Smokies and I-Cubs Get Swept at Fitch Park
Sonny Gray and three relievers combined to throw a five-hitter as the Midland RiverHounds (Oakland A’s AA affiliate) defeated the Tennessee Smokies 3-1 on Field #2, and Jonathon Mota ripped a two-run home run and Juan Apodaca had three hits, but it wasn’t enough as the Sacramento River Cats (A’s AAA affiliate) outlasted the Iowa Cubs 9-5 on Field #3, in Cactus League Minor League game action this afternoon at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.
RHP Matt Loosen was moved up to the Iowa squad from the Tennessee squad and made the start for the I-Cubs, and LHP Austin Kirk was moved up to the Tennessee squad from the Daytona squad and was the starting pitcher for the Smokies, and although they both pitched OK (not great), the two best outings of the day by Cubs pitchers were LHP Eric Jokisch (who led all Cubs minor league pitchers in wins last season), and Tennessee LHP Casey Harman.
Jokisch “piggy-backed” with Kirk and threw 4-2/3 innings of shutout ball, and Harman threw two perfect innings in relief after being transferred from the Tennessee squad to the Iowa squad mid-game (moving from the bullpen on Field #2 to the bullpen on Field #3) when Marcus Hatley and Kevin Rhoderick imploded and the I-Cubs ran out of available pitchers.
Hatley allowed three runs on three hits and two walks in just 2/3 of an inning (37 pitches – only 19 strikes), and Rhoderick labored through his one inning of work, throwing only 12 of his 30 pitches for strikes, and getting off on the wrong foot by walking the first three men he faced to load the bases with no outs.
Neither Cubs squad playing at Fitch Park today showed much offense, but even when there was a glimmer of a threat, the Cubs farmhands found a way to run themselves out of scoring opportunities with over-aggressive base-running, including two players thrown out trying to strech a single into a double (both out by a mile), another player trying to score from 2nd on a single to short CF (also out by a mile), and a couple of inopportune stolen base attempts that rsulted in "caught stealings" and took runners off base when they were most needed.
As usual, players and pitchers from the Boise/Mesa squad were dispersed among the four full-season squads who played games today (Peoria and Daytona played road games versus the A's "A" and Hi-A affiliates at the Papago Park Sports Complex in Phoenix), and several of the Boise/Mesa position players who did not travel to Papago Park saw game action for Iowa or Tennessee.
Here are the abridged box scores from the two games played at Fitch Park (Cubs players only)
FITCH PARK FIELD #2
1a. Logan Watkins, SS: 0-2 (BB, E-6, K, R)
1b. Carlos Penalver, SS: 1-1 (2B)
2. Eduardo Gonzalez, LF: 0-4 (K, E-5, F-8, K)
3. Matt Cerda, DH #1: 2-3 (2B, L-1 DP, 1B, RBI)
4. Justin Bour, 1B: 0-3 (K, F-7, 4-3)
5. Nelson Perez, RF: 0-3 (3-1, K, K)
6. Michael Burgess, DH #2: 0-3 (F-7, 1-3, F-8)
7. Michael Brenly, C: 1-3 (K, 1B, F-7)
8. Jeimer Candelario, 3B: 0-3 (K, 3-U, K)
9. Taiwan Easterling, CF: 0-3 (6-3, F-7, K)
10. Brad Zapenas, 2B: 1-2 (1B, BB, 1-3)
1. Austin Kirk: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 41 pitches (24 strikes), 1/6 GO/FO
2. Eric Jokisch: 4.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 PO, 1 GIDP, 53 pitches (32 strikes), 6/5 GO/FO
3. Dan Berlind: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 2 WP, 39 pitches (25 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
TENNESSEE ERRORS: 1
SS Carlos Penalver - E6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base)
TENNESSEE CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Michael Brenly: 0-1 CS
TENNESSEE BASERUNNING ADVENTURES:
Michael Brenly was thrown out 7-4 trying to stretch single into double leading off bottom of 5th
Matt Cerda was thrown out 7-4 trying to stretch single into double leading off bottom of 6th
FITCH PARK FIELD #3
1a. Brett Jackson, CF: 0-1 (4-3, BB, BB, R)
1b. Jeffrey Baez, RF: 0-2 (K, E-5)
2. Jonathon Mota, SS: 1-5 (K, HR, 6-3, 5-3, K, R, 2 RBI)
3a. Josh Vitters, 3B: 0-3 (4-3, P-5, 6-3)
3b. Leugim Barroso, 3B: 2-2 (1B, 1B, CS)
4a. Anthony Rizzo, 1B: 1-2 (BB, 1B, K, R)
4b. Rebel Ridling, 1B: 0-1 (BB, K)
5. Marquez Smith, DH: 1-4 (BB, P-4, 2B, K, K)
6a. Juan Apodaca, C: 3-3 (1B, 2B, 1B, R)
6b. Luis Flores, C: 0-2 (F-9, P-4)
7. Nate Samson, 2B: 1-4 (6-4-3 DP, E-4, K, 1B, R, CS)
8. Delbis Arcila, LF: 1-4 (3-U, 1-3, 1B, K)
9. Oliver Zapata, RF-CF: 2-4 (4-3, 1B, K, 1B, SB)
1. Matt Loosen: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 55 pitches (41 strikes), 2/5 GO/FO
2. Marcus Hatley: 0.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 37 pitches (19 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
3. Kevin Rhoderick: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 30 pitches (12 strikes), 0/2 GO/FO
4. Alberto Cabrera: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 21 pitches (15 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
5. Casey Harman: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 26 pitches (19 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
6. Tony Zych: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 12 pitches (9 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
IOWA ERRORS: NONE
IOWA CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Juan Apodaca: 0-2 CS
Luis Flores: 1 PB
IOWA BASERUNNING ADVENTURES:
Marquez Smith was thrown out 8-2 trying to score from 2nd on base hit to CF with two outs in bottom of 5th
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80’s
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...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.