Is That Arrieta?
Dylan Cease fired three innings of shutout ball, Vimael Machin lined a triple off the CF Batter's Eye and scored and Alex Bautista rifled an RBI double into the LF corner to highlight a two-run 7th, and then Bautista ripped an RBI single through the box into CF and Yohan Matos followed with an RBI triple high off the LF screen (near HR) to spark a two-run 9th, as the Cubs plated five runs over the final three innings and defeated the Brewers 6-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #7 (AKA "Paul Molitor Field") at the Maryvale Baseball Park Complex in Phoenix, AZ.
Cease threw a higher percentage of strikes (62%) today than in any previous outing (he usually struggles to throw strikes, typically throwing 50-55% strikes), breaking his curve for called strikes time & again, and humming his heater consistently knee-high at 98-99 MPH (per both the Brewers & Cubs guns -- for example, 99-99-99-98-99-99-98-98-99-99-99 in the bottom of the 2nd). He even got a swing & miss on a change-up (the pitch that is his "work-in-progress").
Cease allowed four hits (three singles and a double) over his three-inning stint, but three of the hits were opposite-field grounders, and the fourth was a broken-bat humpback liner looped over the shortstop's head and into short left.
Cease was so dominating that one of the Brewer pitchers seated behind home plate asked "Is that Arrieta?" as Cease dropped his knee-bending hook to get ahead 0-2 and then blew unhittable gas past the last two Brew Crew hitters for strike-three in the bottom of the 2nd (stranding runners at 2nd & 3rd). It's unusual when the other team's pitchers are mesmerized by an EXST opponent who isn't a major league rehabber.
Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only)
1. Yonathan Perlaza, 2B: 0-3 (F-8, 4-3 DP, 6-3, BB)
2. Vimael Machin, SS: 1-3 (BB, F-8, 3B, F-7, R)
3. Wladimir Galindo, 3B: 0-2 (F-8 DP, E-9, F-9 SF, BB, 2 R, RBI, SB)
4a. Jose Paniagua, 1B: 1-2 (1B, 6-3)
4b. Alberto Mineo, 1B: 0-1 (BB, K, R)
5. Alex Bautista, CF: 2-4 (L-5 DP, F-8, 2B, 1B, R, 2 RBI)
6a. Kwang-Min Kwon, RF: 0-2 (K, 5-3)
6b. Yohan Matos, RF: 1-2 (F-8, 3B, RBI)
7a. Ricardo Marcano, LF: 0-2 (6-3, K)
7b. Jonathan Sierra, LF: 1-2 (2B, 5-3, R)
8. Rafael Mejia, DH #1: 0-2 (K, BB, K)
9a. Tyler Payne, C: 1-2 (L-8, 1B)
9b. Jhonny Pereda, C: 0-1 (K)
10. Abraham Rodriguez, DH #2: 1-3 (1B, 3-6-1 DP, E-1)
1. Dylan Cease: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 BALK, 1 PO, 1 GIDP, 3/0 GO/AO, 53 pitches (33 strikes)
2. Aaron Crow: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/AO, 8 pitches (5 strikes)
3. Jose Paulino: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 2/1 GO/AO, 31pitches (17 strikes)
4. Pedro Araujo: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 2/0 GO/AO, 15 pitches (10 strikes)
5. Alexander Santana: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 3/0 GO/AO, 13 pitches (6 strikes)
6. Tyler Peitzmeier: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 1/0 GO/AO, 6 pitches (5 strikes)
CUBS ERRORS: 1
3B Wladimir Galindo: E-5 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Jhonny Pereda: 1-2 CS
WEATHER Sunny with temperatures in the 90's