B-Jax, Watkins, and Rusin Lead Cubs to Victory at Fitch Park
Brett Jackson reached base three times on a single, a double, and a HBP, scored a run, and knocked in another, Logan Watkins belted a bases-clearing three-run triple to cap a six-run 5th, and Chris Rusin threw six innings of three-hit ball, leading the Iowa Cubs to a 9-6 victory over the Salt Lake Bees (Los Angeles Angels AAA affiliate) on Field #3, and despite three hits by Rubi Silva and two each by Matt Szczur and Rafael Lopez, five pitchers combined to throw a ten-hit shutout with ten strikeouts, as the Arkansas Travelers (Angels AA affiliate) blanked the Tennessee Smokies 6-0 on Field #2, in Cactus League Minor League Camp action this afternoon at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.
Getting ready for the PCL season, starting pitcher Chris Rusin was in the I-Cubs lineup and got three ABs, ripping an RBI single through the box in the 4th, and then walking and scoring in the six-run 5th. (Rusin was a DH at the U. of Kentucky on days he wasn't pitching).
"Super-sub" Jonathon Mota played seven innings at 3rd base for Tennessee on Field #2, before moving over to Field #3 and playing two innings at 2nd base for Iowa. It would appear that Mota (who can play any position on the field) might be employed as a player-coach at either Tennessee or Iowa, going on the DL and coaching 1st base when he is not needed (he had TJS in 2012, so the DL excuse will probably be shoulder-related), and then getting reinstated whenever a warm position-player body is needed.
Several players from the Boise/Mesa squad (Extended Spring Training) saw action in the later innings of the two games, including Reggie Golden, Xavier Batista, Trevor Gretzky, Garrett Schlecht, Lance Rymel, and Justin Marra.
Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):
FITCH PARK FIELD #2
1, Matt Szczur, LF-DH: 2-4 (1B, 6-4 FC, 1B, F-8)
2. Anthony Giansanti, 2B: 0-4 (K, F-8, F-9, 6-3)
3. Rubi Silva, CF: 3-4 (1B, 1B, 2B, 1-3, CS, PO)
4. Justin Bour, 1B: 0-4 (F-7, K, K, K)
5. Christian Villanueva, DH-3B: 0-4 (K, P-3, K, L-8)
6. Rafael Lopez, C: 2-4 (1B, 4-3, K, 2B)
7. Johermyn Chavez, RF: 1-4 (K, F-7, 2B, F-8)
8a. Jonathon Mota, 3B: 0-3 (K, F-7, K)
8b. Reggie Golden, LF: 0-1 (K)
9. Elliot Soto, SS: 2-3 (1B, F-9, 1B)
1. Eric Jokisch: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 4 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 7 K, 1 WP, 87 pitches (60 strikes), 4/2 GO/FO
2. A. J. Morris: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 17 pitches (12 strikes), 4/2 GO/FO
3. Jeff Lorick: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 21 pitches (11 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
4. Ryan Searle: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 19 pitches (13 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
TENNESSEE ERRORS: 3
1. C Rafael Lopez - E-2 (errant throw on stolen base attempt at 2nd base allowed runner at 3rd base to score unearned run)
2. 3B Christian Villanueva - E-5 (two-base throwing error allowed batter to reach 2nd base safely - eventually scored unearned run)
3. 3B Christian Villanueva - E-5 (fielding error allowed unearned run to score)
TENNESSEE CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Rafael Lopez: 1-3 CS, 1 E (see above)
FITCH PARK FIELD #3
1a. Logan Watkins, 2B: 1-3 (BB, 3-U, K, 3B, 2 R, 3 RBI)
1b. Jonathon Mota, PH-2B: 1-1 (1B)
2. Brett Jackson, CF: 2-4 (L-8, 1B, 2B, 5-3, HBP, R, RBI)
3. Josh Vitters, 3B: 1-5 (K, 1B, 6-3, K, K)
4. Brad Nelson, 1B: 1-3 (2B, F-8 SF, BB, K, K, R, 2 RBI)
5a. Darnell McDonald, LF: 0-1 (F-8, BB)
5b. Trevor Gretzky, PH-LF: 1-2 (2B, BB, K, R, RBI)
6a. Brian Bogusevic, RF: 1-3 (4-3, P-2, 2B, R, RBI)
6b. Garrett Schlecht, PH-DH: 0-1 (K)
6c. Justin Marra, PH: 0-1 (K)
7a. Luis Flores, C: 1-4 (F-7, 2B, F-8, 5-3, R)
7b. Lance Rymel, C: NO AB
8. Tim Torres, SS: 1-3 (3B, 4-3, BB, K, R)
9a. Chris Rusin, P-DH: 1-2 (P-6, 1B, BB, R, RBI)
9b. Xavier Batista, RF: 0-0 (HBP)
1. Chris Rusin: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 6 K, 85 pitches (55 strikes), 9/3 GO/FO
2. Esmailin Caridad: 1.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 33 pitches (19 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
3. Rafael Dolis: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 10 pitches (8 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
4. Trey McNutt: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 12 pitches (9 strikes)
IOWA ERRORS: 3
1. P Chris Rusin - E-1 (throwing error on sacrifice bunt attempt allowed batter to reach 2nd base - eventually scored unearned run)
2. 3B Josh Vitters - E-5 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)
3. P Rafael Dolis - E-1 (errant throw on pick-off attempt at 1st base allowed baserunner to advance to 2nd)
WEATHER: Mostly cloudy & breezy with temperatures in the 80's
I've been wracking my brain to work a "Room With a View" reference in there but I just haven't gotten it to work.
Bryant might be playing SS during an infield shift, no? Usually he is moved to 2B but it could happen.
I won't really be happy until I see Bryant at shortstop.
Yeah, Underwood impresses the internet scouts more than the opposing hitters. Blackburn and Williams have pitched well but they would be more interesting if they missed more bats.
Myrtle Beach has a couple of guys--Trevor Clifton and Jake Stinnett--worth keeping an eye on.
South Bend has the best record in the Midwest League but it's more about their bats than their starting pitching.
Thanks Steve, I always forget about that.
Maddon spins the wheel-o-lineups and Bryant is playing 1B.
The line-ups, by the way, appear in the Twitter box on the left and usually very soon after they are made available.
Looks like no Heyward or Rizzo in the lineup today.
HAGSAG: Kevonte Mitchell has shown some improvement in 2016. He takes a lot of walks, shows occasional power, and he's an athletic defender capable of making the big play in the OF.
However, he strikes out way too much, he doesn't always take the most-direct-route to get to balls hit into the air, and he sometimes runs himself into outs on the bases. He is still very raw.
E-MAN: I don't think Dallas Beeler has a long-term future with the Cubs, but (when healthy) he has gotten the call over the past couple of years as the "26th man" when the Cubs needed an extra starter in a doubleheader.
PHIL: Thanks for the wrap. A 2010 early-ish round Hendry draft pick, why do you surmise the new management team just doesn't cut bait on Beeler? Not shown that much as a starter. Does he have a power arm when right? Is he another Schlitter? Or, is he rosyer filler while the org waits out the lower-level arms to surpass him?
Ryan Kellogg is still a fringy prospect despite being very old for low-A. He's putting up very good numbers no matter who he's facihg.
Great article on Yosh and Nobe. Thanks for including it Trans.
Phil, it looks like Kevonte Mitchell has made some progress this Spring. Your thoughts please, thanks.
so far ryan williams (AAA) is the only system prospect on the "could be ready soon" horizon doing well...that said, he's not very exciting and he's assumed to be an end-rotation talent at best.
paul blackburn is getting great early returns in AA, but he's getting surprisingly low K numbers doing it. he throws lot of low/sinking stuff with good control...also assumed to be an end-rotation guy, but he's got room to be better, especially given his control as base to build on.
Speaking of pitching -- another ugly outing for Underwood at AA. Through 6 starts: 5.19 ERA, WHIP 1.69. Yikes!
Man, do we need starting pitching depth. Our best hopes are still hanging with AZ Phil in Arizona. Very scary.