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
crunch 2 hours 8 min ago (view)
it screws up stats. i know you play for wins/losses, but real money is on the line for players and makes agent/player homework selling their client a bit harder.
it also makes historical comparisons difficult.
the amount of time i've seen a fresh inning starting out...bunt guy to 3rd for an out, IBB, IBB is too high. what would amount to a leadoff single following that can easily turn into 2 runs (1 earned) with guys on the corner...which usually leads to another IBB.
Charlie 3 hours 13 min ago (view)
Jay Jaffe has a timely argument against the runner on second rule over at fangraphs: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-runner-on-second-i...
I still don't know why we don't just have ties. Obviously, the Cubs could have dodged most of these situations by simply hitting a little bit during the regulation innings.
Arizona Phil 5 hours 58 min ago (view)
The Cubs have signed free-agent RHSP Adrian Sampson to a minor league contract and he has been assigned to AAA Iowa, and RHP Michael McAvene, LHP Jack Patterson, and OF Donnie Dewees have been placed on the 60-day IL to open up slots for Sampson, Trayce Thompson, and Kyle Ryan on the Cubs minor league 180-man Domestic Reserve List.
crunch 6 hours 23 min ago (view)
well that sucked.
2-game sweep, 2 games under .500
crunch 6 hours 49 min ago (view)
stumbled onto this today...clip from a 2019 ESPN broadcast game with boog, chipper jones, and david ross in the booth...
boog used to call games for ATL, btw...
tim815 9 hours 18 min ago (view)
Someone on social media was floating Yoelqui Cespedes to the Cubs in a Bryant trade.
I was clueless if it was permitted. It is.
Wrigley Rat 20 hours 18 min ago (view)
The Cubs have traded for outfielder Trayce Thompson, who was with the Diamondbacks at Triple-A, but is formerly of the big league White Sox, Dodgers, and A’s. The Diamondbacks are getting cash in the deal, which is a reflection of the reality that Thompson, 30, is a depth outfielder at this point in his career. Thompson is the younger brother of NBA star Klay Thompson. https://www.bleachernation.com/cubs/2021/05/11/cub...
crunch 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
i'd like to point out ross feels more comfortable with j.pederson and k.bryant in CF over j.heyward.
watching heyward not just look human in the OF, but having a bit of a hard time is rough. he's just not getting to stuff like he used to.
crunch 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
bryant out of the game for no apparent reason...that...doesn't seem good...
he's "under the weather" according the clubhouse. that's better than screwed up oblique or similar, at least.
crunch 1 day 4 hours ago (view)
this shane bieber guy kinda sucks. 1 run in, bases loaded 0 outs.
i hope 4-5 innings of alzolay and the 5 pen guys after him hold it down.
...hey wow, bases loaded 0 out turns into 0 runs...very cubs.
George Altman 1 day 5 hours ago (view)
Baseball wants more offense, fans want more action -- limit pitching staffs to 12, ideally transition to 11 over a 3 year period.
Teams are asking RPs to throw only 45 pitches a week. Think about that.
SPs who throw 175 IP/Yr will be museum pieces in 5 years.
It's not shifts. Oh....and electronic Strike zones as soon as possible.
crunch 1 day 6 hours ago (view)
given that the starters are on pace to pitch around 150 innings this year they might need the zillion relievers.
i'm under the impression that d.ross got a new Fitbit exercise tracker prior to the season and likes to have excuses to walk to the mound for higher step counts. i'm going with this theory until proved otherwise.
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 7 hours ago (view)
I get that 40 man rosters are complicated, but now we have 10 GD relievers and 3 bench guys, one of whom is an obviously injured Javy.
I can't wait until they reinstate the 13 pitchers maximum rule.
crunch 1 day 7 hours ago (view)
baez (again) a late scratch because back ouchies.
Arizona Phil 1 day 8 hours ago (view)
OF Jake Marisnick to 10-DAY IL, and Cubs recall LHRP Brad Wieck.
Arizona Phil 1 day 10 hours ago (view)
Prior to last season, Rule 4 Competitive Balance Draft picks could be traded in advance of the draft (the window beginning on December 2nd and extending up until two hours prior to the start of the draft), although the pick could not be sold for cash, the pick itself could not be the PTBNL in a trade, and once traded the pick could not be flipped to a third team.
However, there is presently a moratorium on trading Competitive Balance picks that extends through the conclusion of the 2021 draft, so right now no draft picks may be traded.