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+
2nd in defensive WAR, NL.
6th in NL in RBI
Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.
Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.