Pierce Johnson Wows 'em at Riverview, But A's Rally to Edge Cubs
Vicmal de la Cruz ripped a two-run double as the Athletics rallied for two runs in the top of the 7th inning and edged the Cubs 2-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.
RHP Pierce Johnson (hamstring rehab) got the start for the Cubs and threw five shutout innings (75 pitches - 48 strikes), allowing three hits (all three singles) and a walk while striking out seven. Johnson's fastball velocity was clocked as high as 97 in the 2nd inning and his killer-slider was virtually unhittable, but he did struggle to throw his change-up for strikes. Johnson retired ten A's in a row at one point over innings 1-2-3-4, striking out five of the six batters he faced in the 2nd & 3rd innings.
After he left the game, Johnson went out to the LF bullpen and threw another 15 pitches, so he's definitely stretched-out. It would appear that his rehab is complete (although it actually appeared that way last Saturday, too), but it's very possible that Johnson's move to the AA Tennessee starting rotation is related directly to Jake Arrieta completing his Minor League Rehab Assignment at Tennessee this weekend.
No question Johnson has been impressive in his two Cactus League EXST game starts, allowing just one unearned run, seven hits, and one walk in 10.0 IP, while striking out 15 and throwing 71% of his pitches for strikes.
Veteran RHSP Joel Pineiro followed Johnson to the mound (just like he did last Saturday) and worked the final four innings (66 pitches - 43 strikes), allowing two runs on three hits (two singles and a two-run double) and two walks. He only struck out two (his fastball velocity is 87-88), but once again he was able to induce lots of ground balls (7/2 GO/FO). Pineiro probably needs just one more EXST start before he'll be ready to move up to AAA Iowa (presuming the Cubs are happy with what they have seen from him).
The game was called after 7-1/2 innings because the A's ran out of pitchers, but the A's batted in the top of the 9th even though the Cubs did not bat in the bottom of the 8th or 9th innings so that Pineiro could get his scheduled work.
Prior to the game RHP Josh Conway (2013 elbow stress fracture) and RHP Hector Perez threw a two-inning "live" BP session (40 pitches thrown by each pitcher - 20 pitches thrown each "inning") on Field #5, with Jorge Soler (hamstring rehab), Ricardo Marcano, and Shamil Ubiera the three hitters. Soler was swinging freely and without any visible discomfort, although he still is not participating in outfield or baserunning drills.
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
1. Rashad Crawford, CF: 0-2 (4-3, BB, BB, K)
2. Charcer Burks, LF: 1-3 (BB, 1B, 5-4 FC, F-9, CS)
3. Justin Marra, 1B: 1-3 (2B, K, F-7)
4. Eloy Jimenez, DH: 0-3 (F-9, 5-4 FC, K)
5. Varonex Cuevas, 2B: 0-2 (BB, 5-3, K, R)
6. Gleyber Torres, SS: 1-3 (3-U, F-8, 1B)
7. Arnaldo Calero, RF: 0-2 (F-7 SF, F-9, 6-3, RBI)
8. Alberto Mineo, C: 1-2 (1B, BB, F-8)
9. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 1-3 (K, P-6, 2B)
1. Pierce Johnson: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K, 2/6 GO/FO, 75 pitches (48 strikes)
2. Joel Pineiro: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1 PO, 7/2 GO/FO, 66 pitches (43 strikes)
CUBS ERRORS: 1
SS Gleyber Torres - E-6 (two-base throwing error allowed batter to reach 2nd base safely)
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80's
Arizona Phil 1 min 33 sec ago (view)
The Cardinals have to play the doubleheader on Monday at Detroit if either the games impact who or who does not get into the playoffs or if the games will determine whether the Cards or Cubs finish 1st in the division and get home field advantage in the Wild Card series.
So the Cards go to Detroit on Monday either because they have not yet qualified for the post-season, or if the Cubs haven't clinched 1st place by the end of play on Sunday and STL still has achance to finish 1st in the Central and play at home in the Wild Card series.
Charlie 48 min 13 sec ago (view)
Maybe he should stick with it for a while.
Hagsag 4 hours 59 min ago (view)
Cardinals have two games left with Detroit, not the Cubs.
blockhead25 10 hours 40 min ago (view)
Ahh, 2 games against the Tigers, but seems to imply they'd only play those games if it will impact which teams make the playoffs. If the Cardinals win their last 2, I don't believe the other games could impact which Team makes it. Why would Detroit have any incentive to win those games? Well, hope the Cubs won one of the next 2 so it doesn't matter.
crunch 11 hours 25 min ago (view)
yeah, it may be another team. i just know they have a possible monday double header...unless i got that wrong, too.
blockhead25 11 hours 56 min ago (view)
Cubs? We played the cards the full 10 slate?
if Cards make playoffs, I would think they'd want nothing to do with having to play a double header Monday to improve playoff seeding.
crunch 12 hours 4 min ago (view)
the cubs may or may not have to play a doubleheader vs STL on monday depending on the next game or 2...i think
blockhead25 12 hours 7 min ago (view)
How did the Cubs not just clinch the division?
Aren't the Cards only scheduled for 58 games?
beat Cards can do is 31-27. Worst Cubs can do is 33-27.
crunch 12 hours 26 min ago (view)
j.baez is batting left handed...and hits a double.
CWS have a position player "pitching"
crunch 12 hours 29 min ago (view)
2nd contreras homer...no bat flip, no staring down the pitcher, quick trip around the bases, into the dugout.
crunch 12 hours 29 min ago (view)
i wish more non-AFL winter league was televised. dominican, puerto rico, etc...you can straight up showboat if you've earned it on a play without having to deal with retaliation (most of the time). bat flips, pitcher celebrations, swagger home run trots, etc...all fair game. it's you know...fun.
Craig A. 12 hours 53 min ago (view)
Plunking a guy for a bat flip only proves the pitcher has thin skin and short fingers. I'm glad Contreras scored.
Cubster 13 hours 8 min ago (view)
I goofed wrt Bluejays/Astros. They clinched a WC #2 and 8 seed but Houston has a lock on West div team 2. The Indians will be 7 seed and wild card #1, abd team #3 from the central
crunch 13 hours 9 min ago (view)
hey, guess who just got a fastball in the back.
crunch 13 hours 58 min ago (view)
that contreras bat flip, tho...
Cubster 15 hours 27 min ago (view)
Cards lose game 1 of DH w Brewers