AZL Cubs

AZL Cubs End Season with 24-Hour Marathon

The AZL Mariners took advantage of eight walks, one HBP, and four errors, to sail past the AZL Cubs 3-1 in Arizona League semi-final round playoff action at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ, a game that began Monday night and finished 24 hours later on Tuesday night.    

With the loss, the AZL Cubs are eliminated from the AZL playoffs.

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Bryan Hudson Makes Pro Debut at Sloan Park

Tyler Brown singled, doubled, tripled, and scored a run, and Byron Murray belted a solo home run with one-out in the top of the 8th inning to break a 2-2 tie, as the AZL Giants edged the AZL Cubs 3-2 in Arizona League action Thursday night at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ.  

P. J. Higgins (who collected two singles, a double, and a triple Wednesday night) clubbed a two-run HR in his first AB Thursday night to account for both AZL Cubs runs.

Spingola Bat Speaks Loud & Clear in Pro Debut at Sloan Park

Daniel Spingola belted an opposite-field RBI double into the LF corner (first pro hit) to give the Cubs the lead and next batter 18-year old Andruw Monasterio followed with a towering two-run home run off the LF foul pole (first pro HR) to highlight a four-run 7th, as the AZL Cubs rallied to overwhelm the AZL Rangers 11-5 in Arizona League action Tuesday night at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ.

Garcia Delivers Message to Friars at Sloan Park

Robert Garcia belted a bases-loaded triple over the centerfielder's head to key a four-run 4th, singled twice, stole a base, and scored two runs, D. J. Wilson singled twice, stole a base, scored a run, and drove-in another with a sacrifice fly, and Dylan Cease and six other pitchers combined to hurl a shutout, as the AZL Cubs blanked the AZL Padres 6-0 in Arizona League action Monday night at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ.  

The Cubs ran amok on the Padre battery, stealing six bases (three by Roberto Caro) with no CS.  

International Recruits Watch AZL Cubs Whitewash A's at Fitch Park

D. J. Wilson drilled an RBI triple, walked, stole a base, and scored two runs, Roberto Caro ripped a triple and an RBI single and scored a run, Robert Garcia collected three hits, stole a base, scored a run, and drove-in another, Carlos Sepulveda singled twice, walked, and collected two RBI, and Eric Jokisch and Austyn Willis combined to toss a shutout, as the AZL Cubs blanked the AZL Athletics 6-0 in Arizona League action Saturday night on Field #4 at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Dodger First-baseman Performs "A Salute to Bill Buckner" at Sloan Park

Pinch-runner Roberto Caro scampered home from second base with the game-winning run on an E-3 (ground ball scooted through first-baseman's legs in classic Bill Buckner fashion) with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, as the AZL Cubs edged the AZL Dodgers 2-1 in Arizona League action Wednesday night at Sloan Park In Mesa, AZ. 

Gift of Five Giant Errors Much Appreciated by AZL Cubs

Michael Foster belted an opposite-field line-drive RBI triple into the RF corner and Carlos Jimenez drilled a line-drive RBI single to center to highlight a two-run 4th, and Carlos Sepulveda rifled an RBI single through the box and into CF (his third hit of the game) to cap a three-run 6th, helping the AZL Cubs to a 5-1 victory over the AZL Giants in Arizona League action Monday night at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. . 

Higgins, Willis, and Dwyer Recipe for Success for AZL Cubs

P. J. Higgins (Cubs 2015 12th round draft pick - Old Dominion U.) drilled three singles, drove-in two runs, stole a base, and scored twice, leading the AZL Cubs to a 7-3 victory over the AZL Giants in Arizona League action Sunday night at Indian School Park Field #2 in Scottsdale, AZ.

AZL Cubs Check Out Small Ball Book at Sloan Park

Varonex Cuevas reached base four times (three singles and a walk), stole two bases, and scored a run, leading the AZL Cubs to a 4-2 victory over the AZL Angels in Arizona League action Thursday night at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

The Cubs did most of their damage in the bottom of the 6th inning, using "small ball" to plate three runs and take a 4-1 lead.

Jose Paniagua led-off the inning by drawing a rare (for him) walk, and advanced to 2nd base on a Varonex Cuevas bunt single. Roberto Caro laid down the first of what would be eventually two sacrifice bunts for him in the game to advance the runners to 2nd & 3rd,  and then 18-year old AZL Cubs shortstop Andruw Monasterio looped a single into short right to score Paniagua and move Cuevas up to 3rd. Monasterio and Cuevas then pulled-off a picture-perfect double steal, with Monasterio breaking for 2nd base to draw a throw (he was safe at 2nd), while Cuevas waited to break for home until he saw the throw go through to 2nd. Monasterio took off for 3rd base on the very next pitch (and he would have had 3rd base stolen easily, too), but Tyler Payne rocketed a line drive just past Monasteriio's ear into LF, as Monasterio continued around 3rd base to score the third run of the inning. Payne was then picked-off 1st base by the Angels pitcher (Payne was frozen like a deer-in-headlights two steps from 1st base, and so he took off for 2nd, but the slow-footed catcher was out by a mile).   

LHP Manny Rondon got the start for the Cubs, facing his former AZL Angels teammates for the first time. (Rondon was acquired from the Angels in a trade for catcher Rafael Lopez earlier this month). And not too surprisingly he came out firing from the gitgo, working his fastball consistently at 94 MPH (he hadn't thrown harder than 91-93 in previous ouitings) and mixing it with a hard-breaking curve. Being a bit hyped-up, Rondon did have some command problems, issuing three walks and hitting a batter, but he also struck out four while allowing only one run on four hits (all singles) in 5.0 IP. Rondon threw 85 pitches (52 strikes) over his five innings of work, the most pitches I have ever seen a non-rehabbing pitcher throw in an AZL game. 

To the best of my knowledge, Rondon is only the second pitcher acquired in a trade by the Cubs who went directly from one AZL team to the AZL Cubs during the AZL season. The last one (and the only other one I can recall) was 19-year old fireballing 6'3 280+ RHP Jose Ceda, acquired from San Diego for veteran INF Todd Walker on July 31, 2006. Ceda moved from the AZL Padres to the AZL Cubs after the trade.

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

Sloppy Defense, Mental Mistakes, Walks, and Silent Bats Doom AZL Cubs at Sloan Park

Evan Marzilli (on AAA Reno 7-day DL) singled twice, walked, stole a base and scored a run, and four pitchers combined to hurl a five-hitter, as the AZL Diamondbacks defeated the AZL Cubs 5-1 in Arizona League action Wednesday night at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

LHSP Eric Jokisch (on Iowa 7-day DL with a strained oblique) made his first game appearance in almost two months, getting the start and throwing 2.1 IP (38 pitches - 24 strikes - 4/1 GO/FO, with one GIDP). He allowed three runs (all three runs were unearned) on three hits, a walk, and two WP, but he was the victim of bad infield defense (three errors) and a fly ball that was misplayed into a double. 

RHP Dylan Cease had his worst outing of the year, getting just two outs in the 5th before being relieved. (He was scheduled to work three innings). He allowed two runs (both earned) on two hits and two walks and a WP, and could not throw strikes (28 pitches - only 11 strikes). His fastball velocity was OK (94-97 MPH), but he was unable to command his pitches (fastball or curve). Cease might need an extra bullpen side-session or two before he gets into another game.    

LF Angelo Amendolare (Cubs 2015 27th round draft pick - Jacksonville U.) had a night to forget, misplaying a routine fly ball into a double in the 3rd inning, grounding into an inning-ending 4-6-3 DP in the 7th, and getting thrown out attempting to steal 2nd base with two outs in the bottom of the 9th with his team down 5-1. (For some unknown reason, Varonex Cuevas decided to steal third-base--and he just barely made it there safely--earlier in the inning). In Amendolare's defense (at least as far as the misplayed fly ball is concerned), he was a second-baseman in college, and may not have ever played LF before this past week. 

AZL Cubs third-baseman Carlos Jimenez committed two more errors in the game (this time they were both throwing errors), for a total of four errors in two nights (his two errors Tuesday night were both fielding errors). 

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