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+
I agree, but just wanted to point out that Hendricks didn't really have a significant difference between his first and second half like Hammel did. Instead he had alternating good and below average months last year, without much fluctuation in his peripherals except a BB-heavy August and some up-and-down in opp avg. Mostly the team just couldn't win games for him in the months he pitched well. His 16 starts in May, July, and Sep/Oct (in which he limited opponents to OPS+ of 88, 75, and 44) resulted in a 4-2 record.
I think with Hammels and Hendricks struggles the 2nd half we forget how dominate of 1st halves they had and how many games they won us as the offense was struggling. We also forget they are back of the rotation guys and we can't be expecting ace quality there.
Maybe it's just Werth & Ross I'm noticing. Weird.
CRAIG: Jose Albertos is not chunky like Fernando. He's built more like Dylan Cease. Exact same body type. And his delivery is free & easy. He's definitely not a "max effort" guy.
Hendricks after 50 MLB starts: 17-11, 3.45 ERA, 1.12 WHIP. Not bad for a #5 starter. He may be a 6-inning max guy, but, if he can keep those stats up, I will gladly take it.
Speaking of WHIP -- last year, he was tied for 11th in the NL. Tied with Hammel.
Last year's NL rank in WHIP: Arrietta 2nd, Lester 9th, Haren 10th, Hammel T11th, Hendricks T11th. Wow.
I went to a Nats game in DC two years ago while looking at colleges with my son -- it's a fun park, worth a visit if you are in the area.
I also saw the "slowness" thing -- particularly Werth, who would mosey out of RF about 5 seconds before the inning started.
It's Dusty's fault. It'll be the end of them.
Speaking of how teams "look", my take on the Nats- It's really weird, but the pace of the entire team seems slow. Slow walking to the plate, slow on the mound, even on some routine groundouts, it looked as if there wasn't a ton of hustle. Don't get me wrong, when the ball is hit to their outfielders, they get after the ball, I'm really referring to non-critical action- they mosey around. It's kind of odd. Maybe that "calm power" is part of the Nats ethos, idk.
My favorite moment of Hendricks' performance last night was the last strikeout he rung up- the cajones it took to throw a high, 86MPH fastball to Zimmerman on a 0-2 count. And he swung the bat like it was a 96MPH heater. I literally laughed out loud.
In listening to Maddon's post-game, he is interested in how these other teams "look" to him. He is assessing for today...and tomorrow. I love this guy.
One observation from last night: Joe Ross is incredibly slow. 20-30 seconds between pitches at times. Hendrix had a nice, peppy rhythm which is great to see.
I know there are plenty of purists here which I applaud, but the game just will not sustain itself unless change of pace rules come into play. Pitch clock, improve the shit-ass reviews, mound visits (there is a clock for this), batter time outs, etc.
Thanks, Phil. Albertos at 17, and having gotten a good signing bonus ($1.5, even though as Mexican prospect I think his team gets half of that?), throwing in the 90's and showing some command of a curveball sounds pretty interesting, even if that control is only for a dozen-pitch sample.
What kind of a frame does he have? Is he on the stocky and short-ish side (I'm recalling Fernando Valenzuela!), or somewhat taller? A lot of 17-year olds have projection, "when he fills out" projection. Would that apply at all for Albertos?
I definitely hang around here looking to reply to your comments as noticed by my nearly year long absence.
there's a fine line between posting something relevant, useful or at least humorous versus posting something irrelevant, useless or unfunny...actually it's rather quite a thick line and easy to see for most people not named crunch.
I certainly am digging the RISP machine Zobrist version.