9th Inning Rally Gains Split for Cubs at Riverview

RHSP Jen-Ho Tseng hurled three innings of perfect baseball, Kevin Cornelius laced two RBI doubles (one in the 2nd inning and another in the 8th), Eddy Julio Martinez singled and doubled and scored a run, and Gioskar Amaya drilled a bases-loaded two-run walk-off double off the LF fence in the bottom of the 9th to overcome a 4-3 deficit, as the AAA Iowa Cubs rallied to edge the Reno Aces (AAA affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks) 5-4 on Field #6, and Anfernee Grier smacked a two-run HR in the 1st inning and Marcus Wilson hammered a solo HR in the 3rd, and LHSP Alex Young hurled three innings of shutout ball, as the Jackson Generals (D'backs AA affiliate) edged the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) 4-3 on Field #5, in Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader game action Friday afternoon on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

Diamondbacks RHSP Taijuan Walker was sent to Mesa from D'backs MLB camp and got the start for Reno on Field #6, working 4.2 IP and allowing one run (earned) on three hits (a double and two singles) and a walk, with seven strikeouts and a 4/2 GO/AO. Kevin Cron belted two tape-measure home runs (a solo blast off Zach Hedges in the 5th and a two-run bomb off Preston Morrison in the 7th) to give the Aces a temporary 3-2 lead (later expanded to 4-2), before the Cubs came back with a run in the 8th on the second RBI double by Cornelius and then the two runs in the bottom of the 9th on the G. Amaya clutch two-bagger (the culmination of a magnificent ten-pitch AB).

Down 4-0 going into the 9th on Field #5, Zack Short blasted a three-run HR to pull the Smokies within a run, but the potential tying and winning runs were subsequently left-stranded. 

Tennessee pitchers allowed only three hits on Field #5, but eight walks (including six by Smokies SP Kyle Miller) and two HBP combined with the two early HR helped give the Generals just enough runs and the eventual victory.   
Because the Cubs MLB squad has split in two for the weekend (the Cubs will be playing a two-game set versus the Cleveland Indians in Las Vegas on Saturday and Sunday while the other squad remains in Mesa to face an Indians split-squad on Saturday and the Kansas City Royals on Sunday), a number of players (mostly from AAA Iowa) were called up to the MLB squad from Minor League Camp just for the weekend, and so there were also a number of temporary promotions at Minor League Camp as well. 

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games played at Riverview Park on Friday (Cubs players only):  


1. Roberto Caro, LF: 2-4 (K, 1B, 4-3, 1B, R, PO)
2a. Andruw Monasterio, SS: 0-2 (P-6, F-8)
2b. Luis Diaz, 2B: 1-2 (F-9, 1B, R)
3. Zack Short, 2B-SS: 2-4 (2B, L-9, K, HR, R, 3 RBI)
4. Jesse Hodges, 1B-3B: 1-4 (F-9, 1B, 3-1, P-3, SB)
5a. Vimael Machin, 3B: 0-2 (K, 3-1)
5b. Luis Hidalgo, 1B: 1-1 (1B)
6a. Jhonny Pereda, C: 0-2 (L-9, K)
6b. Richard Nunez, C: 0-1 (BB, 6-U FC)
7a. Chris Pieters, RF: 0-2 (4-3, 1-3)
7b. Jose A. Gonzalez, RF: 0-1 (F-8)
7c. Ramsey Romano, PH: 1-1 (2B)
8a. Kevin Zamudio, DH: 0-3 (F-7, L-8, K)
8b. Tyler Alamo, PH: 0-1 (F-8)
9. Robert Garcia, CF: 0-3 (P-3, K, 1-3)

1. Kyle Miller: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 4 R (4 ER), 6 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 2 HR, 1 GIDP, 2/2 GO/AO, 59 pitches (26 strikes)
2. Casey Bloomquist: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 3/1 GO/AO, 29 pitches (15 strikes)
3. Jake Stinnett: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 4/0 GO/AO, 23 pitches (14 strikes)
4. Elvis Diaz: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GO/AO, 11 pitches (8 strikes)
5. Wyatt Short: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GO/AO, 15 pitches (9 strikes)

3B Vimael Machin: E-5 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)

Jhonny Pereda: 0-2 CS



1a. Eddy Julio Martinez, CF: 2-3 (K, 1B, 2B, R)
1b. Jose Gutierrez, CF: 0-1 (K)
2a. Jeffrey Baez, RF: 0-2 (5-3, K)
2b. Ian Rice, C: 0-2 (5-3, L-7, RBI)
3a. P. J. Higgins, C-DH: 0-2 (K, BB, F-8)
3b. Christian Donahue, PH: 1-1 (1B, R, SB)
4a. Alexander Guerra, DH #1: 0-3 (K, K, 5-3)
4b. Tyler Payne, PH: 1-1 (1B, R)
5. Bijan Rademacher, LF: 0-3 (3-U, K, K, BB)
6. Gioskar Amaya, 2B: 1-4 (L-7, K, F-8, 2B, 2 RBI)
7a. Carlos Penalver, SS: 1-2 (1B, 5-3, R, SB)
7b. Trent Giambrone, SS: 1-1 (2B, R)
8. Kevin Cornelius, 1B: 2-3 (2B, K, 2B, 2 RBI)
9. Stephen Bruno, 3B: 0-2 (6-3, F-9, BB, CS)
10a. Tyler Pearson, DH #2: 0-1 (K)
10b. Connor Myers, RF: 0-1 (K)

1. Jen-Ho Tseng: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 3/2 GO/AO, 36 pitches (23 strikes)
2. Zach Hedges: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 2/3 GO/AO, 22 pitches (15 strikes)
3. Preston Morrison: 2.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 22 pitches (18 strikes)
4. Tommy Nance: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/0 GO/AO, 10 pitches (7 strikes)
5. Dave Berg: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 0/3 GO/AO, 6 pitches (4 strikes)

1. 3B Stephen Bruno: E-5 (errant throw to 1st base on bunt single allowed batter to advance to 2nd)
2. C Ian Rice: E-2 (errant throw to 1st base on bunt allowed batter to reach base safely)

Ian Rice: 1-1 CS, 1 E (see above)


WEATHER: Partly cloudy with temperatures in the 70's 


"Just because it's not official doesn't mean it didn't happen" 


Zack (Short) attack!

PHIL: Do you know which of the remaining NRIs have options left? Bass, Hancock, Ryan, Court, Freeman, etc.? Thanks!

K-DUB: The only 2018 Cubs Spring Training NRI who are out of minor league options are Anthony Bass, Chris Gimenez, and Michael Roth, and while Chris Bourjos has options left he cannot be optioned to the minors without his permission because he has too much MLB Service Time. Of course this only matters if the player is added to the MLB Reserve List (40-man roster).

PHIL: Thanks! I had been looking for and asking around to see who had options left. As always, you are the go to guy. Thanks for being such an available and excellent resource.

man...vogelbomb is gonna hit like 40 homers this year.

dude seems to have given up "going slim" but the weight he put back on is beefcube bulk...and he's hitting the crap out of the ball.

j.baez played 6 innings of today's early split squad game...got 3ab, 1-3 (single)...says he feels great

schwarber hit a triple and a double.  zobrist hit a homer.  eddie butler didn't do so well 3.1ip 2h 3bb 2k, 3r/er

Carrie Muskat @CarrieMuskat 15,826 at Sloan Park today for #Cubs vs Indians. 3rd largest Cactus League crowd ever

Maddon might have defined the former Grimm spot as competition. Butler showed why he is not made it as a starter, suddenly losing command, my guess he is waived as teams look to vulture a cast off for innings like TB looking for a 5th starter or inclusion as 5th starter by committee. So possible dark horse or acquired, either way I think it just keeps the seat warm until mid June. 

Eddie Butler pitched very well for the first three innings today. He worked fast, didn't nibble, and all of his pitches were working for him (he deftly mixed a 92-94 FB, an 86-89 CT/SL, and a decent slow breaking ball). But then after he walked the second batter in the top of the 4th, it's like he just fell apart. He made an errant pick-off throw to 1st base that went 15 rows into the stands, then he walked the next guy, then he paid no attention when the runners at 1st and 2nd got great jumps and pulled off a double steal, and then he issued another walk to load the bases. It was like he was two different pitchers.

So I'm not sure what this all means for Butler going forward. Obviously he is not competing for a job in the Cubs starting rotation so how he performed in his 4th inning of work today probably doesn't matter much, because he was very good for the first three innings. And since he is out of minor league options, I would think the Cubs will probably just keep him on the 25-man roster and see how he performs in a multi-inning role out of the bullpen over the first month or so and then re-evaluate his spot on the roster.

And BTW, LHRP Justin Wilson was excellent today, pitching with confidence and combining a 96-97 MPH FB and a hard slider to produce an easy 1-2-3 inning. And --  HE THREW STRIKES!

RHP Luke Farrell worked the final three innings for the Cubs (he's getting stretched-out to be a SP at Iowa), and he racked up seven strikeouts. Farrell "pitches backwards," meaning he uses his 90-91 MPH FB to set up his plus-CV and CH, and he depends on plus-command to make it work. He had plus-command today.

Thanks for game account, Phil. Wilson is a huge wildcard in the Cubs bullpen, so glad is blister is healed enough to pitch, and to pitch really well. My first instinct with Butler was to take it as a winning effort. A lot of the rotation guys, when they are getting extended, get tired and lose it when trying to stretch from 2 innings to 4 innings. So given that Butler's role will be as a 1-2 inning guy, on very rare ocassions maybe 3, I'd think the first three innings matter, and inning four who cares. But, totally letting everything get away in the 4th, by contrast, is not a good look. I think having a certain composure in messy situations is something Maddon values a lot.

It seems like a good sign that the Cubs had him start the game and wanted him to get stretched out a bit. It means they either hope he can entice another team looking for a cheap starter in a trade or that they want him to be able to play a swing/long man role. If he can get 10 solid outs with regularity, he’ll fill that role nicely.

they seem to like him better than alec mills as a pen option to break with the team this year at the very least. he seems to be a guy that (if he's good initially going in) is good for 50-60 pitches before he starts to lose effectiveness. at the very least, a guy like that could come in handy early in the season when some starters are still getting their routine down...though the cubs do have regular rest days early in the season. plus there's the whole "is montgomery pre-season trade bait or what?" issue that hasn't gotten a lot of buzz lately. maybe it's chilled out and montgomery don't mind pen work, maybe not. it seems not much has been said in weeks. it might be a different story if he was tearing things up as a starter and he's been given chances to do so this spring. *shrug*

I think Mills needs to be starting in Iowa. Butler I think has use in a 2-3 inning role, and mostly in blow outs or emergency situations if a starter gets hurt. But you don’t really need a guy with a ton of upside to be the 8th option in the pen. If he can eat innings when needed that’s great. And if something clicks this year and he looks like he could start, you’ve got a second Montgomery-type option and that opens up trade possibilities as well as provides nice depth.

The thing that concerns me about the Cubs giving up on Eddie Butler is that he fits a similar profile as Jake Arrieta circa-2013. He has above-average stuff and he has the diversity of pitches to be a starter, but he also has command problems, throws too many pitches per inning, and seems to be unable to fight back against adverse situations.

That was the knock against Arrieta when the Cubs acquired him from Baltimore. He was seen as being mentally weak and unable to handle adversity. Of course Arrieta ultimately became mentally and physically strong, but that's probably atypical. There is just no way to tell in advance if that will ever happen with Butler, so it's just a question of how long the Cubs can carry him on the roster waiting for the light to go on (presuming it ever does, which it probably won't).

Also, this is not a rebuilding situation like it was in 2013-14 where the Cubs can afford to let Butler struggle and (hopefully) eventually figure things out and - MAYBE - become another Jake Arrieta. Or - MAYBE - he will be able to harness his stuff in short burts and morph into a quality reliever (as happened with Carl Edwards Jr). 

Bottom line is, if the Cubs get a reasonable offer (like maybe a younger pitcher who is not out of minor league options), I can see the Cubs trading Butler. Meanwhile he's the 8th man in the pen. 

One hope I've got for Butler is that he's always been used in rotation, where his fastball is good but not all that fast.  (Faster maybe than the Cubs soft-toss rotation last year, but not fast relative to league.)  But a lot of guys throw harder in relief.  And sometimes when a guy is pitching more often, it's almost easier to kind of stay in sync.  Would be cool, for him and Cubs, if he emerged as a pretty decent long-relief and 6th-inning guy.  The erratic control is a concern, though.  When Grimm was getting used for 6th inning work, you never new if he'd be able to get the ball over the plate.  Maddon might like somebody with averag stuff, but who's safer to be able to throw strikes and get through the 6th inning more consistently.  

RIP ryan merritt's ERA and WHIP.

Wow.  Hannemann is putting on a power display today.  1 HR and two doubles that had home run distance -- and one of them should have been ruled a home run.  Double #1 hit high off the 30 foot high centerfield wall 433 ft. from the plate and double #2 hit the 364' sign sticking up above the wall in right center field.  It was above the blue line going along the top of the wall (they don't have a yellow line at the top of the wall, for some reason).  I think I got all of that right -- there being no replay in spring training games and the TV shot was not very zoomed in.  Len and JD discussed that it should have been ruled a HR but no one's going to argue a spring training judgement call like that.  It would have been cool for Jacob to have a three homer day, though.

it's one of the few 3-hit performances where 1HR and 2 doubles came of it and it feels like he got robbed. both of those doubles would have been homers in most parks. that one off the 364' sign was almost painful to not count as a homer.

at the end of the top 8th the stadium sound dude ended the half-inning by playing the Super Mario World "course clear" song.

vegas is ready for baseball.  they have my vote of confidence.

Q: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 8K.

More of that, please.


Q was awsome last night.

I'm pretty happy about where the starting rotation is at this point in spring training. Nobody really looks rusty or out of whack. Some of them look like they are ready to go for real right now. I hope Chatwood especially can keep his game where it is and not lose it in the couple of weeks until he gets his starts.

PHIL: Thanks for the Eddie Butler summary. With options for Simmons, Maples, et. al., still, you’re probably right about them keeping him on the 25-man.

I am interested in what you are seeing with J Heyward on a daily basis. It seems really like he just can’t hit anymore. I hate to say it, but do you think he will just be the highest-paid platoon guy now?

Btw, ETHS lost to Whitney Young in the semi’s. Close game...

E-MAN: For now Jason Heyward is the Cubs priimary RF, but I suspect Maddon will rotate Heyward-Almora-Schwarber-Happ-Zobrist throughout the season.  

Too bad about ETHS. As I'm sure you know, 2018 is the 50th anniversary of the Wildkits' last state basketball championship (that was the Bob Lackey-Farrell Jones-Walter Perrin team that had Minnie Minoso's son as the 6th man), and it sure would have been sweet to win the 4-A championship this year. But it was exciting, and at least they did come close. And the businesses at Church & Dodge survived. (There was a near-riot at that intersection in 1968 -- I know because I was there!)

PHIL: Yeah, it was too bad and the 50th anniv. has been the buzz the whole season. That intersection is a lot different than your day I am somewhat happy to say. Had they won, the students could have lined up at the hand-made pie bakery for a slice of dutch apple pie, and a latte to celebrate. Of course knowing the area, they probably would have had voracious appetites!

Ha! 1968 was the year for rioting in the Chicago area, I guess. I attended ETHS for both the 32-1, 1984 Everette Stephens led team that lost in the championship game, and the 1986 team that lost in the semi-finals against Marcus Liberty and King High School. I actually did play-by-play for that game from Assembly Hall. Those were fun times.

Wow K Dub. That is pretty neat. Marcus Liberty then went on to Lou Henson's Flyin' Illini team with Kenny Battle, Kendall Gill, and Stephen Bardo? Man - those were they days they could recruit. No more.

AZ Phil, can you give me an update on Eddy Julio Martinez? What is his 


AZ Phil, how is Eddy Julio Martinez looking this Spring? I see he is still with the Iowa group, at least for now.


Hey Hagsag . Opps.

HAGSAG: As I mentioned here last week, Eddy Julio Martinez is a definite 2018 break-out candidate. He spent an hour every morning at post-2017 Instructs working on his hitting (especially his launch angle), and then he worked on playing CF after he finished BP. So he can play all three OF slots (he has enough arm to play RF, enough range to play CF, and enough bat to play LF). His floor is an MLB 4th OF, and his ceiling would be an MLB starter. I'm not saying he is the second coming of Eloy Jimenez (because he is not), but he is a legit MLB prospect, certainly one of the Cubs Top 15 prospects.

Boy it would be great if the light goes on for him. He’s shown flashes but hasn’t been able to hit with much consistency. If he can handle CF adequately that really helps his value.

Recent comments

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  • Arizona Phil 6 hours 26 min ago (view)

    You can pretty much figure out from my AZIL game reports who the Cubs will likely target if they trade Kyle Hendricks to the Angels during the off-season (which I believe is a distinct possibility).  


  • crunch 9 hours 47 min ago (view)

    "On Wednesday, and again on Friday, manager Joe Maddon said the Angels needed to land two front-line starters or risk perpetual mediocrity. On Saturday, Mike Trout said the Angels had “a lot of money to spend” and the offseason was “going to be big.”"

    $180.3m payroll and the star player + manager softly demanding more talent.

    wait.  you can do that?

    hey d.ross and...umm...hold up...do you have to have a star player to make this kind of demand?  sigh.


  • tim815 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    Exactly. Teams realized that under-playing the rest of the season, and assessing what's currently on-hand, works. At least, better than pickung three or four spots lower on the draft board with less spending space.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    It required a good amount of luck, and the other hard part is like a third of the league are tanking now too. Last time it was basically us and Houston.


  • crunch 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    this team is very hard to watch.  i can't take this for 1-2 more years.  i hope the 2022 plan is at least hybrid-competitive (team built to compete, but trade-ready if failing mid-season).

    rebuilding on total destruction for a slew of 1st round picks for years is/was lame even if those 1st round picks was pretty much all that worked for the cubs in the theo-era drafts.


  • K Dub 2 days 8 hours ago (view)

    PHIL: Thanks for the update on Devers. Are you able to give us some more context (velocity, pitch mix, etc)? Also, was Drew Gray included in the group you compared Devers to when you said Devers was "by far" the ACL Cubs best pitching prospect? I ask because I know Gray only pitched 4 innings this season. 



  • crunch 2 days 9 hours ago (view)

    cards 15 wins a row...franchise record


  • Hagsag 2 days 21 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have no starting pitching right now with Carl in a funk.


  • Eric S 3 days 3 hours ago (view)

     Cubs were Nootbaar'ed to the tune of 12-4 in Game 2


  • Cubster 3 days 4 hours ago (view)

    With a Doubleheader loss, the Cubs are back on track for a better draft choice. Right now at 67 wins they pick #7, just ahead of KC and Minnesota who have 68-69 wins. 


  • crunch 3 days 6 hours ago (view)

    the shit sandwich that is zach davies is a 6 foot party sub.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 3 days 6 hours ago (view)

    I am celebrating the day he signs with another team this offseason. I didn't know I could hate him more than I did when he was in Milwaukee but here we are!


  • crunch 3 days 6 hours ago (view)

    wisdom can hit some bombs when he does connect..wow.

    also davies still sucks.


  • tim815 3 days 7 hours ago (view)

    McAvene is struggling against hitters in Instructs. He's not ready for the AZ Fall League. I'd expect to see Juan Gamez otr Aneuris Rosario first. Vazquez, I agree with, entirely.


  • bradsbeard 3 days 9 hours ago (view)

    On the position player side, Amaya if he's healthy. Chase Strumpf makes a lot of sense (missed some time early and late, missed all of last year). Nelson Velazquez maybe as a Rule 5 guy if they're on the fence. Cam Balego and Andy Weber are two other candidates if healthy. Luis Vazquez could also use more upper level PAs and would make sense.

    Lots of potential pitchers. Ideally Marquez but not sure they'll let him pitch this year. McAvene is probably another one. Would be awesome if Kohl Franklin could participate. 


  • First.Pitch.120 3 days 10 hours ago (view)