Soto Shuts Up Talking Stick at Salt River Fields
Elliot Soto belted a bases-loaded triple in the 2nd, walked in the 4th, and singled and scored in the 6th, Varonex Cuevas drilled three singles and scored two runs, Rashad Crawford drove-in three runs with a two-run single and a sacrifice fly, and Jeffrey Baez singled and tripled and scored a run, leading the Cubs to a 7-3 victory over the Rockies in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.
The 24-yeart old Soto is at Extended Spring Traning while serving a 50-game Drug of Abuse suspension received last November. While Soto is on the Restricted List and cannot play in an "official" minor league game, he is permitted ti participate in Extended Spring Training and play in EXST games. Soto is a flashy defensive whiz at SS but has struggled to hit throughout his minor league career (hitting a combined 248/311/301 in 342 career minor league games), but he brought the whippin' stick with him today. Once he has completed his suspension (after AA Tennessee has played 50 games) he will likely rejoin the Smokies.
RHP Dallas Beeler got the start for the Cubs and threw five innings (68 pitches), allowing three runs (all earned) on six hits (five singles and a triple) and a walk, while striking out two. Although he allowed six hits and only struck out two, he did induce quite a few ground balls (9/2 GO/FO, plus most of the hits he allowed were grounders, too). After he left the game Beeler threw another 15 pitches in the bullpen, so he could be close to returning to the AAA Iowa Cubs starting rotation (he has been on the I-Cubs 7-day DL since Opening Day, after missing the second half of Spring Training with a "dead arm").
Today's game was orginally scheduled as a nine-inning contest, but was cut-back to only seven innings by mutual agreement between the two teams after the Cubs arrived almost 90 minutes late for the game. The Cubs team bus was stuck in traffic on the Pima Freeway (AKA "Loop 101") for over an hour after Arizona DPS (Highway Patrol) suddenly closed the freeway as the result of a person threatening to commit suicide by jumping off a freeway overpass.
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
1. Rashad Crawford, CF: 1-3 (K, F-8 SF, F-7, 1B, 3 RBI)
2. Kevin Brown, 1B: 0-4 (4-3, K, 4-3, 4-3)
3. Jeffrey Baez, DH: 2-4 (1B, 1-3, 3B, K, R)
4a. Eloy Jimenez, RF: 0-2 (F-9, P-3)
4b. Arnaldo Calero, RF: 1-2 (1B, K, RBI)
5. Antonio Valerio, C: 0-3 (HBP, 5-3, 6-3, 6-3, R)
6. Shamil Ubiera, LF: 1-3 (1B, 5-3, L-8, R)
7. Varonex Cuevas, 3B: 3-3 (1B, 1B, 1B, 2 R)
8. Elliot Soto, SS: 2-2 (3B, BB, 1B, 2 R, 3 RBI)
9. Dalfis Ortiz, 2B: 0-3 (4-3, 4-3, K)
1. Dallas Beeler: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 PO, 9/2 GO/FO, 68 pitches (45 strikes)
2. Erick Leal: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 2 WP, 0/2 GO/FO, 29 pitches (20 strikes)
CUBS ERRORS: 2
1. 1B Kevin Brown - E-3 (overthrow at 3rd base after successful sacrifice bunt allowed runner to score from 3rd)
2. 3B Varonex Cuevas - E-5 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
CUBS OUTFIELD ASSISTS:
CF Rashad Crawford - threw out baserunner 8-4 after runner overran 2nd base on single to CF
WEATHER: Sunny & breezy with temperatures in the 90's
Chapman shouldn't be reserved anymore on 40 man.
Interesting split on Heyward according to ESPN. As a CF, his slash line .292/.363/.375/.738. At RF: .212/.204/.300/.604. 21/72 as a CF, 58/273 as a RF.
He's also been better when batting 2nd, but he had a nice start in the 6 hole, but has slumped ever since. He was heating up before the All Star break, but is only hitting .108 in the 2nd half.
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.
The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.