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
They've mentioned Henry Rodriguez (2013), Chris Carpenter, and Andrew Cashner as Cubs who have gone 100+. They said Rodriguez was tops at 100.8. Who knows before 2008?
He'll play regardless of what he does, just like Soriano played for seven years before they finally ditched him.
What can they do? All I can think of is they can keep hiring and firing hitting coaches until they find one who can get him to stop hitting balls with the handle of the bat.
(All those broken bats added to his paycheck is just a bit much.)
Lester will probably be all right.
I think Arrieta might have added too much muscle preparing for that butt-naked ESPN photo shoot. Pitchers are supposed to be loose, not muscled up.
I have basically written off Heyward for this year -- if you are working on major swing changes in late July, you are going to struggle. Hopefully, he can be more productive at the plate next year. It will be interesting to see what they do with him if the Cardinals keep winning and close the gap. Heyward is dead last in the NL in slugging and in the bottom 5 in OPS -- yet still has a positive WAR. Hunh.
Has anybody in a Cub uniform ever thrown a ball 103 before?
He certainly looks better, no doubt, and is a different player than what we saw when he first came up. Full credit to him for changing his approach and saving his career.
But he has zero walks in 35AB since the break, and 10 in 251 AB all year. He does seem to be able to hit some pitches out of the zone, but, a guy with his pop should be drawing more walks. However, it's easy to forget he is still only 23, and probably trying to make an impact to prove he should be an everyday player.
The usual suspects, Molina and Wong. Gyorko drew a walk with two outs, none on. I recall us (particularly Szczur and Bryant) swinging at everything Familia threw.
Yup. Thanks Q
Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTNekUcY-XM
I for one hope that Sosa comes back soon.
O/B interesting you should mention that. Google ESPN Science Aroldis Chapman and you'll be treated to how his mechanics and delivery are possibly historic. It's the 120% of his body stretch plus the torque. They compare him to the Unit and NRyan.
Amazing how much lower the production gets when Bryant runs into a mini-cold streak. He doesn't stay cold for long. If just one of Zobrist or, gulp, Heyward, gets hot, they oughta have one more really nice winning streak in them. Having a closer that you have absolute confidence in can't hurt.
I hope they hold onto Jimenez. Outfield depth is questionable, especially with McKinney, who struggled this year but still, gone.
You don't think he's improved? He looks completely different out there than he did when he first came up. The last I checked his K rate was in the low 20% range - 22-23 or so. When he came up it was 40%+.
To me, what is scary about him if I'm the other guy is that he IS learning the strike zone. This guy could easily be the MVP someday.
So, playing .500 for the rest of the year puts them at 91 wins. You would think there is enough talent to do a little better than that, right?
First team to 60 wins! Onward to 70, 80, 90 and 100!