Angels Can't Even Contain Baez, Much Less Stop Him
Javier Baez drove-in six runs with a two-run HR and a grand slam, Yasiel Balaguert knocked-in four runs with a three-run home run and a sacrifice fly, Dong-Yub Kim drove-in two runs with an RBI single and a solo HR, and Wilson Contreras ripped a two-run double, leading the Cubs to a 14-4 demolition of the Angels in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, AZ.
Both of Baez's home runs were hit 420+ feet over the right-centerfield fence, landing on Field #5 (the "half-field" infield located north of the clubhouse).
Baez now has eight home runs and 26 RBI in 24 EXST games, and he has saved his best work for games against the Angels. In six EXST games (24 AB) versus the Halos, Baez is hitting .468 with two doubles, a triple, five home runs and 16 RBI. Apparently he can do whatever he wants when he faces the Angels.
RHP Jose Arias got the start for the Cubs today and threw four innings (55 pitches), allowing two runs (only one earned) on four hits (all four singles) and a walk, with seven strikeouts. Arias now leads the EXST Cubs pitchers in strikeouts with 26 (in 21.0 IP)
While the Cubs were playing the Angels on Field #3, RHP Marcos Mateo (on the Cubs 60-day DL with a sore elbow), RHP Justin Berg (2011 TJS rehab), LHP Luis Villalba, RHP Loiger Padron, RHP Ramon Garcia (broken hand rehab), and RHP Ethan Elias threw a five-inning “sim” game on Field #2, facing Cubs players who were not in the lineup on Field #3. Mateo looks to be close to returning to full-scale game action, and a healthy Marcos Mateo could possibly help the beleaguered Chicago Cubs bullpen.
RHP Su-MIn Jung --who has been throwing in "sim" games for the past month while trying to resolve major control issues--got into a Cactus League EXST game for the first time since April 18th. Jung got only one out, and allowed two runs on a single, two walks, and two HBP (including one that hit an Angels hitter in the head, knocking him out of the game), before getting pulled out of the game after throwing 24 oitches (only nine strikes).
In EXST roster news, 1B Ryan Durrence has been released. Durrence was signed by the Cubs after the 2011 June draft as a Non-Drafted Free-Agent (NDFA) out of Bethune-Cookman, and he hit 247/314/406 with a team-leading three HR for the AZL Cubs in 2011. But he has struggled this year, hitting just .120 with no XBH in nine EXST games (26 PA). He was also blocked at 1B by Dan Vogelbach, Rock Shoulders, Ryan Cuneo, Paul Hoilman, Justin Bour, and Anthony Rizzo in the Cubs farm system, so he would have had to really light it up at Minor League Camp and Extended Spring Training to get any consideration for advancement.
Veteran LHRP Ryan Rowland-Smith (on the Iowa Cubs DL since April 19th with a sore back) has completed his EXST rehab and has returned to the I-Cubs. He threw in two EXST games (1.2 IP) last week and allowed no runs on one hit and a walk, with three strikeouts.
Also, Peoria Chiefs RF Reggie Golden (Cubs 2010 2nd round draft pick) has undergone season-ending surgery for a torn ACL. He injured his knee while running the bases in a MWL game last month. He will be out of action until Minor League Camp (Spring Training) 2013.
Cubs VP of Player Personnel Oneri Fleita was at the game today.
Here is the box score from today’s game (Cubs players only):
1. Shawon Dunston Jr, CF: 2-4 (K, 4-3, 1B, 1B)
2. Gioskar Amaya, 2B: 1-2 (1B, BB, 6-4 FC, BB, 2 R)
3. Javier Baez, SS: 2-4 (6-4-3 DP, HR, HR, 7-4 FC, 2 R, 6 RBI)
4. Xavier Batista, LF-DH: 0-4 (6-3, F-9, F-7, P-2 DP)
5. Jeimer Candelario, DH-3B: 0-3 (5-3, BB, F-8, F-7, R)
6. Dustin Geiger, 3B-DH: 2-4 (5-3, 1B, 1B, 4-3, 2 R)
7. Dan Vogelbach, 1B: 0-3 (K, HBP, FC, K, R)
8a. Wilson Contreras, C: 2-3 (1B, 2B, 2-3, 2 R, 2 RBI)
8b. Neftali Rosario, C: 0-0 (BB)
9. Yasiel Balaguert, RF: 2-3 (1B, HR, F-8 SF, K, 2 R, 4 RBI)
10a Dong-Yub Kim, DH #2: 2-3 (1B, HR, 5-3, 2 R, 2 RBI)
10b. Trevor Gretzky, LF: 0-1 (F-7)
11a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TWO TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
11b. Brian Inoa, DH #3: 0-1 (K)
1. Jose Arias: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 7 K, 1 GIDP, 55 pitches (36 strikes), 4/1 GO/FO
2. Su-Min Jung: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 2 HBP, 24 pitches (9 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
3. James Pugliese: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 27 pitches (16 strikes), 4/4 GO/FO
4. Roderik Pichardo: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 6 pitches (5 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
5. Pete Levitt: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 15 pitches (10 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
CUBS ERRORS: 1
SS Javier Baez - E-6 (throwing error on run-down between 1st & 2nd allowed runner at 3rd base to score unearned run)
CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
1. Wilson Contreras: 0-1 CS
2. Neftali Rosario: 0-1 CS
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures 100+
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?
First team to 60 wins! Onward to 70, 80, 90 and 100!