Like several other Cub minor leaguers presently in big league camp, Adduci was a Rule 55 Minor League Free-Agent (6YFA) after last season, but opted to re-sign with the Cubs, getting an NRI as part of the deal.
Adduci is an outstanding defensive outfielder with a plus-arm, and he can play all three OF spots. He also has above-average speed for a big guy, and is both a good base-runner and a good base-stealer. And he has a good eye at the plate, too. He will likely be the "4th OF" at Iowa in 2012.
What has held him back over the years is that while he is built like the Incredible Hulk, he has Tony Campana power (.356 career SLG %). He is essentially a “singles hitter,” and even at that, his hit tool is just so-so (career .279 hitter in the minors, but only .248 at AAA).
That said, I could see Adduci maybe making it as an MLB “5th OF” someday (late-inning defensive replacement & PR). One thing for sure, he certainly won’t hurt a team with his defense or his base-running.
The Cubs play their first Cactus League road game tomorrow, facing the Kansas City Royals at Surprise Stadium. With the Rockies and the Diamondbacks having moved up to the Valley of the Sun from Tucson last year, the Mesa-Surprise bus trip is now the longest one in the Cactus League… it takes about an hour).
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.
So, playing .500 for the rest of the year puts them at 91 wins. You would think there is enough talent to do a little better than that, right?