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.
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.
If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?
#Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.
Fun with FIP
- J. Hammel 3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
- J. Arrieta 2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
- J. Lester 2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
- K. Hendricks 2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
- J. Lackey 3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k
he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.
JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.
My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.
Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...
joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1
not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.
really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.
Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.
Classic Scully - great stuff.
Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)