Cubs Pitchers Punch-Out 17 Giants in 1-0 Whitewash
Five pitchers combined to throw a six-hit shutout with 17 strikeouts, as the AZL Cubs blanked the AZL Giants 1-0 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training post-season action this morning at Indian School Park Field #4 in Scottsdale, AZ.
All of the Cubs pitchers who threw today looked good, but most-especially 19-year old Dominican RHP Alexander Santana, who hurled 4.1 IP of one-hit shutout ball with seven strikeouts. He did walk a batter and uncorked two WP, but he also threw 79% strikes with a 5/1 GO/FO. Santana features a 93 MPH heater, a hard slider, and a change-up, and will join Erick Leal, Daury Torrez, and Carlos Rodriguez in the AZL Cubs starting rotation, which actually could be better than the starting staff in Boise (what with Ryan McNeil and Josh Conway lost for the season with elbow injuries).
The Cubs scored their only run today on the wings of speedy Rashad Crawford, who reached base on an E-5, stole a base, and then scored on a WP.
Tennessee Smokies OF Jae-Hoon Ha (lower-back strain) continued his rehab, serving as the DH and batting five times (once in each of the first five innings). He flied out and then grounded out twice, before roping two sharp singles in his final two AB (one an opposite field laser to RF, and the other a line-drive back through the box). He also stole a base.
Smokies 1B Justin Bour (broken wrist) also continued his rehab, playing 1B for seven innings and batting five times. He was called out on strikes in his first PA, then singled his next two times up (the first one an infield single to deep short, and the second a ground single pulled through the 3.5 hole into RF). He bounced into an inning-ending 6-4-3 DP and grounded out 4-3 in his final two AB.
Once again beefy Mark Malave played 2B, just because there was no other viable option. The two Cubs second-basemen who were at EXST (Danny Lockhart and Brad Zapenas) have been moved up (Lockhart to Boise and Zapenas to Kane County), and none of the newly-signed draft picks who can play 2B are cleared to play in games.
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only) :
AZL CUBS LINEUP:
X-1. Jae Hoon Ha, DH: 2-5 (F-9, 6-3, 5-3, 1B, 1B, SB)
NOTE: Ha batted five times, hitting 2nd in the top of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings
X-2. Justin Bour, 1B: 2-5 (K, 1B, 1B, 6-4-3 DP, 4-3)
NOTE: Bour batted five times, hitting 3rd in the top of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings
1. Jose Morales, C: 0-4: (K, K, 4-6 FC, L-3)
2. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 0-3 (6-3, 1-3, F-9)
3. Xavier Batista, RF: 0-3 (F-8, F-8, K)
4. Garrett Schlecht, LF: 0-3 (F-7, 3-U, 4-3)
5a. Jeffrey Baez, CF: 1-3 (K, 1B, 3-U)
5b. Wilfredo Petit, 1B: NO AB
6. Francisco Sanchez, SS: 0-3 (F-9, 6-4 FC, 5-3)
7. Mark Malave, 2B: 0-2 (K, BB, K)
8a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TWO TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
8b. Rashad Crawford, CF: 0-1 (E-5, R, SB)
AZL CUBS PITCHERS:
1. Starling Peralta: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R. 0 BB, 2 K, 16 pitches (12 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
2. Carlos Gutierrez: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 32 pitches (19 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO
3. Alexander Santana: 4.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K, 2 WP, 51 pitches (40 strikes), 5/1 GO/FO
4. Dayan Diaz: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 12 pitches (11 strikes)
5. Luis Villalba: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GO/FO
AZL CUBS ERRORS: 2
1. SS Francisco Sanchez - E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
2. 1B Wilfredo Petit - E-3 (missed catch on pick-off attempt at 1st base allowed baserunner to advance to 2nd)
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures 100+
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...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.
soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.
he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.
j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.
so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.
im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.
That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.
9 pitches in and this game already rules.
HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).
...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.