Fitch Park Filler
In what may have been the worst professional baseball game I ever saw, the AZL Cubs defeated the AZL Padres 16-15 yesterday in a four-hour nine inning game in 108 degree heat at Fitch Park Field #3.
Bad fielding, bad pitching, bad everything.
The game got off to a dubious start when struggling RHP Chris Huseby (who throws the ball away even when he's playing catch in the outfield) hit a batter with the first pitch of the game.
Throwing mainly change-ups and breaking balls (his fastball is too dangerous to throw in anger), Huse lasted just 2/3 of an inning, throwing 34 pitches (only 13 strikes), while allowing four runs (all earned) on one hit, three walks, and a HBP, plus a WP. But this actually was an improvement over his first start, when the 6'7 20-year old right-hander didn't record any outs while walking all four batters he faced.
Forget cancer, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. We need to find a cure for Steve Blass Disease NOW.
And the pitchers who followed weren't a whole lot better. In fact, it got so bad that frustrated AZL Cubs pitching coach Rick Tronerud had catcher Jose Guevara (who had been warming up pitchers in the bullpen all afternoon) go to the mound in the top of the 9th, and Che induced a 6-4-3 DP ball to end the inning. (And in case you're wondering, Guevara has NOT been converted to pitcher... yet). The Cubs then came back to score in the bottom of the 9th on a botched 1-6-3 DP ball (one of five AZL Padres errors) that allowed the winning run to score from 3rd with one out.
Man, I sure was disappointed that the game didn't go into extra innings!
Angel Guzman and Rich Hill faced off in a two-inning (30 pitches each) sim game before the AZL Cubs departed for Maryvale (AZL Brewers) Thursday morning. Guzman continues to look sharp, throwing 94 MPH fastballs, knee-buckling curves, and deceptive change-ups, while Hill still can't find a consistent release point. I don't quite understand why Gooz hasn't moved up to to a higher level for rehab work, but I guess the Cubs are just being cautious.
The Iowa Cubs reported Hill was placed on the DL and sent to Mesa with a "left hamstring" injury, but unless Hill's hamstring is located inside his head, I haven't seen any evidence of a hamstring problem.
The AZL Cubs are supposed to reactivate several rehabbing pitchers from the DL this weekend, including Ryan Acosta, Cedric Redmond, and Rafael Dolis. This means some of the Latin pitchers who have struggled (like Carlos Rojas, Dionis Nunez, Yohan Gonzalez, and/or Jose Severino) might get sent to the DSL to make room on the roster, while other AZL Cubs pitchers (like Huseby) might get placed on the DL with a "hamstring" injury.
The AZL Cubs are expecting the arrival of Goddard (KS) HS (and 21st round round draft pick) SS Logan Watkins at Fitch Park sometime in the next couple of days. The 18-year old left-handed hitting Watkins, who was also a star quarterback on the Goddard High football team, supposedly got a $600K bonus (which is "2nd round money") to forgo a chance to play college baseball at Wichita State. Watkins fell to the 21st round only because it was presumed that Watkins going to WSU was a virtual lock.
The fact that the Cubs were willing to give Watkins 2nd round money might be an indication that negotiations with 2nd round pick RHP Aaron Shafer (Wichita State) might not be going too well. But if the Cubs don't sign Shafer, they will get a compensation pick (#66 overall) in next year's Rule 4 Draft.
Nothing new to report on the Cubs #1 draft pick RHP Andrew Cashner (TCU), but based on his slot he should get a $1.5M bonus. He supposedly wants the Cubs to offer a bit more than that, however.
Also note that the Cubs still have NOT officially reported the signing of 4th round pick Matt Cerda (Oceanside, CA HS), even though Cerda has been at Fitch Park for about two weeks, taking BP, catching pitchers in the bullpen, and working closely with mentor Danny Fatheree (who was Kerry Wood's catcher in HS). Cerda has not played in an AZL game, however, and neither is he on the AZL Cubs official roster. It's possible that there is a hang-up in getting Cerda's contract approved, either related to the way the bonus is to be paid, or possibly there was a problem with his physical or with his blood test.
Dolorous Jon Lester 3 hours 47 min 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 7 hours 48 min 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 8 hours 10 min 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 11 hours 19 min 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. 12 hours 17 min 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 15 hours 45 min 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 17 hours 3 min 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 17 hours 39 min 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 17 hours 45 min ago (view)
crunch 17 hours 49 min ago (view)
rough debut...doubt we're going to see him in the 9th.
Charlie 17 hours 56 min 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 17 hours 59 min 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 17 hours 59 min 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 18 hours 3 min 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 18 hours 5 min 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.
crunch 18 hours 6 min ago (view)
Q goes 2 effective (2ip 2h 1bb 2k, 0r/er) and here comes b.marquez...