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.
Meh. He only got one hit today. Maybe give him a rest?
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...