Junior Lake

Lake & Castro Make the Minor League Scene, Pimentel Fires Goose-Eggs at Riverview

Carlos Pimentel tossed five shutout innings, allowing three hits and no walks while striking out nine, as the AAA Iowa Cubs throttled the Columbus Clippers (Indians AAA affiliate) 7-2 on Field #6, while on Field #3 the Akron Aeros (CLE AA affiliate) defeated the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) 5-2, in Cactus League Minor League doubleheader game action Monday afternoon at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Lake Takes the Plunge at Riverview Park

Junior Lake collected five hits (four singles and a double), stole two bases, and scored two runs, Welington Castillo reached base four times on three walks and a single, and Dustin Geiger singled twice, doubled, and drove-in four runs, in Cactus League Minor League action this afternoon at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.  

The Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affliate) hammered the Chattanooga Lookouts (Dodgers AA affiliate) 10-4 on Field #3, while the Albuquerque Isotopes (LAD AAA affiliate) edged the Iowa Cubs 4-3 on Field #6.

Lake and Castillo moved back & forth between the two fields, each working as an extra DH and taking an AB whenever the opportunity arose. Lake managed eight Plate Appearances between the two games, and Castillo had six.

Cubs #1 pitching prospect RHP C. J. Edwards got the start for Tennessee on Field #3, and he allowed one run on three hits (two singles and a double) and a walk, with five strikeouts and a 6/0 GO/FO in 3.2 IP (67 pitches).

Recently returned from the Arizona Diamondbacks (who had selected him the Major League Phase of the December 2013 Rule 5 Draft), RHRP Marcos Mateo threw a dominating 9th inning on Field #3 (two strikeouts and a broken bat 5-3 GO) to seal the victory for the Smokies. 

LHP Eric Jokisch got the start for the I-Cubs, and allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits (a single and a double) and four walks in 5.2 IP (78 pitches). He also struck out seven and induced two DP grounders along the way, using his quality off-speed stuff to keep Isoptope hitters off-balance. Albuquerque plated their two runs off Jokisch on a bases-loaded walk and a two-out RBI double.  

Carlos Pimentel "piggy-backed" with Jokisch and worked 3.1 IP, allowing two runs (both earned) on four hits (three singles and a triple) and two walks. He struck out four, with a 2/4 GO/FO.  

Kris Bryant went 0-3 for Tennessee, striking out (swinging) his first two times up, and then popping out to the first-baseman in foul territory in his final AB.  

Arismendy Alcantara played SS and batted 3rd for Iowa, and he struck out all three times up, first two times swinging, and last time looking. 

Though assigned to the Tennessee squad, Dan Vogelbach was the Iowa DH, and he went 0-3 in the game, grounding into a 4-6-3 DP and then striking out twice (both times swinging). 

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

Cubs Outlast Angels at Fitch Park

Yasiel Balaguert doubled twice, singled twice, walked, drove-in two runs, and scored three more, Junior Lake stroked a double and an RBI single, walked, and scored two runs, Rony Rodriguez singled twice, doubled, knocked-in three runs, and scored another, and Xavier Batista belted an RBI triple and a single and scored a run, helping the Cubs defeat the Angels 10-8 in Cactus League Extended Spriung Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #4 in Mesa, AZ.  

RHP Trey Lang (Cubs 2012 6th round draft pick) got the start and had another rough outing, allowing six runs (all earned) on six hits (three singles, two doubles, and a triple), two walks, and an HBP, plus three wild pitches, in 4.1 IP (72 pitches). He did strike out five (all five swinging), but he was bouncing his breaking ball and had difficulty throwing his fastball for strikes.

In EXST Cubs roster news, catcher Neftali Rosario (Cubs 2011 6th round draft pick) has been moved up to Kane County. It's probably just a temporary thing, however, because Rosario was hitting just 091/167/136 in 11 EXST games (24 PA), and had missed some time with an ankle injury. Rosario was doubtful to even make the Boise roster, much less a permanent promotion to KC.  

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


Cubs and Angels Tie One On at Diablo Park

Xavier Batista blasted his fourth home run in four games (a solo shot in the top of the 6th that put him into a tie for the team-lead in HR with Jeffrey Baez), Jose Morales hammered an RBI triple, scored a run, and drew a walk, and Carlos Penalver doubled, walked, and scored two runs, as the Cubs and Angels played to a 6-6 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Diablo Park Field #6 in Tempe, AZ.   

Junior Lake played six innings at 3B and batted six times, going 1-6. He drove-in a run with an RBI 5-3 GO in the 1st, reached base on an RBI infield single, stole a base, and scored a run in the 2nd, struck out swinging in the 3rd, reached base on a 5-4 FC and stole a base in the 5th, was called out on strikes in the 6th, and struck out swinging in the 7th. 

In five Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (26 PA), Lake is hitting 409/500/682 with six doubles, seven runs scored, three RBI, 3/6 BB/K, and 3 SB (1 CS). He has played three of the five EXST games at 3B and two in CF, and he has not commited an error at either position.   

RHP Paul Blackburn got the start for the Cubs and was roughed-up in the bottom of the 1st inning, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits (four singles and a triple).  Bit then he got into a groove and retired nine in a row. 

RHP Armando Rivero relieved Blackburn and was hit hard, allowing three runs on five hits (four singles and a triple) in 1.2 IP. He struck out three (all three swinging).  

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

Diamondbacks Rally Twice to Thwart Cubs at Talking Stick

Junior Lake doubled, walked and scored two runs, Jose Morales singled twice, walked, and scored two runs, and Carlos Penalver stroked a two-run double and a single and scored a run, but one squad of Diamondbacks ralliied to score four runs with two outs in the bottom of the 9th to tie one squad of Cubs 7-7 on Quail Field, and RHP Alexander Santana retired the first nine men he faced, Francisco Sanchez singled twice, knocked-in a run, and scored another, and Mark Malave singled twice and walked, but the other squad of D'backs rallied to score one run in the 7th to tie the game and three more in the 8th to take the lead, defeating the Cubs 5-2 on Whirlwind Field, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training doubleheader played this morning at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.

Junior Lake (fractured rib cage rehab) played CF for six innings and batted four times (once every-other inning), going 1-3. He bounced out 5-3 in the 1st inning, drew a walk and scored a run on the Carlos Penalver RBI double in the 3rd, belted a double (his 6th two-bagger in his last three games) into the left-centerield alley with two outs in the 5th, and bounced into a 5-2 FC with a runner at 3rd base and one out in the top of the 7th, before scoring on a Yasiel Balaguert RBI triple. 

In EXST Cubs roster news, C-1B-3B Steve Clevenger has completed the Extended Spring Training portion of his rehab, and has been moved-up to AAA Iowa.

Clevenger was placed on the Cubs MLB 60-day DL with a strained oblique on April 14th, and will not be eligible to be reinstated until June 13th.  

In eight Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (34 PA), Clevenger hit 355/412/516, with five doubles and seven RBI, and 3/2 BB/K.  

Here are the abridged box scores from today's games (Cubs players only):

Cubs Batter Rockies at Fitch Park

Junior Lake doubled twice, singled, walked, stole a base, and scored three runs, Jeffrey Baez doubled twice, scored twice, and knocked-in a run, Shawon Dunston Jr belted a two-run triple, singled, stole a base, and scored two runs, Brad Zapenas drove-in three runs with a double and two sacrifice flies, and Xavier Batista hammered a solo home run (his third HR in two days), as the Cubs drubbed the Rockies 13-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #4 in Mesa,AZ.

The game was pre-planned as a ten-inning affair so that more pitchers could get game work.  

Junior Lake (fractured rib cage rehab) played CF for seven innings and batted five times, going 3-4 with two doubles (both rifled off the LF fence), a line-drive single, and a walk, plus a strikeout (swinging). 

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

X-Man and Lake Drown A's at Papago Park

Xavier Batista walloped two two-run home runs, Junior Lake belted three doubles, scored twice, and drove-in a run, and Steve Clevenger stroked a two-run double, leading the Cubs to a 9-2 victory over the Athletics in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Papago Park Field #2 (AKA "Connie Mack Field") in Phoenix, AZ.

The game was pre-planned as an 11-inning contest, and the game was called in the middle of the 11th inning after all of the Cubs and A's pitchers who were scheduled to throw in the game got their work.

Junior Lake (rib cage fracture rehab) played third-base for six innings and batted six times, hitting once in six of the first seven innings.

He lined a double off the LF fence (near-HR) in his first AB in the top of the 1st, and then scored from second base on a Yasiel Balaguert 4-3 GO (Lake was running on the pitch, and he didn't stop when he got to third-base, putting on the "after-burners" before sliding home safely just ahead of the throw in a cloud of dust). Lake also doubled in the top of the 2nd inning, this time an RBI two-bagger off the right-centerfield fence (another near-HR). He struck out swinging on a breaking ball in the 4th, but doubled again in the top of the 5th (opposite-field line-drive sliced into the RF corner) before scoring on Clevenger's two-run double. Lake popped-out to the first-baseman and grounded into a 6-4-3 DP in his final two AB.

Steve Clevenger (strained oblique rehab) was the starting catcher for the Cubs and was the backstop for the first six innings, and then moved to DH for the rest of the game. He batted five times, and went 1-5 with the big two-run double in the top of the 5th. He also struck out swinging, grounded out to the first-baseman (unassisted), flied out to CF, and reached base on an E-6. He was thrown out trying to steal third-base after the 5th inning double, and was picked-off 1st base after reaching on the E-6. He twisted his ankle on the pick-off and limped off the field after being tagged out by the A's first-baseman.

X. Batista came into the game hitting 182/262/255 with no home runs and just one RBI and 19 strikeouts in 22 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (61 PA), so hitting a couple of two-run HR in one game probably felt pretty good. 

2012 6th round draft pick RHP Trey Lang was the Cubs starting pitcher and worked 3.2 IP, allowing two runs (one earned) on just one hit (a 4th inning single) with five strikeouts (all five swinging). But he also walked five, hit a batter, and threw two wild pitches, and needed 75 pitches (only 36 strikes) to get the 11 outs (including a 28-pitch 4th inning that he could not even finish). Lang will likely be one of the starting pitchers at Boise, although his control issues are a big problem and have been all year.

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

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  • In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST  
    Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex 
    4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes) 
    Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)  

  • There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?

  • Heyward getting the night off.

    Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd

  • Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.

    Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.

  • It looked like the baserunner might have screened Russell some though it's still a play he should have made.

    I wasn't thrilled with the use of Rondon in that situation. In save situations opponents have a 77 OPS. In non-save situations it's a 116 OPS. We had other relievers for that spot we could have used.

  • I'm not sure if it's his normal swing but it's obvious he can hit and he's always hit for power just not HRs so if it is his normal swing there's something else going on.

    This article from spring training said he was trying to pull the ball a lot more:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/making-too-much-of-...

  • Oh, thanks. I guess I should actually look at the schedule. Yay, 3-game road trip!

  • Good call, indeed. This ought to be a good series.

  • Sorry to nit-pick -- but the games against the Nats this week are at home.

    Can't remember a worse weather-start to a season. Yuck.

  • Basically Russell booted a slam dunk DP grounder letting a run score. But he drove in the tying run in 9th. Just not their day, Rondon notwithstanding.

  • Didn't see the game, but it sounded like the Cubs gave away 2 runs with poor fielding. Bummer.

    Well, it's been a fun diet of Reds, Brewers and Braves, but now the Cubs have to play real teams in May (Pirates, Nationals, SF, Cards and Dodgers) -- hope we are all still smiling when we wake up on Memorial Day.

  • He does seem out of synch. His body seems to start forward, then his arms sort of try to catch up -- if that's his normal swing, he will never hit for power. It's an all-arms slasher swing, but the timing seems off.

    He is currently slugging .256 -- I realize the weather has been bad, but that's epically bad. Currently 92nd out of 94 qualified NL batters. Yikes.

  • Weird home stand -- 3-1, with 2 rainouts, vs. two teams that will lose 100 games. Feels oddly disappointing.

    Miserable baseball weather all week -- hopefully better weather will get the bats going. Not just walking, but actually hitting.

  • That strike call on LaSterlla was terrible

  • I was hearing some talk that John Mallee is trying to change Heyward's swing. Wonder if that is lending itself to the slow start.

  • rollercoaster loss...ugg.

    at least it wasn't a "nobody showed up" stomping.

    anytime you wanna jumpstart your season would be nice, heyward.