Giansanti a Ringer Ding-Dinger for AZL Cubs

Anthony Giansanti slugged a two-run double off the CF Batter's Eye to cap a three-run 1st inning and Ryan McNeil and three relievers combined to throw a shutout, as the AZL Cubs whitewashed the AZL Diamondbacks 3-0 in Game #1, and then Giansanti hammered a lead-off walk-off HR off the base of the scoreboard in the bottom of the 7th that gave the Cubs a 1-0 victory in Game #2, as the Cubs took both ends of a twilight-night doubleheader at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ this evening. 

Game 1 box score

Game 2 box score

The versatile multi-positional (C-1B-3B-RF-LF) Giansanti is on a rehab assignment from Peoria, after being placed on the Chiefs DL with a sprained ankle last month. He played 3B in Game #1 and 1B in Game #2 tonight, and with the depletion of the AZL Cubs roster in recent days and weeks thanks to call-ups and injuries, having Giansanti in the lineup (even if he is a "ringer") is just what the Cubs need right now.  

Two position-players from DSL Cubs #1 have also been called-up this week to provide some much-needed roster depth for the AZL Cubs, although both OF Jeffrey Baez and C Wilfredo Petit were in Mesa previously (Baez at AZ Instructs last year and at Extended Spring Training this year, and Petit at both Minor League Camp and Extended Spring Training this season). Both players were assigned to DSL Cubs #1 when the Dominican Summer League season began play in June (prior to the start of the AZL season) after spending two months at EXST.  

Iowa Cubs RHP Rafael Dolis (placed on the I-Cubs 7-day DL in July with a sprained left knee) continued his rehab in Game #1 and threw 1.1 IP (24 pitches) of shutout ball (although he did allow a single and a double), and Peoria RHP Ben Wells (sprained elbow) opted to postpone TJS in the hope that his elbow would heal with rest, and it apparently has paid-off as the prized pitching prospect returned to action tonight after missing almost three months of action. The burly right-hander threw one inning of shutout ball, and while he did walk one and struggled with his command a bit (19 pitches - 11 strikes), he also struck out the side. 

18-year old RHP Ryan McNeil (Cubs 2012 3rd round draft pick out of Nipomo HS - Nipomo, CA) got the start in Game #1 and threw four innings (58 pitches - 40 strikes), allowing no runs on five hits and no walks, with two strikeouts and a nifty pick-off at 1st base.    

RHP Jasvir Rakkar (Cubs 2012 26th round draft pick) had the most-impressive outing of the night, getting the save in Game #1 after throwing 1.2 IP of shutout ball with four punch-outs. Rakkar has not allowed a run over the course of seven innings (and five AZL appearances) so far. The 21-year old Canadian attended SUNY - Stony Brook, and pitched for the Seawolves in the College World Series prior to signing with the Cubs.   

With tonight's doubleheader sweep, the AZL Cubs extended their lead in the AZL Wild Card standings to three games over the AZL Giants with only five games left to play, although two of the five games remaining are against the Giants.  

If the Cubs can hold their lead in the AZL Wild Card standings, they will qualify for the AZL playoffs as the Wild Card team and would play their 1st round game on the road versus the team with the best record (which right now is the East Division leading AZL Athletics). The winner of that game would then play the winner of the other semi-final game (probably AZL Dodgers versus AZL Rangers) in a winner-take-all (and loser-go-home) Championship Game the next day. (The AZL doesn't mess around).  

In fact, the AZL Cubs and the Boise Hawks are the only two Cubs minor league affiliates likely to qualify for the playoffs this year, and both are in pretty good shape to do so. It's just too bad that the AZL Cubs (should they qualify) would be playing without a lot of the guys (Vogelbach, Soler, Almora, Saunders, Martin, et al) who put them in a position to qualify for the AZL playoffs in the first place. 



whatever happened to that whole...starlin castro extension thing?

did i miss something? seems like a rumor popped up, then strong rumors confirming it "after details are worked out"...then nothing.

They announced that the terms (years and $) were agreed to, but it would just take a week or two to write-up all of the rest of the language in the contract, etc. and finalize it, sign it, etc. No mystery.

Castro's agent-"but Aram got a no trade and opt out clause....."

Theo starts laughing

Al astutely points out that the Cubs must go 9-7 the rest of the way on the road to at least avoid tying the franchise mark for worst road record. For comparison's sake, they're currently 3-16 on the road since ASB.

They better hurry and find some major league pitching if they plan on avoiding that record.

How bad was Alcantara's injury? He hasn't played for a long time.

I never heard injury specifics. But Bruce Miles said he was told that Alcantara was done for the season when they promoted Baez to take his spot.

We have in our contracts with certain key management and coaching people incentives for finishing in the top one, two or three in on-base percentage. So we still focus on it. There hasn’t been a change in philosophy, there’s just been a change in execution.”

Red Sox rank 24th in majors in walks this year according to the article.

24th in walks, but 12th in OBP, FWIW.

Older scouting report on the new guy:

Scouting Report: Socolovich's fastball sits between 88-92 mph. He uses his fastball predominantly. Also occasionally mixes in a 86-87 mph slider and a low-to-mid 80s changeup. Socolovich had to have a TJ surgery early in the summer of 2005, missing the entire season. Took time to recover from surgery through 2006. Needs to sustain his fastball better. Good bullpen potential, still very raw. Demonstrates success against weaker hitters, but seriously struggled even at the Intermediate A-ball level when given a shot.

hmmm, miguel like that reminds me of a joke about tonto kowalski; ever hear it?

Had me thinking about Carlos Mencia's bit about Jessica Alba.


"Rays minor league second baseman Ryan Brett, right-hander Charles Cononie and left-hander Justin Woodall were all suspended 50 games each for failing a drug test." speed (lulz). all 3 teammates. meth and "amphetamines" (most likely adderall)

guy seated next to a babe on a plane, they chat & she mentions her fetishes for native americans & name's so & so, she says, what's yours?


Ha! Love it!

aha, now I remember.


Tonto Goldstein....But you can call me Bubba!

see above...

Anyone following the Texas / Minn happenings? Why did Diamond throw behind Hamilton's head? The announcers and everyone knew it was gonna happen. Anyone know the history / situation?

oswalt hit mauer.

diamond has good enough control to put a fastball in his back, imo...and probably the opinion of the ump who threw him out without warnings.

Aaah. Got it. Thanks!

I'm going to watch the Cubs at Coco's Outback in Amsterdam tonight at 20:00. There is a coffee shop next door. Is this heaven? No, it's Amsterdam.

I missed the final game of the Holland Series of Honkbal Hoofdklasse, Holland's top baseball league, by one day. Doh. Honkbal.

If you didn't get a "Honkbal Hoofdklasse" T-shirt I will be incredibly disappointed.

I think Dewayne Kemp is back playing over there again. He was in the Cubs system for a time a few years back.

Go to Van Gough museum at some point, see some art.

Cleanse your soul of the tragedy drama that takes place in "the ivy covered burial ground"

And, feel free to enjoy your favorite hashish at a cafe while you are there. That will also help ease your Cubs misery.

Ease my what?


I just moved back from Amsterdam earlier this year after living there for over a year. Skip the coffeeshops in Rembrantsplein it's tourist central. But if you want to stay in the area Smokey is probably the best. The Grey Area in the Jordaan area (fairly close to the Anne Frank house) is run by a few Americans and is cool but small. Barney's on Harlemerstraat (also in the Jordaan, closer to Amsterdam Centraal) is well known and they also have a restaurant (a separate place across the street) that's pretty good and they let you smoke inside. The Rookery is right off the flower market and is good too.

As to bars, Coco's is pretty decent. Some of the bars in the "Spui" area are the oldest in Amsterdam. Drink some genever. It's awful. Check out de dekderde suster in the red light district if you get a chance. It's a bar where the beer used to be brewed by nuns and is quite good (and a pretty chill place usually).

Go to the Van Gogh museum but go early or late the lines get really long, skip the Rijksmuseum (it's under construction and most of it is closed off). There's a tapas restaurant right around there called Pompa. I lived above there, ate there often, really good. And defintiely walk around Vondel Park.

Post any questions if you have any, happy to answer.

At Barney's restaurant you can smoke weed? I just watched a lady completely lose her shit at the huge intersection west of Rembrandtsplein. Arms in the air, head down, hair covering face, screaming something. Done. I went to Basjoe today, the people were irritating. Went to Katsu in de Pijp the other night, laid back. I briefly looked for Grey Area last time I was here, I'll give it a shot again. Looks like I'm going to Jordaan tomorrow. And maybe the zoo.

Yeah, it's Barneys Uptown. The coffeeshop itself is fairly well regarded. The Jordaan in general is a cool area to walk around. Depending on how experienced you are with the stuff the iceolater hash can be interesting. Or you can end up losing your sh!t like that lady you saw. The big problem with the coffeeshops in the city center is that they're crowded and pricey. The Grey Area is on Singel and Oud Leliestraat. If you see a sculpture of a huge head you're there.

The Anne Frank house is worth visiting but buy tickets in advance if you want to go. Tickets are for specific times. Otherwise you'll spend half the day in line especially in tourist season.

Warning on the Zoo - it's pricey. IIRC it's 30 euros a person. If you're in that area and head a little bit further out check out the Windmill Brewery (Brouwerij 't IJ). Really good beer but off the beaten path. It's on the 14 tram I believe.

It's a touristy area but I thought the best place to people watch was in Leidseplein. A few of the bars there are open until 4 am too. If you're into clubs there a bunch there as well.

Barney's, ftw.

Couple of beauties in the pitching boxscore for the AZ Cubs yesterday.

Dillon Maples (SP) - 1.2 IP, 0 H, 4 R, 4 BB, 1 K, 2 WP
Chad Martin (RP) - 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 WP

Bring 'em up!

4 runs on no hits?

SO Cub.

Mather batting lead off today




W. T. F. ?


claimed off waivers by Dodgers, 48 hours to make a deal.

doubtful it happens, Red Sox are gonna want some good players and Dodgers aren't going to give up too many and take on that contract.

Clearly a blocking move, to keep him away from the Giants.

Hope remains for SF to deal for Soriano!

the latest is that the deal is pretty close to happening, possibly with Beckett, Crawford and Punto involved.

Recent comments

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  • deno ended the season well even though ajax heavily cut into a lot of his chances to play. it's either him or ajax. i'm a bit partial to deno, but least ajax isn't hitting 2nd.

  • Agreed. And, with Hendricks on the mound, Cubs will probably need to score some runs to win -- why not start Soler for his bat and bring in Ajax for defense later?

    NEVER MIND....just re-read the lineup.

  • If the Cubs have the lead in the 8th, who pitches? Rodney? Travis? Yikes.

  • The Cubs had some good runs and nice winning streaks that propelled them to the playoffs. Austin Jackson wasn't part of that. I don't quite understand what it is about Jackson that they are so enamored with.

  • I think the strike zone was very inconsistent, but it's hard to blame the loss on the ump. They had chances and mistake pitches and just couldn't cash in. Lackey ran the ball inside and outside very effectively.

  • Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.

  • Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell

  • if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.

  • I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth

  • Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.

    Wtf is up w/that?!

  • Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...

  • I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.

  • Awesome stuff, Phil.

  • listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.

    That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.

  • it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
    should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?

    sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.

  • HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).  

    Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.