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
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.
it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.
It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.
Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.
That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.
I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.
Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...
These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.
No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.
a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...
it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.
soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.
he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.
j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.
so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.
im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.
That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.
9 pitches in and this game already rules.
HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).
...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.
First time I saw Herrera was yesterday. He took like 100 pitches, fouled off a ton off Lester.
Very nice young player and perfect leadoff guy.
Obviously not Phil. But he mentioned this on Wednesday.
"Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day is Saturday June 4th, so probably about 8-10 pitchers and position players presently at EXST in Mesa will be sent to the Cubs Dominican Academy (probably sometime this week) and be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2."
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