Cubs Fire Blanks to Celebrate Memorial Day at Talking Stick

Danny Lockhart tripled, singled twice, and drove-in two runs, Jacob Rogers singled twice, walked, and knocked-in two runs, and four pitchers combined to toss a three-hit shutout, as the Cubs whitewashed the Rockies 7-0 in Memorial Day Extended Spring Training action this morning at Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort, east of Scottsdale, AZ. 

25-year old Cuban RHP Armando Rivero ($3.1M signing bonus in March) started the game for the Cubs and threw one shutout inning, surrendering one walk while striking out one. Rivero was consistently working at 94-95 MPH with his fastball, mixing it with a hard-breaking splitter and an occasional slider. Although he only struck out one, he got seven swings & misses among his 19 pitches. Rivero was the closer for Industriales in Serie Nacional (the Cuban Major League) prior to defecting, and so I wouldn't be surprised to see him move quickly through the system once he leaves EXST. He has late-inning shut-down type stuff.

RHP James Pugliese followed Rivero to the mound and tossed four innings of one-hit shutout ball (51 pitches- 38 strikes). He retired the first eight men he faced, and allowed his one hit (a single) with two outs in his fourth inning of work. He also walked one and struck out three. 

Though he may not have the ceiling of a Dillon Maples or a Duane Underwood, Pugliese has been the best Cub pitcher so far at EXST (1.86 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, .155 OppBA, 9/25 BB/K, and a team-leading 70% strikes in a team-leading 29.0 IP). He will very likely join Duane Underwood, Paul Blackburn, Trey Lang, and a 5th starter TBD to form the Boise starting rotation. (RHPs Ryan McNeil and Josh Conway would have been candidates for the Hawks rotation, but both suffered season-ending elbow injuries during the course of Extended Spring Training).

It's possible that a pitcher presently at Kane County (perhaps someone like Brian Smith or Ian Dickson) could be moved down to Boise next month to get regular work as a starter, or one of the pitchers currently projected to make-up the "Big Four" at AZL Cubs (Erick Leal, Alexander Santana, Daury Torrez, or Carlos Rodriguez) could possibly yet capture the 5th rotation slot at Boise. (The AZL Cubs only need four starting pitchers, because AZL teams get every fifth day off). RHRP Loiger Padron has also recently been stretched-out as a starter at EXST in case he is needed to start or to "piggy-back" at Boise.

RHP Daury Torrez followed Pugliese to the hill and hurled three shutout innings (needing only 31 pitches to do so), allowing two harmless singles. He struck out one and did not issue any walks. Torrez is a strike-throwing machine.

LHRP Hunter Ackerman then threw an 11-pitch 1-2-3 9th (4-3, 1-3, 4-3) to wrap things up neatly.

Steve Clevenger (strained oblique rehab) saw his first EXST game action at catcher, working as the Cub backstop for the first five innings (catching Rivero and Pugliese). He also batted five times. once each in the top of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th innings. He went 1-5, with an opposite-field RBI double into the LF corner in the top of the 3rd. (He later would score on the Danny Lockhart triple). Clevenger also grounded out 4-3 and popped out to the third-baseman in foul territory, and he was called out on strikes in his final final two Plate Appearances (and was none too pleased either time).  

In EXST Cubs roster news, catcher Lance Rymel has been promoted to Tennessee, and 3B Luis Acosta, OF Roberto Caro, and SS Frandy de la Rosa have been sent back to the Cubs Dominican Academy. (The DSL Cubs begin play this Friday).

The 23-year old Rymel was the Cubs 2012 28th round pick out of Rogers State U. He hit 226/353/321 in 16 EXST games (37 PA), throwing out 10-21 runners attempting to steal (48% CS), plus one PO.  

Here is the abridged box score from today's game:




CUBS LINEUP:
X. Steve Clevenger, C: 1-5 (4-3, 2B, P-5, K, K, R, RBI)
NOTE: Clevenger batted five times, hitting third in the top of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th innings
1a. Kevin Encarnacion, CF: 1-3 (2B, K, 1-3, R)
1b. Justin Marra, C: 0-2 (4-3, K, RBI)
2. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 3-5 (P-6, 3B, 1B, 1B, 1-3, 2 RBI)
3. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 2-4 (4-3, L-4 DP, 1B+E6, 1B, BB, 2 RBI)
4a. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 0-2 (HBP, K, F-9)
4b. Mark Malave, 3B: 0-1 (K)
5. Xavier Batista, RF: 1-3 (1-3, BB, 2B, F-7, R)
6a. Trevor Gretzky, DH: 1-3 (K, 6-U FC, 1B, RBI)
6b. Rony Rodriguez, PH: 1-1 (1B)
7a. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 0-2 (K, K)
7b. Garrett Schlecht, LF: 2-2 (1B, 2B, R)
8a. Carlos Penalver, SS: 0-1 (BB, 4-3, R)
8b. Rashad Crawford, CF: 0-1 (BB, 1-3, R)
9a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TWO TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
9b. Francisco Sanchez, SS: 0-2 (5-2 FC, 5-3, R)

CUBS PITCHERS:
1. Armando Rivero: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 19 pitches (12 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
2. James Pugliese: 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 51 pitches (38 strikes), 5/4 GO/FO
3. Daury Torrez: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 31 pitches (21 strikes), 3/5 GO/FO
4. Hunter Ackerman: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 11 pitches (7 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO

CUBS ERRORS: NONE

CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Steve Clevenger: 1 PB

CUBS OUTFIELD ASSISTS:
RF Xavier Batista - runner thrown out 9-5 trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on a single
LF Garrett Schlecht - runner on 1st base doubled-off 7-3 on L-7 line drive out 

ATTENDANCE: 13

WEATHER: Overcast with temperatures in the 80's  

Comments

Did Rivero have some type of injury? It seems like he has been at Fitch for a long period. How close to major league ready is he?

HAGSAG: Rivero wasn't injured, but he was brought along slowly because he hadn't pitched since 2011. He could be big league ready right now (as far as his stuff is concerned), but he will still need to get some innings at AA and/or AAA to build up his endurance and get into a "late-inning" routine.   

borbon leading off vs a lefty?

alright, then.

i guess it's "speed leads" tonight no matter what.

borbon 2r HR...lulz...

Alex Burnett?

...are Harvey Korman or Tim Conway next?

hawk and stone on WGN...a double dose of torture.

And in hell, there is no mute button on the remote.

i look forward to a night of hawk expressing huge amounts of biased joy/hatred...and stone micromanaging/advising a dozen players on how to be all-star awesome as opposed to what they are with blindingly obvious and condescending comments.

soriano just bounced a single off the LF/CF wall...how about running rather than watching the ball, guy?

19-30 record...watching the ball...turning doubles into singles...awesome.

"No hustle either, skip."

Lolly gagging

3 innings down in 45 minutes and a cubs lead...swank.

ROB G: I am getting the "Gray Page" too when index page loads fwiw. All browsers...

2nd complete game, 1st shutout for ninja.

Cubs lead this years tallest midget contest

Saw Albert Almora on Saturday in a doubleheader. The Kane County Cougars swept the Beloit Snappers in Geneva 4-3 (Almora scored the winning walk-off run in the bottom of the 7th) and 7-4. Rock Shoulders hit two home runs in the second game, but the hitting star was Almora. He was 4-7 (with 2 doubles) on the day (reaching base 6 times in 8 plate appearances, one on a HBP and one on a throwing error on a ball hit to 3rd), plus throwing out a runner at the plate tagging from 3rd after making a diving catch on a fly out to right center field. He showed an uncanny ability to put the bat on the ball, adjust to off-speed pitches and generate line drives. He only swung and missed at one pitch total in his 8 plate appearances, making contact with good timing on everything else that he swung at. Nobody fooled him or overpowered him, even on a pitch-to-pitch basis. Looked like a man playing with the boys, even though at 19 he is probably younger than everyone else out there, his birthday being in mid-April.

I also thought the error should have been score a hit and an error (allowing him to reach 2nd base). The play at first looked like it would have been very close if the throw hadn't been launched over the 1st baseman's head. No problems with his hustle (or speed) at all.

AZ Phil, did Almora appear to you to have an unusually good ability to get the bat on the ball? I was stunned by how well he handled everything thrown at him by the four pitchers he faced.

Thanks for that scouting report. Sounds very promising. As I always say whenever there's even a hint of potential: "Bring him up!"

JOE P: I would say Roni Torreyes and Albert Almora are probably 1-2 in the system for getting bat on ball. 

for those worried about such things as video scoreboards and advertising signage, good post on them mocking up Wrigley today at Bleacher Nation

http://www.bleachernation.com/2013/05/28/obsessive-wrigley-renovation-wa...

I seemed to have found the offending post when it came to causing everything to go gray, haven't figured out the right sidebar yet.


Recent comments are on the left for the time being.

A sigh of relief...they are saying it's more hamstring cramp than pull (muscle strain).

per the Kane County Chronicle:

Rickles opened the frame with a line drive that was misjudged by Albert Almora in center field. Almora initially broke in on the ball, then stumbled trying to reverse directions and go back. Rickles wound up with a triple and Almora left the game at the end of the half inning with what Johnson described as a strain in his left hamstring.

“He’s got a little tight hammy,” Johnson said. “A real high tweak if you will. He didn’t really pull it.”

Johnson said the Cougars would see how Almora felt today when the team opens a short, three-day road trip to the Quad Cities, but suggested the Cubs’ 2012 first-round draft choice might take a day or two off.

http://www.kcchronicle.com/2013/05/28/cougars-surp...

and per an AA tweet:

No worries! Ill be back in a day or 2!! Good win boys!!!

https://twitter.com/albertalmora/status/3391250086...

Arizona Phil gets mentioned at Bleacher Nation, including a link to his TCR article

http://www.bleachernation.com/2013/05/28/a-handful...

Recent comments

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  • four winds field is awesome. it's crazy how minor league parks have "grown up" since the 80s/90s and that park was one of the late-80s models that showed a low-capacity ballpark could look like you're at something other than a highschool baseball game.

    crunch 1 hour 2 min ago view
  • On another topic....I returned to South Bend last night for the 2nd time this season (still haven't tried either the deep-fried mac & cheese sandwich nor "The Porknado", as the drive home is over an hour and that could get ugly), and was pleasantly surprised to find D. Underwood pitching in a rehab start. He looked good -- although, to be fair, these are low-A hitters -- fastball consistently at 94-95 (if the SB scoreboard is to be believed -- several pitches were clocked in the 30s...) and with good location.

    billybucks 2 hours 10 min ago view
  • he gains nothing, no advantage, no saving of resources, nothing...there is not a cost/benefit tradeoff...him letting the running game go on around him for others to control isn't gaining him an advantage elsewhere. it's putting him at a disadvantage even if it's not cashed in with a run.

    crunch 4 hours 50 min ago view
  • And out of respect for the rest of TCR, I'm done on this. I'm sure I'm not the only one in the other camp, but time to let it go. (Until the next Lester start. I kid.)

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 4 hours 53 min ago view
  • He is putting himself at a disadvanage. But how much of one relative to the rest of his game? He's not Justin Germano -- he's inarguably one of the best SPs in baseball, issue or not. It would be more of thing to discuss ad nauseum if it constantly caused him to give up runs and lose games. But it doesn't.

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 5 hours 3 min ago view
  • shouting down my points about lester with "well, it didn't hurt" is like saying it doesn't matter if a guy starts out walking 3 guys every inning as long it's followed by a K and a double play.

    it's like elevating ERA and wins to a high level while ignoring what it took to get there.

    crunch 5 hours 9 min ago view
  • I'm asking how much it has hurt Lester and the Cubs this year. Do you have that answer?

    I legitimately don't recall you answering that quesion, apart from the condescending silliness you just posted. So if you did answer specifically about the impact of Lester's issue, I'd like to re-read it. Thanks.

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 5 hours 22 min ago view
  • if runner = on base and pitcher = j.lester then lead = large

    if lead = large then probability of extra base on following hit > average of mean

    okay, enough of that silliness...

    ...you can read more on the thread i copy/pasted this from the last time you decided you needed to talk to me about me.

    crunch 5 hours 29 min ago view
  • Thank you for your answer.

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 5 hours 32 min ago view
  • bless your heart.

    crunch 5 hours 33 min ago view
  • I don't recall you answering my question about quantifying how it has hurt Lester and the Cubs this season, apart from one guy scoring on a sac fly. Can you direct me to your answer? Thanks.

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 5 hours 38 min ago view
  • Lester's personal catcher has an .809 OPS.

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 5 hours 41 min ago view
  • we already has this asinine discussion. you didn't like the answer. there's already an answer above you can apply about how a guy goes from 1st base to home on a sac fly that included him stealing 3rd while lester watched from the mound. the fact that the cubs bats, 100% independent of that situation, scored some runs invalidates it as an issue to you. i find that stupid. we will not get anywhere with this. you know we will not get anywhere with this...because we already had this asinine discussion.

    #circularlogic

    crunch 5 hours 42 min ago view
  • it's not about SB...it never was.

    jake arrieta being slow to the plate isn't comparable to jon lester not throwing to any base. how the runners read off arrieta isn't anything similar to what a runner is reading off lester.

    maybe arrieta could use a personal catcher solely to control his running game...but i doubt it's that important.

    crunch 5 hours 46 min ago view
  • Can you quantify how this has hurt Lester/the Cubs this season?

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 5 hours 46 min ago view
  • Is WISCGRAD still around? Here's a project for him or anyone else who would be interested...

    Lester's allowed 22 SBs. How many of those have scored and how many games did the Cubs lose due to them?

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 5 hours 53 min ago view