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
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.
If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?
#Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.
Fun with FIP
- J. Hammel 3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
- J. Arrieta 2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
- J. Lester 2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
- K. Hendricks 2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
- J. Lackey 3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k
he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.
JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.
My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.
Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...
joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1
not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.
really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.
Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.