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+
Everytime I recall Szcur's bne marrow donation to a stranger, it makes me smile:
If Matt is out will Kawasaki get the call-up? Or "Shane"?
"Matt Szczur will undergo an MRI on his right hamstring on Tuesday."
One of the reasons I think Maddon is a great manager -- he has changed the conversation on Baez from HR & strikeouts to great defense, versatility and an all-around good ballplayer. He rarely talks about his offense, which is the only thing anybody used to talk about with Javy. He took a lot of pressure off the kid, and he seems to have responded.
Good pitching and some nifty D tonight -- nice win.
In case you didn't see it -- it was the Little League play where the guy on first gets caught in a rundown on purpose and the guy on third tries to score. It worked.
Gotta love the Pirates pitcher intentionally hitting Zobrist, then allowing Zobrist to score on a 2-out wild pitch.
Also, glad to see Zobrist coming around with RISP after my remarks last week. Heh!
ESPN reporting heyward day-to-day with an injured wrist
ESPN game tonight, btw.
Cardinal way #48
"negligent transmission of STDs"
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Twitterverse reporting that Heyward is dealing with a sore right wrist
Cardinal way #47
See ya on parrot chat
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.