Soler Wind Blows Two-Run Bomb
Dan Vogelbach ripped an RBI single through the 3.5 hole and Jorge Soler followed with a 420-ft two-run HR over the berm beyond the left-centerfield fence to highlight a three-run 4th, but the AZL Reds scored six runs over the final five innings and defeated the AZL Cubs 6-4 in Arizona League action tonight at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.
Soler played RF for the entire game and batted four times, going 2-4.
He bounced-out 1-3 on a first-pitch one-hop comebacker to the mound with one out in the 2nd, mashed his HR on the first pitch he saw from LHP Wandy Peralta with two outs in the bottom of the 4th, reached base on a one-out single on a 1-2 pitch in the bottom of the 6th (a rocket bouncer that hit Reds third-baseman Tanner Rahier flush in the nose, knocking him out of the game) before eventually scoring the Cubs 4th run, and struck out (looking) on three pitches (a foul ball into the RF stands that broke his bat, followed by two called strikes) with one out and the tying run at 2nd in the bottom of the 8th.
Although he is not a fast runner, Soler did make an outstanding run-saving running backhanded catch in right-center in the top of the 5th. Earlier in the game he had looked a bit tentative going after a couple pop ups (both fell in front of him for hits).
RHP Lendy Castillo got the start for the AZL Cubs and had another fine outing, throwing four shutout innings (51 pitches - 35 strikes, 4/3 GO/FO), and allowing just two hits (both singles) and no walks with five strikeouts.
In his three rehab outings so far with the AZL Cubs, Castillo has thrown nine innings of shutout ball, allowing just five hits and one walk, with ten strikeouts.
Cubs 2012 27th round draft pick RHP Tyler Bremer (Baylor by way of UC - Davis and Yavapai JC) made his pro debut in tonight's game, throwing one inning (13 pitches - 8 strikes) and allowing a run on two hits. He didn't fool anybody (he was the pitcher who benefitted from the Soler run-saving catch).
RHP David Henrie was hit hard in his two innings of work, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits (including two doubles and an inside-the-park HR).
The inside-the-park HR resulted from Cubs CF Shawon Dunston Jr making an ill-advised diving attempt on a line drive to center leading off the top of the 6th. The ball bounded past him, and by the time LF Garrett Schlecht retrieved the ball in front of the CF Batter's Eye, Brent Peterson was crossing the plate standing up with his first career HR. (Dunston also had three singles in the game and scored a run).
LHP Nathan Dorris (Cubs 2012 17th round pick out of SIU) allowed a run (unearned) on two hits in two innings of work, but what is notable is that he threw 90% strikes (20 pitches - 18 strikes, including the first 16 pitches he threw), after struggling to throw strikes in all of his previous outings.
Peoria 1B Ryan Cuneo (on the Chiefs DL since June 4th) has started a rehab assignment with the AZL Cubs. He was the DH tonight, going 0-2 (3-1 ground out and P-4) before being replaced by a PH in the bottom of the 6th.
Cuneo was the hitting star of Minor League Camp, before suffering a back strain that kept him from beating-out Richard Jones (who has since been released) for the Opening Day 1B job at Daytona. Then once he was ready to play again, he was assigned to Peoria.
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!