Rockies Shad Have Known Better Than to Play So Shallow
Rashad Crawford belted an inside-the-park two-run home run (opposite-field line-drive smoked over the left-fielder's head) to highlight a three-run third, and the bullpen tossed 7.2 IP of two-hit shutout ball, helping the Cubs to a 3-1 victory over the Rockies in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.
The home run was Crawford's second in Cactus League EXST game action (his first HR was hit over the RF fence on Field #5 at Riverview Park on April 21st), so Crawford has now tied Erick Castillo for the team-lead in HR with two (six others--Tyler Alamo, Jeffrey Baez, Zak Blair, Kevin Brown, Varonex Cuevas, and Rony Rodriguez--have one HR a piece). And the Cubs (as a team) have hit seven of their ten home runs in their last five games.
Five Cub "rehab" pitchers saw work in today's game (including four who threw in the intrasquad game last Saturday), so Rehab Pitching Coordinator Rick Tronerud and Rehab Athletic Trainer Chuck Baughman made the trip up to Salt River Fields from Riverview Park (they did not bring their golf cart, however).
* Cubs 2012 4th round draft pick RHP Josh Conway (2012 pre-draft TJS & May 2013 elbow stress fracture) got the start and breezed through the bottom of the 1st inning (allowing just a two-out single) before surrendering a run on two hits (including an RBI triple) and a walk in the bottom of the 2nd. The 23-year old needed 37 pitches to get four outs.
* Veteran NPB & MLB RH reliever Kyuji Fujikawa (May 2013 TJS) retired all three men he faced (K-swinging, F-8, 3-1), although he was continually shaking and stretching his arm during the outing.
* 20-year old 2012 3rd round draft pick 6'3 RHP Ryan McNeil (May 2013 TJS) made his first Cactus League EXST game appearance since April 15, 2013, and retired all five hitters he faced (F-8, 6-3, L-8, P-1, 3-U) on just 13 pitches (10 strikes), He looked very good in a two-inning stint in last Saturday's intrasquad game, too. For those of you who haven't seen McNeil this year, he is sporting the popular Jeff Samardzija look (they could be brothers).
* 24-year old 6'5 240+ LHP Michael Heesch (Cubs 2012 8th round draft pick) had another fine outing (he's been throwing in Cactus League EXST games for about the last ten days, so he should be about ready to move up to the KC or Daytona bullpen), allowing a two-out single while striking out two (both swinging) and doing it all on just 11 pitches (10 for strikes), and lots of grunts.
* 18-year old RHP Jesus Castillo (the other pitcher acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks along with RHP Erick Leal in exchange for OF Tony Campana in February 2013) made his U. S. game debut and punched-out two in his one innng of work. Unlike Leal (a "curve-ball first" pitcher who uses his 88 MPH fastball to set-up his excellent breaking ball), Castillo has a "lively" fastball that rides 92-93 MPH and a decent change-up (especially for such a young guy) but no breaking ball. And, just like C. J. Edwards, Jose Paulino, and Hector Perez, Castillo is an all-legs "stringbean" (6'2 165). Castillo probably has a higher ceiling than fellow-Venezuelan Leal, but he is also clearly not anywhere near as polished, and so he will very likely be assigned to the AZL Cubs next month, while Leal will almost certainly be in the Boise starting rotation.
With today's victory, the Cubs have won three in a row and are closing-in on the .500 mark (they are now 19-21-4 in 2014 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games).
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
1. Rashad Crawford, DH: 2-5 (F-7, HR, 4-3, 1B, 3-U, R, 2 RBI)
2. Elliot Soto, 2B: 2-4 (1B, 1B, 3-U, K, R, SB)
3. Jeffrey Baez, CF: 1-4 (L-3 DP, 1B+E7, K, K, RBI)
4. Kevin Brown, 1B: 0-4 (3-U, F-9, K, F-7)
5. Shamil Ubiera, RF: 0-4 (F-9, 5-3, E-5, P-2)
6. Gleyber Torres, SS: 0-3 (K, BB, 6-3, F-8)
7. Mark Malave, C: 1-4 (K, FC, 6-3, 1B)
8. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 2-4 (1B, 5-4-3 DP, 4-3, 1B, R)
9. Charcer Burks, LF: 0-4 (P-3, 2-3, E-6, F-8)
1. Josh Conway: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 0/3 GO/FO, 37 pitches (22 strikes)
2. Kyuji Fujikawa: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 14 pitches (7 strikes)
3. Ryan McNeil: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 2/3 GO/FO, 13 pitches (10 strikes)
4. Michael Heesch: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GO/FO, 11 pitches (10 strikes)
5. Jesus Castillo: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1/0 GO/FO, 17 pitches (10 strikes)
6. Hector Perez: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 2/3 GO/FO, 34 pitches (20 strikes)
7. Alberto Diaz: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 3/0 GO/FO, 17 pitches (10 strikes)
CUBS ERRORS: NONE
WEATHER: Sunny & breezy with temperatures in the 80's
JustSayin' 13 hours 36 min ago (view)
I think what your saying applies to all franchises in all big-time team sports. The virus is asymptomatic in many carriers. The national positive test % rate is mid/high single digits. If your pro sports franchise does 3-4 x better than that, it still means some players and coaches will test positive and things will grind to a partial or complete halt. At least baseball didn't try to "bubble" in AZ and FL, which are looking like two of the worst (and worst-led) states in which to be located at the currrent stage of the pandemic.
crunch 14 hours 36 min ago (view)
rizzo took BP and did some field work today. also, almora is good to go...he ran into a wall on friday and got a little banged up.
Cubster 21 hours 55 min ago (view)
Aroldis Chapman is now Covid positive with mild symptoms
crunch 1 day 10 hours ago (view)
the COVID-Division should be fun.
teams from TX, AZ, CA, WA, and CO exclusively playing each other... CO is all "wtf, really?"
Cubster 1 day 11 hours ago (view)
...and so it goes (per Roto): Astros general manager James Click wrote in a statement that a member of the staff "was potentially exposed to a COVID-positive individual outside the organization.” The team is working with MLB and team doctors on testing protocol and cleaning before resuming workouts.
Does the visiting team bring a Covid positive bio-weapon to the player's parking lot?
Charlie 1 day 18 hours ago (view)
I've been wondering how this would proceed. Since teams will have to figure out how existing contracts will be paid, I thought there was a *chance* they would proceed with free agency as usual and plan for payment under potential shortened seasons would just be figured out in negotiations with the MLBPA. But that was probably an overly optimistic thought.
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 21 hours ago (view)
Meanwhile Theo shoots down any potential of extension talks. I get that it's a crazy time financially in baseball, but it's really gonna suck when all these players leave after 21 and 22.
Cubster 2 days 8 hours ago (view)
WSox Michael Kopech has opted out of 2020. I didn't see a disclosed reason yet but he is recovering from TJ S
crunch 2 days 18 hours ago (view)
buster posey (SF) opting out of 2020...recently adopted twin daughters who were born premature.
Cubster 3 days 22 hours ago (view)
per Tribune: Kimbrel's OK, just working on his changeup (formerly his fastball).
Arizona Phil 4 days 10 hours ago (view)
The Cubs have released RHRP (and their erstwhile closer) Brandon Morrow. There is no indication that they plan to re-sign him to another (different) 2020 minor league contract without the Article XX-B $100K retention bonus provision (as happened with Jason Kipnis last week).
crunch 4 days 14 hours ago (view)
rizzo takes another day off (lower back). ross says the club is "exercising caution."
klye ryan is expected to join the team tomorrow after some mysterious holdup.
Ryno 4 days 14 hours ago (view)
Has anyone seen Darvish's pitch "The Supreme"? Isn't it just a sinker?
Ryno 4 days 15 hours ago (view)
In other words: This lineup sucks.
Arizona Phil 4 days 15 hours ago (view)
Jason Kipnis was released on June 29th and then he was re-signed to a new (different) 2020 minor league contract that does not require a $100K retention bonus if he is not added to the Cubs MLB Reserve List by 2020 MLB Opening Day (7/23).
Brandon Morrow remains on his original 2020 minor league contract which pays him a $100K retention bonus if he is not released by 7/18 or added to the Cubs MLB Reserve List by 7/23.
Eric S 4 days 15 hours ago (view)
There is that re Kimbrel - at worst, just another year on the books.
July 1st is Bobby Bonilla Day - the day that check is cut and paid annually.