AZL Cubs Check Out Small Ball Book at Sloan Park
Varonex Cuevas reached base four times (three singles and a walk), stole two bases, and scored a run, leading the AZL Cubs to a 4-2 victory over the AZL Angels in Arizona League action Thursday night at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ.
The Cubs did most of their damage in the bottom of the 6th inning, using "small ball" to plate three runs and take a 4-1 lead.
Jose Paniagua led-off the inning by drawing a rare (for him) walk, and advanced to 2nd base on a Varonex Cuevas bunt single. Roberto Caro laid down the first of what would be eventually two sacrifice bunts for him in the game to advance the runners to 2nd & 3rd, and then 18-year old AZL Cubs shortstop Andruw Monasterio looped a single into short right to score Paniagua and move Cuevas up to 3rd. Monasterio and Cuevas then pulled-off a picture-perfect double steal, with Monasterio breaking for 2nd base to draw a throw (he was safe at 2nd), while Cuevas waited to break for home until he saw the throw go through to 2nd. Monasterio took off for 3rd base on the very next pitch (and he would have had 3rd base stolen easily, too), but Tyler Payne rocketed a line drive just past Monasteriio's ear into LF, as Monasterio continued around 3rd base to score the third run of the inning. Payne was then picked-off 1st base by the Angels pitcher (Payne was frozen like a deer-in-headlights two steps from 1st base, and so he took off for 2nd, but the slow-footed catcher was out by a mile).
LHP Manny Rondon got the start for the Cubs, facing his former AZL Angels teammates for the first time. (Rondon was acquired from the Angels in a trade for catcher Rafael Lopez earlier this month). And not too surprisingly he came out firing from the gitgo, working his fastball consistently at 94 MPH (he hadn't thrown harder than 91-93 in previous ouitings) and mixing it with a hard-breaking curve. Being a bit hyped-up, Rondon did have some command problems, issuing three walks and hitting a batter, but he also struck out four while allowing only one run on four hits (all singles) in 5.0 IP. Rondon threw 85 pitches (52 strikes) over his five innings of work, the most pitches I have ever seen a non-rehabbing pitcher throw in an AZL game.
To the best of my knowledge, Rondon is only the second pitcher acquired in a trade by the Cubs who went directly from one AZL team to the AZL Cubs during the AZL season. The last one (and the only other one I can recall) was 19-year old fireballing 6'3 280+ RHP Jose Ceda, acquired from San Diego for veteran INF Todd Walker on July 31, 2006. Ceda moved from the AZL Padres to the AZL Cubs after the trade.
Here is the abridged box score from Thursday night's game (AZL Cubs players only):
AZL CUBS LINEUP:
1. Robert Garcia, RF: 1-3 (P-6, K, BB, 1B)
2. Carlos Sepulveda, 2B: 1-1 (HBP, 2B, BB, 3-U SH, R, SB)
3. P. J. Higgins, 3B: 1-4 (2B, 6-3, 6-4 FC, 5-3, RBI)
4. Jose Paniagua, 1B: 0-3 (K, F-9, BB, K, R)
5. Varonex Cuevas, DH: 3-3 (BB, 1B, 1B, 1B, R, 2 SB)
6. Roberto Caro, CF: 1-2 (4-6 FC, 1B, 1-4 SH, 1-3 SH)
7. Andruw Monasterio, SS: 1-4 (K, P-4, 1B, 6-3, RBI), SB)
8, Tyler Payne, C: 1-3 (6-3, 5-3, 1B, BB, RBI, PO)
9. Donnie Cimino, LF: 0-4 (L-7, K, 6-3, F-9)
AZL CUBS PITCHERS:
1. Manny Rondon: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP, 1 GIDP, 3/6 GO/FO, 85 pitches (52 strikes)
2. Trey McNutt: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 0/3 GO/FO, 16 pitches (11 strikes)
3. John Williamson: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 19 pitches (11 strikes)
4. Luis Hernandez: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 2/1 GO/FO, 32 pitches (22 strikes)
AZL CUBS ERRORS: NONE
AZL CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Tyler Payne: 1-2 CS
AZL CUBS BASERUNING ADVENTURES:
1. Carlos Sepulveda was thrown out 7-6-5 attempting to stretch double into triple in the 3rd inning
2. Varonex Cuevas was thrown out 9-2 attempting to score from 2nd base on single to RF in the 4th inning
3. Tyler Payne was picked-off 1st base in the 6th inning
Cubster 4 hours 52 min ago (view)
per Tribune: Kimbrel's OK, just working on his changeup (formerly his fastball).
Arizona Phil 17 hours 11 min 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 20 hours 38 min 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 21 hours 15 min ago (view)
Has anyone seen Darvish's pitch "The Supreme"? Isn't it just a sinker?
Ryno 21 hours 23 min ago (view)
In other words: This lineup sucks.
Arizona Phil 21 hours 40 min 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 21 hours 45 min 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.
Cubster 21 hours 51 min ago (view)
On the bright side regarding Kimbrel. It doesn't have the lasting bad side as the Mets arrangement with Bobby Bonilla. Unless they want to re-negotiate Kimbrel's terms.
Eric S 23 hours 18 min ago (view)
Watching the last night's highlight clip was not encouraging either as discussed here: https://www.bleachernation.com/cubs/2020/07/08/craig-kimbrels-intrasquad-performance-is-a-reminder-of-the-concerns-that-already-existed/
crunch 1 day 3 hours ago (view)
i still can't believe this front office paid anyone 16m a year to throw 60-70ip...
Eric S 1 day 13 hours ago (view)
Unfortunately, Kimbrel in Cub mid season form as well, giving up a two out, two run oppo homer to Willson.
Kimbrel Cub stats which I tried to bury but were dug up again: gave up a career high 9 home runs in only 20 2/3 inning, averaged a career high 9.1 hits allowed per 9 innings and served up a 6.53 ERA for his troubles. And no full spring training build up period again. Still hopeful he's got something left in the tank this year and next but man, he's got my full attention going into the season
BobbyD 1 day 13 hours ago (view)
Hmm. Never thought about it that way. Maybe it is a very stable genius?
crunch 1 day 16 hours ago (view)
maybe he's hoping it'll be bad enough to flip the population odometer over to 0 after humanity is wiped from the planet. let's give him more time to see if he's right before we get too down on him.
crunch 1 day 16 hours ago (view)
"Shohei Ohtani threw just 15 of his 50 pitches for strikes in an intrasquad game Tuesday. Trent Rush had him at eight walks, a hit by pitch and six wild pitches before he was shut down for a day. "
crunch 1 day 16 hours ago (view)
anthony rizzo is in mid-season form.
he sat out today with lower back tightness.
BobbyD 1 day 17 hours ago (view)
Well, back in February (I think; that was about 17 years ago now), our diaper staining commander in his own mind declared we had 15 cases in the U.S. and that would quickly go to zero. 130k dead and rapidly rising now 4 months later I still have brain dead neighbors in SoCal saying if Biden gets elected we're screwed. I wonder what they think screwed looks like.