Cubs Sweep Rockies as Fife Completes Rehab

Kevonte Mitchell doubled, walked twice, and drove-in a run and Erling Moreno and two relievers combined to hurl a four-hit shutout as the Cubs blanked the Rockies 3-0 on Field #4, and Chris Pieters singled, tripled and scored a run, Alex Bautista singled twice, stole a base, scored two runs, and knocked-in another, and Eric Gonzalez smacked a solo home run, leading the Cubs to a 6-3 victory over the Rockies on Field #5, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

Alex Castellanos (ex-LAD) belted a two-run HR for the Rockies in a losing cause on Field #5. 

The game on Field #4 was called by mutual consent after seven innings of play, and the game on Field #5 was called by mutual-consent after six innings of play. 

Speedy waterbug Edgar Rondon laid-down a picture-perfect two-out squeeze-bunt hit to get the Cubs on the board in the bottom of the 2nd inning on Field #4, after practicing his bunting in pre-game BP. (I guess that's why they say "practice makes perfect"). 

Cubs outfielders Jose Gonzalez (knee or ankle injury after tripping over 1st base on two-run RBI single on Field #5) and Robert Garcia (hit on foot by pitch on Field #4) left their games with injuries. 

RHSP Stephen Fife (on AAA Iowa 7-day DL with strained oblique since 4/15) made his final EXST rehab start, working four innings (81 pitches - 69% strikes). He was not particularly effective, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits (four singles, a triple, and the Castellanos two-run bomb). He also hit a batter, threw a WP, and struck out six, with a 3/3 GO/AO. His next start will likely be for the I-Cubs next Monday or Tuesday, but don't be surprised if he gets released sooner rather later.    

RHRP Nick Sarianides made his Cubs debut, throwing a 1-2-3 inning (F-8, P-2, K). The 26-year old Sarianides was released by the Diamondbacks earlier this month after struggling to throw strikes at AA Mobile, but he led the Hi-A California League (an extreme hitters league) in both saves and strikeouts last season after being acquired by the D'backs from Tres Rivieres (Cam-Am League) in 2014. He was mentioned by Baseball America prior to last December's Rule 5 Draft as a likely candidate to get selected, although he was not. Sarianides features a 91-92 MPH fastball and a dive-bomb change-up (which is his strikeout pitch). He probably won't be at EXST very long, because he was in "game shape" when the Cubs signed him. He looked very good today.   

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only): 

Game 37 Recap: Cubs 2, Brewers 4

Brew Who?

Box Score, Play Log, Game Graphs

W - Anderson (2-5), 3 unassisteds, shifting the third baseman, the "tourniquet" stat.

L - Hendricks (2-3),  lame no-hit bids, homerless streaks.

S - Jeffress (11), what I should do more often when doing recap drafts.

Things to Take from This Game.

1.  Chase Anderson?!

Chase Anderson looked every bit as awful as his over-6 ERA suggested in the first few innings, with rockets getting hit all around the park.  None of them dropped in, though, and he threw strikes, eventually settling in to a very less-than-dominating no-hit bid.

2. One bad inning.

Other than a Lucroy solo homer, Hendricks looked sharp and efficient through the first five. But he got knocked around in the sixth, with the big damage being a gap-splitting double by Chris Carter.  Cahill came in to get eight straight outs and looked quite sharp doing it. Stuff-wise, the Cubs pitching looked better than the Brewers, most all of the night.

3.  Late firepower

With two outs in the ninth, Chase Anderson suddenly remembered he was Chase Anderson. Blame it on going with an off-brand hypnotist. Heyward did what few thought possible, and barreled up a ball for his first home run of the season, just escaping the reach of the right fielder, Santana. Bryant followed with a no-doubter to left, but Jeffress then came on to K Rizzo and end the game. Those of us who stuck around to the bitter end appreciated this modest moment of drama in an otherwise stupid game.

Paredes Saves the Day at Riverview

Isaac Paredes rifled a two-run single into LF with two outs in the bottom of the 9th as the Cubs rallied to tie the Diamondbacks 2-2 on Field #4, and LHSP Jose Paulino and four relievers combined to toss a two-hit shutout as the Cubs blanked the D'backs 2-0 on Field #5, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

The 17-year old Paredes (2015 IFA - Mexico - $800K bonus) is hitting 306/390/583 (7% BB-rate / 10% K-rate) in 13 games (41 PA), and leads the EXST Cubs in RBI with 14 (in just 13 games) and is second in HR with two (Jose Paniagua has four). He has made one error (it was a fielding error) in 13 games played at SS.  

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):  

Cease to Exist - Submission is a Gift

Sam Koenig lofted a two-run double over the centerfielder's head with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, as the Angels rallied to tie the Cubs 2-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe, AZ. 

Kevonte Mitchell tripled, walked, and scored a run for the Cubs.  

RHSP Dylan Cease got the start for the Cubs and was dominating, easily retiring the first eleven Angels he faced (K, 3-U, K, 5-3, K, 3-U, 1-3, 4-3, K, K, 3-U) and firing four innings of one-hit shutout ball (the one hit being a ground single to CF with two outs in the bottom of the 4th). He issued no walks, struck out five, and posted a 7/0 GO/AO (seven weak-contact GO). None of the Angel batters hit the ball in the air against him. 

Cease's fastball sat consistenly at 98-99 MPH from the gitgo, and he threw his 79-81 MPH curve for strikes time-after-time, mixing it effectively with his heater. He also threw one or two change-ups.

Cease threw 64% strikes (the highest percentage of strikes thrown in a game by Cease so far in his pro career - minimum 30 pitches), and not only did he not walk anyone, he went to three balls on only three of the 13 batters he faced. (I've actually seen Cease outings where he went to three balls on every batter he faced). 

Today's outing may have been the most-dominating performance of Cease's pro career, rivaling his eye-popping ("Is that Arrieta?") outing versus the Brewers a couple of weeks ago.  

Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):  

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  • Cards still haven't been punished for hacking, "unlikely" to happen before June draft. http://bit.ly/1U8sEYL

    CubbyBlue 35 min 46 sec ago view
  • i'd settle for him knocking it out the park...not settle, prefer...yeah.

    crunch 1 hour 54 min ago view
  • I'm sure she'll knock it out of the park.

    Old and Blue 5 hours 8 min ago view
  • Nice article on Willson Contreras in the DesMoines Register

    http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/sports/base...

    Cubster 5 hours 29 min ago view
  • Julianna Zobrist will sing national anthem (Memorial Day) at Wrigley today.

    Tribune interviews her...

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs...

    Cubster 5 hours 33 min ago view
  • Any word on Neil Ramirez?? Today is his 10th day where they have had to have done something with him, or are they not count today because it is a holiday??

    cubbies.4ever 7 hours 19 min ago view
  • if they dont win at least 130 games this season they can pack it all up, turn wrigley into a concert venue, and move the damn team to san jose.

    #Bernie130orBust

    crunch 16 hours 51 min ago view
  • I see where catcher Cael Brockmeyer was promoted to Tennessee a couple of days ago, to fill a roster spot vacated by David Freitas, recently promoted to Iowa. Caratini is the other catcher at Tennessee.

    VirginiaPhil 16 hours 54 min ago view
  • They've already clinched a minimum winning percentage of .607 for the month, and that's only if they lose the last 2 games. If they win both, they can push that up to .679. So much for "stumbling" in May. When you're winning over 60% of your games, you're doing baseball well.

    John Beasley 18 hours 8 min ago view
  • If the best walk-off hit possible is a solo home run in a zero-zero game--Eloy did it tonight!

    (But maybe it's a grand slam when your team is down three? He didn't do that.)

    Number eight for Jimenez. His team is 31-17. Yesterday they scored 17 runs against Lansing. Two weeks ago it was 15 runs against the same team. This is a nice team, South Bend. The Cubs must have had a good draft last year.

    Tonight the pitchers were Sands, Brooks and Effross.

    VirginiaPhil 18 hours 15 min ago view
  • RIP Zoobrest.

    crunch 19 hours 49 min ago view
  • He'll be fine. He's not some wimpy young pup.

    Old and Blue 20 hours 19 min ago view
  • In all seriousness the Cubs have the fewest amount of games played in the NL which means they're gonna be facing quite the grind later on including 24 games in a row at the end of June and beginning of July so I hope he does get a few days off.

    johann 22 hours 15 min ago view
  • Meh. He only got one hit today. Maybe give him a rest?

    Old and Blue 22 hours 50 min ago view
  • 34-14...awww yeah.

    crunch 23 hours 47 min ago view
  • Good thing the Cubs have five left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties [edit - doesn't seem to faze Bryant!]

    Eric S 1 day 1 hour ago view