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+
Pitcher batting 9th. Bryant in left, Schwarber in right.
i'm not ready for it to end.
i'm not ready for "well, they weren't supposed to make it this year..."
i'm not ready to talk about the off-season yet.
I can relate to that, E-Man. I don't think I'll enjoy watching a high-stakes away game like this on TV. I've watched a lot of games this season after they ended or at least after the Cubs got out to a decent lead. Since they usually win, I've gotten to see a lot of baseball.
But in this case I think we should probably all watch the game live, and not let the pressure exceed the pleasure.
Remember, as I told my wife when our kids went off to college -- this is a good thing! Enjoy it!
Fully agree -- can't prove it. But, the numbers are what they are, and a lot of his OF games have come in Aug & Sept, when he has been killing the ball otherwise. And, knowing how baseball players love routine, it seems logical that it could at least be a a factor.
Really, really, really hope I'm wrong on this.
Indeed! It has been absolute blast -- from getting swept by the Phillies to sweeping the Giants, I have always enjoyed being part of this group. Hope we have a lot more games to talk about this year.
Yes, cheers to me! I've noticed a fairly strong correlation between my tenure and Cubbie victories.
And thanks to Michael for our new diggs--and to y'all for sticking around!
CHEERS to CT Steve for keeping this alive in 2015. Who would have thought that the season would have been so successful to this point? Thank you CT STEVE!
I think I may be too nervous to watch the entire game. I will probably watch in bits and pieces - and constantly check MLB App. I will be like Blockhead: Nervous Nellie.
You can't prove the performance is because he played the OF. You just can't. Sorry.
BTW, Bryant hit .168 in July playing 3B exclusively.
oh man, early on it seems like he made at least 1 stupid baserunning blunder per game and almost every single one turned into a positive for the cubs. it was magical.
Not surprised about Lester but bit surprised about Hendricks. Guessing that if something happens to Arietta right away they go to Lester but if they've burned relievers and are in extra innings they go to Hendricks.
My kids' 8:30pm (ET) bed time will be waived tonight (They are Rizzo & Castro fans). We'll get geared up in our Cubs apparel and will watch this as a family. I am stoked. Go Cubs!
Bryant: Base running adventures.
Remember Bryant's home-away splits, too.
Wrigley: 21 HR, 59 RBI, .311/.408/.629
Road: 5 HR, 40 RBI, .243/.333/.360
Good Lord this season has flown by so far. I need more Cubs gifs--the four on the MLB.com article today are not enough. I need a 100 best moments of the season listicle of gifs.
Rizzo: The slide, the catch.
Russell: All the defense.
Bryant: Pelting the video board.
Soler: 125 MPH ground balls.
Schwarber: DINGERS, surprising LF catches.
Fowler: Walks, the many walks he should have had on 3-2 BS strike calls.
Baez: That 3B play.
Ross: Walk-up music? Bullpen appearance?
No evidence other than 8 hits and 0 HR in 45 AB....
I just think hitters like their routines -- think Boggs or Ted Williams -- and messing with that routine adds an element of change. I want my best hitters in their normal routines.