Bianco Blast the Difference-Maker at Talking Stick
Justin Bianco hammered a solo home run leading off the bottom of the 5th to break a 1-1 tie, and it was just enough as the Diamondbacks edged the Cubs 2-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Whirlwind Field at Salt River River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.
Junior Lake continued his rehab, batting six times (once in each of the first six innings) and playing shortstop for seven innings.
Lake grounded a single through the box leading off the top of the 1st and scored the Cubs only run of the game on a wild pitch later in the inning, struck out (swinging) in the top of the 2nd and then again in the top of the 3rd, grounded out to shortstop in the 4th, struck out swinging in the 5th, and hit into a 6-4 FC in the 6th. He also handled seven chances flawlessly in the field, and was the “middle-man” in two 4-6-3 double plays.
Lake is scheduled to play in one more EXST game (at Fitch Park tomorrow), before rejoining the Tennessee Smokies on Thursday or Friday.
RHP Rob Whitenack (June 2011 TJS) got the start for the Cubs and threw three innings (40 pitches) of no-hit shutout ball, allowing one walk while striking out two (5/2 GO/FO).
Here is the abridged box score from today’s game (Cubs players only):
X. Junior Lake, SS: 1-6 (1B, K, K, 6-3, K, 6-4 FC, R, CS)
NOTE: Lake batted six times, once in each of the first six innings
1. Shawon Dunston Jr, CF: 2-3 (1B, F-8, 1B, SB)
2. Javier Baez, DH-SS: 0-3 (K, K, 4-6 FC, SB)
3. Rock Shoulders, 1B: 0-3 (K, F-8, 4-3)
4. Xavier Batista, RF: 0-2 (BB, 6-3, 4-3)
5. Gioskar Amaya, 2B: 0-3 (K, F-8, K)
6. Dan Vogelbach, DH #2: 0-2 (K, BB, P-6)
7a. Anthony Giansanti, C: 0-1 (F-9)
7b. Neftali Rosario, C: 0-2 (K, K)
8. Yasiel Balaguert, LF: 1-2 (1B, 5-3)
9a. Jair Bogaerts, 3B: 0-1 (L-9 DP)
9b. Danny Lockhart, 3B: 0-1 (3-1)
1. Rob Whitenack: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 40 pitches (23 strikes), 5/2 GO/FO
2. Carlos Martinez: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 1 HR, 1 GIDP, 33 pitches (16 strikes), 4/2 GO/FO
3. Alvido Jimenez: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 26 pitches (15 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
4. Luis Villalba: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 12 pitches (9 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
5. Roderik Pichardo: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 10 pitches (7 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
CUBS ERRORS: NONE
CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Neftali Rosario: 0-3 CS
WEATHER: Sunny and breezy with temperatures in the 80’s
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.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.
soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.
he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.
j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.
so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.
im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.
That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.
9 pitches in and this game already rules.
HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).
...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.