Cubs Blank Angels at Diablo Park

Jhonny Pereda roped an RBI single, doubled, and walked, Roney Alcala doubled twice and drove-in a run, and LHSP Jose Paulino hurled five innings of shutout ball with an 11/0 GO/FO and combined with three relievers to toss a five-hit shutout, as the Cubs blanked the Angels 4-0 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #7 at Diablo Park in Tempe, AZ.

Chris Denorfia (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL with a strained hamstring) continued his EXST rehab today, playing left field for all nine innings and getting four AB. He drilled line-drive singles in each of his first two PA, then walked his third time up, and flied out to the warning track in left in his fourth and final AB, Denorfia was running the bases at full-tilt and he made a nice running catch in left (although he had to wait until Jose Paulino left the game to do it, because Paulino was a "ground-ball machine" today).

The plan at present is for Denorfia to remain at Extended Spring Training through Saturday, but actually he looks to be 100% right now.

Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):

1. Shawon Dunston Jr, DH #1: 1-4 (1B, P-5, 4-6 FC, F-8, R)
2. Chris Denorfia, LF: 2-3 (1B, 1B, BB, F-7)
3a. Ricardo Marcano, RF: 1-3 (4-6-3 DP, 5-4 FC, 1B, R)
3b. Danny Gutierrez, RF: 0-1 (BB, 4-3, R)
4. Roney Alcala, 1B: 2-5 (F-8, 2B, 6-3 DP, 2B, F-7, RBI)
5. Varonex Cuevas, 3B: 1-2 (1B, BB, BB, P-6, R, CS)
6. Jhonny Pereda, C-DH: 2-2 (2B, 1B, BB, RBI)
7. Calvin Graves, CF: 1-3 (1B, 6-3, 6-3, BB, RBI, CS)
8. Carlos Jimenez, 2B: 0-3 (BB, F-8, P-4, P-4, SB)
9. Andruw Monasterio, SS: 0-3 (K, HBP, F-9, 6-U FC) 
10a. Yohan Matos, DH #2: 0-2 (K, F-9)
10b. Erick Castillo, C: 0-1 (BB, F-7, PO) 

1. Jose Paulino: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 1 GIDP, 11/0 GO/FO, 72 pitches (44 strikes) 
2. Alexander Santana: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 2/2 GO/FO, 27 pitches (15 strikes) 
3. Dillon Maples: 1.0 IP, 1 H,. 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 2/0 GO/FO, 11 pitches (6 strikes) 
4. Greyfer Eregua: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 0/3 GO/FO, 10 pitches (5 strikes) 


Jhonny Pereda: 0-1 CS 

WEATHER: Sunny and a bit breezy with temperatures 100+ 



Joe Maddon show today. Castro swing "too much boogying"

Could someone explain to me the function of a first base coach? I don't see him brushing the bag off to keep it clean. He doesn't seem to be wearing a glove to protect the umpire from hit balls. And he clearly isn't supposed to advise rookie players who are on first on how to approach second whilst down by three runs in the ninth.

So frustrating. Kid is bumming tonight I bet. Learning curve.

But seriously, I am confused about the role of the first base coach. If it isn't to advise a runner in game situations, what is the role? Ask about the family? Inquire about the player's romantic interludes? See if the kid wants kids when he grows up?

Popular topics of conversation at first base: * Traffic was bad today * Bruce Jenner, he's she's weird... * CT Steve, does he have what it takes? * Can you believe Sawyer Fredericks won The Voice? That was shocking.

* Are you as excited about the Republican primaries as I am? * What would happen if all the Kardashians changed gender? * Are the Chinese using stolen technology to build all those islands? * Will baseball players be replaced by robots after the Singularity?

* Will baseball players be replaced by robots after the Singularity?

I coach first base for my son's team (first and second graders). I have to tell nearly every kid every single time they get to first when to run and when not to. And then they run anyway. I would imagine by the time a players makes it to MLB, they already know what to do and a first base coach reminding him to make sure to actually look where you're running wouldn't be necessary.

First and only responsibility: Watch for the hidden ball trick.

Well, first base coaches remind runners of a lot of things they probably go over in pre-game. This guy has a quick move (they sometimes have stop watches and will tell players specific times if they request). He throws over a lot. He likes to break the rubber when he is coming set and throw over, so watch for that. Remember the catcher likes to throw behind the runner at first, especially with a right-handed batter up. They have a shift on so watch line drives more closely because a hit that might ordinarily fall in might be caught. Right fielder is well off the line so you can get to 3B on a hit to his left. Etc. Who knows what happened with Russell there. Very frustrating. 

I guess at the end of the day it's just rookie stuff, part of why they are most likely a .500 team. Lots of mistakes. I'll still take it over watching mediocre journeymen players.

Almora with three hits tonight, raising his BA to .258, which is higher than Buxton's or Sano's on the other team (Chattanooga). [Disregard the snarky comment about the Twin prospects, who have much better numbers aside from BA.]

Didn't he start off the year well? What happened here?

Almora's minor-league numbers are starting to remind me of those of Josh Vitters, although with slightly fewer strikeouts and less power. A lot of contact but not enough hard contact, and too many pitches swung at. It might be fixable--who knows?--but meanwhile there's a bunch of new outfielders climbing the ladder. I'm just glad we traded for Russell, who was drafted five spots later than Almora and could have appeared in one of those missed-draft-pick slide shows wearing a photoshopped Cub cap.

McKinney is ahead of him I think, although he's dropped off a bit since his promotion. I really wish they could promote Vogelbomb because if there is anyone on earth that would try him in the outfield it's Joe Maddon and I'd fly out to Chicago to see that.

P.K. Wrigley and the College of Coaches

Corey Black ‏@CblackCHC Oppp dang well yes now that it's out I'm now in the bullpen. Excited for this new task. Same game same concept.

Baez taking grounders at third, Siolar had MRI on ankle after hurting Monday

Honestly he's going to need a rest during the season - he's never played through anything close to the grind that MLB is. Let Lake take a few ABs, he's really handled the bat well since spring training and has somehow discovered the strike zone.

Interesting- Bryant to DH, Baez @ 3B? That kind of makes sense.

"Baez taking grounders at third" - Is this confirmed?

Well, either way I imagine Baez is on his way back. This is going to work out either really well, or really bad. I don't see a lot of middle ground here, though his D will be good no matter what.

He has clearly made significant changes to his swing. Confirmed "He's played shortstop and second base and we've hit ground balls to him at third base over the past four or five days. There's a chance he plays there over the next few weeks," Pevey said. "We have to wait and see. Don't read too much into it. We've been working on it … it's just something about having versatility.

Wow, thanks for the link. That is not the swing I remember. At all. What I remember resembled an unwinding slinky with legs flying all over the place.

The charge really is impressive. It wouldn't surprise me to see him playing some games at third this weekend.

So far Baez has played 32 games at AAA this year. I went back and pulled the game log data for the last 32 games (7/1 to 8/3/2014) Baez played at AAA last year preceding his call up to Chicago: 2014: 32 games, 136 PA, 36 hits, 12 HR, 33 K's, 11 BB 2015: 32 games, 136 PA, 39 hits, 7 HR, 33 K's, 10 BB Hope the MLB results aren't as similar as last year.

Wild speculation, but on topic.

Eerily similar but with a power outage. Fantastic.

To be fair, Baez struggled a bit early this season and was in full stride during that 32 game stretch last season. If I didn't have another excel project at work to do, I would run it with different data sets and see if it held up or not.

Fair enough. His career pattern has been promotion, slow start, adjustment, en fuego. He's talented enough for some slack in that regard, plus his personal circumstances this year have been another factor.

I don't know if he is doing that every night but that batting style is very different from last year. Very little movement in the linked video, whereas last year he was just crazy with all the footwork and such. I think the key will still be how he handles the pitchers pounding the low outside zone with sliders, which is the approach they are all taking with almost all these young kids here. Bryant is about the only one not biting and even he once in awhile can't help himself.

Thou doubt me?!?!

No, no, no, no ... yes.


Who do we think is most likely to be traded for pitching Castro, Baez, Russell, Soler, or do we keep everyone and wait for the off season?

I think they'll be very patient, since this is not The Year - I think they can sneak into the playoffs but let's face it, there's a lot of rookies playing in the starting lineup and they make a lot of mistakes. If somebody makes a killer offer, they may take that. I think if anyone goes it will be everyone's fall guy, Castro, but his reputation is a bit sullied so I doubt they can get top value for him.

I expect them to make a move at the trade deadline, but I agree that it will likely not be a blockbuster.

He seems like the most likely to go, as his style of play is not in the Theo mold. However, as has been said -- his inconsistent play makes it unlikely the Cubs will get very much for him, despite his age and talent. It's also something of a gamble that either Baez or Mendy can become a productive major leaguer. was the case with Welly -- teams will know the Cubs want to make a move to create space, so the Cubs are not in a position of negotiating strength.

Smokies on a pretty good roll, with six wins out of the last eight including a late-morning game today. Schwarber three singles and three RBI; Contreras a home run; Ryan Williams his first start and first Southern League win. Williams seems to have gotten a two-level promotion, unless this was just a temporary assignment. Corey Black pitched two innings in relief with zeroes in all the columns except for 3 K's. I would say that Black won't take much longer than Baez and Edwards to get to Chicago. Black was doing fine as a starter but the Cubs don't need a rookie sixth starter. They need Black's (and Edwards') help in the pen. Finally, something worthwhile resulting from all those Soriano paydays.

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