Cease Fires 99, but Not Enough Gas to Stop Giants from Pummeling Cubs

Nicol Parra reached base four times (a two-run HR, two singles, and a walk), Chase Compton belted a triple and two doubles, drove-in a run, and scored another, Byron Murray slugged a three-run home run and a triple, Richard Amion Jr drilled an RBI triple, singled, walked, and scored a run, Fernando Pujadas smashed a two-run triple, and LHSP Nik Turley hurled six innings of shutout ball, as the Giants swept a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split squad doubleheader from the Cubs this morning at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.

The Giants shutout the Cubs 6-0 in the game played on Field #6, and drubbed the Cubs 10-4 in the game played on Field #5. 

Roberto Caro singled twice, tripled, and drove-in two runs for the Cubs.

RHP Dylan Cease (2014 TJS) got the start for the Cubs on Field #6, and worked a third of an inning, walking the bases loaded around a strikeout. Cease's fastball was riding high (topping out at 99 MPH), but he had difficulty commanding it (22 pitches - only ten strikes). Otherwise, he was unhittable.

Cease was the Cubs 6th round draft pick out of Milton HS - Milton, Ga in 2014, and the Cubs selected him despite knowing that he would need a UCL elbow ligament transplant ("Tommy John surgery"). Considered one of the top high school arms in the 2014 draft class and a likely 1st round pick prior to his elbow issues, he received a $1.5M signing bonus (equivalent to "first round money") and then had the TJS last July 22nd. He has made a rapid recovery, and barring a setback, he will likely be a rotation starter for the AZL Cubs when the Arizona League season begins play next month.

In his first EXST Cactus League start start last Tuesday (16 pitches, two outs recorded, one HBP), Cease's fastball was topping out at 97 MPH, so his velocity has increased a bit over the past week. 

Prior to the Cactus League games, RHPs Jacob Turner (on Cubs MLB 60-day DL with a right flexor strain), Erling Moreno (2014 TJS), and Trey Masek (2014 shoulder surgery) threw in a three-ining "sim" game on Field #3. Turner threw one inning (15 pitches), and Moreno and Masek threw two innings a piece (30 pitches each).

OF Chris Denorfia (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL with a hamstring strain) was one of the hitters in the "sim" game. 

In EXST Cubs roster news, LHRP Daniel Schlereth and RHSP Felipe Paulino have been moved-up to AAA Iowa.

The 6'3 260+ 31-year old Paulino was orginally signed by the Houston Astros as an International free-agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2001, and he has pitched in the big leagues with Houston, Colorado, Kansas City, and the White Sox. He underwent an elbow UCL transplant (TJS) post-2012 when he was with the Royals, and then missed most of last season with a right shoulder injury while a member of the White Sox.

Paulino was signed to a minor league contract by the Cubs on May 3rd, after being released by the Boston Red Sox at the end of Spring Training. His fastball velocity has ranged from 94-96 MPH in his two Cactus League Extended Spring Training outings and one EXST intrasquad game.  

Schlereth was the 1st round pick (26th overall) of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008 out of the University of Arizona, and was part of the Max Scherzer/Curtis Granderson/Edwin Jackson/Ian Kennedy/Austin Jackson/Phil Coke three-team mega-deal in December 2009, going to the Tigers with Scherzer, Coke and A. Jackson (Granderson went to the Yankees, and E. Jackson and Kennedy ended up in Arizona).

Schlereth was signed to a minor league contract by the Cubs on April 26th, after he was released by the Detroit Tigers,

1. 5/6: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GO/FO, 22 pitches (12 strikes)  
2. 5/9: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 1/1 GO/FO, 29 pitches (20 strikes)
TOTAL: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 WP, 1/2 GO/FO, 64% strikes,  0.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, .182 OppBA

Paulino also pitched in one EXST intrasquad game:
5/14: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 2/0 GO/FO, 64 pitches (43 strikes) 
1. 5/6: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1/2 GO/FO, 15 pitches (7 strikes)
2. 5/9 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 2 K, 2 WP, 0/1 GO/FO, 26 pitches (11 strikes)
3. 5/12: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 2/0 GO/FO, 11 pitches (8 strikes)_
4. 5/15: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 22 pitvhes (15 strikes)
TOTAL: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 4 K, 2 WP, 4/3 GO/FO, 55% strikes, 6.25 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, .313 OppBA

Here are the box scores from the two Cactus League EXST games (Cubs players only):


1. Kevonte Mitchell, CF: 0-3 (F-7, 5-3, K)
2. Frandy de la Rosa, 2B: 2-3 (P-5, 1B, 1B)
3. Eloy Jimenez, LF: 1-3 (K, 5-3, 1B)
4. Jose Paniagua, 1B: 0-3 (F-9, F-8, 5-3)
5. Kevin Encarnacion, RF: 1-3 (1B, 4-3, K)
6. Adonis Paula, 3B: 1-3: (K, K, 1B+E4)
7. Jhonny Pereda, C: 0-1 (F-9, BB, HBP)
8a. Andruw Monasterio, DH: 0-1 (K)
8b. Jenner Emeterio, PH-DH: 0-1 (K)
8c. Tyler Alamo, PH: 0-1 (5-4-3 DP)
9. Carlos Jimenez, SS: 0-2 (6-3, 1-3)

1. Dylan Cease: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 1 K, 22 pitches (10 strikes)
2. Mark Malave: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 3/1 GO/FO, 58 pitches (39 strikes)
3. Dillon Maples: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 21 pitches (13 strikes)
4. Yomar Morel: 1.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 2 WP, 2/1 GO/FO, 30 pitches (19 strikes)

1B Jose Paniagua: E-3 (dropped pop fly allowing batter to reach base safely)


1. Roberto Caro, RF: 3-4 (1B, 1B, 3B, 4-3, 2 RBI, CS)
2. Robert Garcia, CF: 1-4 (F-7, 1B, 3-U, K)
3. Carlos Sepulveda, 2B: 1-4 (K, K, 2B, 1-3, CS)
4. Yohan Matos, C: 1-4 (L-5, 6-3, 3B, K, R)
5. Ricardo Marcano, LF: 1-3 (F-7, F-7, 1B+E7, RBI)
6. Varonex Cuevas, 3B: 1-3 (P-6, 1B, K, R)
7. Ho-Young Son, SS: 2-3 (1B, 2B, F-9, 2 R, SB)
8. Roney Alcala, 1B: 0-2 (3-U, F-8 SF, K, RBI)
9a. Alberto Mineo, DH: 0-0 (BB)
9b. Danny Gutierrez, PH: 0-1 (K)

1. Anthony Carter: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 15 pitches (11 strikes)
2. Santiago Rodriguez: 1.2 IP, 6 H, 6 R (6 ER), 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 1/3 GO/FO, 39 pitches (24 strikes)
3. Scott Frazier: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 10 pitches (4 strikes)
4. John Michael Knighton: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 1/2 GO/FO, 21 pitches (11 strikes)
5. Greyfer Eregua: 2.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 2/3 GO/FO, 45 pitches (28 strikes)

3B Varonex Cuevas: E-5 (throwing error on infield single allowed batter to advance to 2nd base)

WEATHER: Sunny and a bit breezy with temperatures in the 80's



Cubs call up Mike Baxter to take Beefy's spot...


awesome...an old guy who hits singles and plays LF/1st...that's just what i expected.

Valaika is hurt? Out of options? Has a running feud with Kris Bryant? Stole Szczur's / Maddonini's Villanova hoody?

in addition to m.baxter up... lake up, wada up, shitter down, coke dfa'd, d.beeler activated from DL and promptly optioned to AAA. lake/wada/baxter here...welly/shitter/coke gone.

La Stella out for month strained oblique according to Gonzo

not expected back for a month? ugg. good to have options, but still.

Castro with an absolutely horrible AB following Rizzo's leadoff double. Trying to pull everything, then a big swing and miss on an 0-2 slider that was way out of the zone and should have been expected. Then, of course, Montero hits what would have been a sac fly if Castro ever learned situational hitting (I know, Shields might have pitched him differently with Rizzo at 3rd, but still...). Talented, but still so clueless about the game.

looks lost tonite

this pen is not THIS bad...but it keeps doing stuff like THIS. also, sigh...infield errors.

baxter's first appearance is vs kimbrel...cold. really weak infield groundout...so weak that it was almost an infield hit. also, cubs lose. boo.

3 errors? Sickening. Defense wins this game for San Diego.

Well, that was a game Hammel deserved to win. That was enough to make me side with the Castro haters, at least for a day, who now have been refueled enough to keep their rants going for a few months. He has to make that play in the eighth inning. But I don't want to rekindle the Castro debate - no pun intended. It's boring. Maddon said it after the game better than I can. Good teams don't lose those kind of games. I don't know if this team really is serious about honestly believing they are a playoff contender, but they're not until they stop playing games like that. It was enough to make me wish they could just move Russell to shortstop instead of learning how to play 2B at the MLB level. I didn't see the double off Strop but it seems this year's Strop is not last year's Strop. The Cubs need a stopper in the bullpen, too, and they don't really have one except for Rondon, and even he has been providing way too much 9th inning adventure lately. A .500 team is about what I predicted, and it's probably what we've got.

Hoping Maddon is talking to Castro about approach at plate, otherwise bat him 8th

"...bat him 8th". What, he's a pitcher now?

Bat him 8th? Harsh.

glad you guys caught that /always trying to be topical

"enough to make me side with the Castro haters" Not hating, just waiting.

I've always been on Team Castro and am not really off that team yet, but there are definitely times when I think I'd be in favor of him being the SS that gets dealt. Would this team be worse off if he got traded, Russell moved to SS and Baez called up to play 2B? (Obviously, this assumes a good return and Baez panning out.) If Castro were dealt, how much would he really be missed? Again, I like him, but I think I'd get over it pretty quickly.

Agreed. I honestly am not a fan of Russell learning 2B if he's our best SS. I think it would be a hell of a lot of fun to watch Russell/Baez but I think it would slow down our progress a hair -- but be better in the long run.

I think the patient approach is best. I get a little riled when I see sloppy play late in a game. Overall I've enjoyed Castro, and he probably gained a thousand points in my book when he mimicked Bryant. I think the Castro hate is disproportional to his play. But he can be maddening sometimes. But Baez needs a good two months down there of hitting consistently before I can trust he won't strike out 40% of the time again, or whatever it was. This coming from the guy who is always saying "bring em up!"

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  • crunch 4 hours 30 min ago (view)

    ex-cub and fun baseball dude Jay Johnstone has died.  74 years old (dementia, COVID).


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    I understand why it feels unsettling. I remember the series well (though I, unlike Theo, actually was in high school). Anyway, I view it as a chance to right previous wrongs in the same way we stomped StL out of the playoffs in 2015, or the way the Nationals got to burn through two teams last year that had dumped them out of October in previous seasons.

    But if we lose, of course that was 17 years ago so it's two extremely different organizations.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    DJL: All players on Optional Assignment to the minors must be recalled on the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season, even if the player has not spent at least ten days on Optional Assignment. Players cannot be optioned to the minors again until Spring Training. 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 12 hours ago (view)

    CHAMP: No option year is spent just by calling up a player to MLB. An option year is spent only if a player on an MLB 40-man roster is optioned to the minors for at least 20 days in a given season. 

    Also, Brailyn Marquez is (was) eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft in December, so the Cubs were going to add him to the 40 on 11/20 anyway. They just did it a couple of months early.  


  • bradsbeard 1 day 15 hours ago (view)

    Not sure if serious, but Theo became the Red Sox GM in 2002. It's true though, there probably aren't many people in the organization besides Ricketts and Crane Kenney who have any strong feelings about that series. 


  • Craig A. 1 day 16 hours ago (view)

    I wonder if anyone on the Cubs cares or even remembers the odd events when the Marlins played the Cubs in 2003. I think Theo was in high school. To this old fart it will be more than a little unsettling to watch this post-season match-up. At least we can be fairly certain there will no fans grabbing for foul balls. 


  • bradsbeard 1 day 19 hours ago (view)

    Which is kind of annoying. Nobody really picked the Cubs to win this division pre-season. I guess Mattingly gets some credit for guiding the Marlins through their positives but even just letting them play that one game with half the team sick should knock him out of consideration. Meanwhile Ross kept a tight ship and the Cubs has no positives all year. I'd say Ross or Tingler should get it over Mattingly. 


  • crunch 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    cubs finish 34-26 (1st, division)...they play MIA on wednesday.

    good start for d.ross, but the manager of the year is most likely going to d.mattingley (MIA) or j.tingler(SD).


  • crunch 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    ...or he won't make it out of the 8th

    0.2ip 2h 3bb 1k, 5r/er...2 wild pitches

    there's some great stuff in that arm.  mid/high-80s slider, "changeup" around 90mph, fastball 97-99mph...all effortless.  21 years old and never pitched above A-ball.


  • crunch 1 day 21 hours ago (view)



  • crunch 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    rough debut...doubt we're going to see him in the 9th.


  • Charlie 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    Reminds me a little of Jeff Samardzija's debut. Adrenaline throwing straight gas but all over the place. Samardzija threw a fastball all the way to the backstop in his debut (2008).


  • crunch 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    back to back 3-2 count 6-pitch walks.

    he's not in the zone.  he's throwing almost totally fastballs, too.


  • crunch 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    alzolay's gotta be locked in for a start given what he's done lately.

    i wonder what role j.lester will be given.  if he's starting, hopefully he's the 3rd/4th starter, if at all.  someone will probably give him a 2021 contract if he doesn't retire...hope it's not the cubs giving that contract, though.


  • crunch 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    dude's thrown a 97mph and 98mph fastball to start and both looked like he was barely expending effort.

    unfortunately, neither were near the plate.


  • Charlie 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    So, Alzolay gets at least one October start, right? He'd be a weapon out of the pen if the Cubs had more than two believable starters ready.