Rhee Keeps Laying Goose Eggs
Dae-Eun Rhee tossed three shutout innings as the Cubs took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the 4th at Diablo Park Field #3 in Tempe, but the Angels came back to win this afternoon's AZ Instructional League contest by a score of 5-1.
Rhee's three shutout innings followed his last start on the very same field last week, when the young Korean threw three perfect innings at the Angels. Rhee, who is in the final stages of rehab from 2008 Tommy John Surgery, once again did not throw any of his killer splitter/change-ups (his strikeout pitch), instead mixing a sinking fastball with a curve, throwing both for strikes and pitching to contact. The Angels hitters did not get good wood on the ball, and Rhee was able to get seven ground outs (he had no strikeouts). Both of the hits he allowed were singles.
The key for Rhee in his last two starts at Diablo Park has been control, something he lacked in his rehab outings at Mesa and Boise over the last few weeks of the 2009 minor league regular season. I would presume that Rhee will add the splitter back to his repertoire next season, giving him the array of stuff needed to once again be a Top Ten Prospect. Kudos should go to Cubs Minor League Pitching Coordinator Mark Riggins and pitching coaches Rick Tronerud and Jeff Fassero for getting Rhee to the point where he can once again throw strikes consistently and be successful on the mound.
Hard-throwing RHP Trey McNutt (2009 32nd round pick out of Shelton State CC) followed Rhee to the mound and gave up an opposite field game-tying home run to the first batter he faced in the 4th, and then RHP Nick Struck (2009 39th round pick out of Mt Hood CC) was the victim of an Angel rally in the 7th, as the Halos turned a walk, two singles, and a stolen base into two runs, giving the boys from the O. C. a 3-1 lead.
The Angels led 3-1 after the Cubs went down in the 9th, but the game was extended an extra half-inning to allow 18-year old Taiwanese RHP Yao-Lin Wang to get his pre-scheduled inning of work. Wang was not very impressive, showing just pedestrian stuff while allowing two runs on two hits and a walk.
The Cubs signed not one but two Wangs out of Chinese Taipei this year (Yao-Lin and Tzu-An), and both were invited to Instructs, where they join fellow countryman 2B Pin-Chieh Chen making their U. S. debut.
Yao-Lin is a stocky kid, with the same body-type as Sean Gallagher and Ryan Searle, while Tzu-An is a lanky 6'6 with a body more like Chris Huseby or Toby Matchulat. Tzu-An is (supposedly) the better prospect of the two, and I would expect him to get a shot at throwing an inning or two sometime later this week.
The Cubs offense was mostly dead today. They scored their only run in the top of the 1st, as D. J. LeMahieu lined a single to CF with one out, and, after LeMahieu advanced to second on a PB and to third on a WP, Brandon Guyer got the only RBI of the day with a run-scoring ground out.
The Cubs did get the potential tying run to 2nd in the top of the 9th with no outs (Blair Springfield and Hak-Ju Lee ripped singles, and then both runners advanced a base on a PB), but LeMahieu and Guyer fanned, and Kyler Burke popped out to the shortstop in shallow LF to end the threat, as the Cubs came up empty.
2008 4th round pick Matt Cerda returned to the lineup after a three-month absence due to a broken hand suffered at Boise, and played 3B. He made one nice play on a slow chopper, but on a couple of others he was slow to react to hard-hit balls that skipped past him for base-hits. Cerda may not have the split-second reaction time and one-step quickness needed to play the hot corner.
Josh Vitters and Welington Castillo are working out at Fitch Park in preparation for the Arizona Fall League, and they might get an AB or two in an Instructs game to help them get ready for the start of the AFL season next week.
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Hak-Ju Lee, SS: 1-4 (4-3, L-8, K, 1B)
2. D. J. LeMahieu, DH #1: 2-4 (1B, 1B, 1-4-3, K), R
3. Brandon Guyer, CF: 0-4 (6-3, K, F-9, K), RBI
4. Kyler Burke, RF: 1-4 (F-7, 1B, K, P-6), PO
5. Richard Jones, DH #2: 0-3 (3-1, K, 4-3)
6a. Jae-Hoon Ha, C: 0-2 (4-3, 5-3)
6b. Brandon May, C: 0-1 (5-3)
7. Justin Bour, 1B: 0-2 (K, L-5, BB)
8. Matt Cerda, 3B: 1-3 (F-7, 3-1, 1B)
9. Pin-Chieh Chen, 2B: 1-3 (1B, 4-3, 4-3)
10. Blair Springfield, LF: 2-3 (6-4-3 DP, 2B, 1B)
1. Dae-Eun Rhee - 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 7/2 GO/FO, 31 pitches (21 strikes)
2. Trey McNutt - 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 1/3 GO/FO, 34 pitches (23 strikes)
3. Julio Pena - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 13 pitches (9 strikes)
4. Nick Struck - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 1 PO, 2/1 GO/FO, 33 pitches (19 strikes)
5. Yao-Lin Wang - 1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 2/0 GO/FO, 16 pitches (10 strikes)
1. Jae-Hoon Ha - E-2 (overthrow at 2nd base on stolen base attempt, allowing runner to advance to 3rd)
2. Hak-Ju Lee - E6 (bobble allowing batter to reach base).
Jae-Hoon Ha - 0-2 CS, E (see above)
Brandon May - 1-2 CS
WEATHER: 80's, sunny, breezy
ATTENDANCE: 14 (mostly scouts)
Charlie 34 min 9 sec ago (view)
Maybe he should stick with it for a while.
Hagsag 4 hours 45 min ago (view)
Cardinals have two games left with Detroit, not the Cubs.
blockhead25 10 hours 26 min ago (view)
Ahh, 2 games against the Tigers, but seems to imply they'd only play those games if it will impact which teams make the playoffs. If the Cardinals win their last 2, I don't believe the other games could impact which Team makes it. Why would Detroit have any incentive to win those games? Well, hope the Cubs won one of the next 2 so it doesn't matter.
crunch 11 hours 11 min ago (view)
yeah, it may be another team. i just know they have a possible monday double header...unless i got that wrong, too.
blockhead25 11 hours 42 min ago (view)
Cubs? We played the cards the full 10 slate?
if Cards make playoffs, I would think they'd want nothing to do with having to play a double header Monday to improve playoff seeding.
crunch 11 hours 50 min ago (view)
the cubs may or may not have to play a doubleheader vs STL on monday depending on the next game or 2...i think
blockhead25 11 hours 53 min ago (view)
How did the Cubs not just clinch the division?
Aren't the Cards only scheduled for 58 games?
beat Cards can do is 31-27. Worst Cubs can do is 33-27.
crunch 12 hours 12 min ago (view)
j.baez is batting left handed...and hits a double.
CWS have a position player "pitching"
crunch 12 hours 14 min ago (view)
2nd contreras homer...no bat flip, no staring down the pitcher, quick trip around the bases, into the dugout.
crunch 12 hours 15 min ago (view)
i wish more non-AFL winter league was televised. dominican, puerto rico, etc...you can straight up showboat if you've earned it on a play without having to deal with retaliation (most of the time). bat flips, pitcher celebrations, swagger home run trots, etc...all fair game. it's you know...fun.
Craig A. 12 hours 39 min ago (view)
Plunking a guy for a bat flip only proves the pitcher has thin skin and short fingers. I'm glad Contreras scored.
Cubster 12 hours 54 min ago (view)
I goofed wrt Bluejays/Astros. They clinched a WC #2 and 8 seed but Houston has a lock on West div team 2. The Indians will be 7 seed and wild card #1, abd team #3 from the central
crunch 12 hours 55 min ago (view)
hey, guess who just got a fastball in the back.
crunch 13 hours 44 min ago (view)
that contreras bat flip, tho...
Cubster 15 hours 13 min ago (view)
Cards lose game 1 of DH w Brewers
crunch 16 hours 22 min ago (view)
happ / rizzo / contreras(DH) / heyward / baez / schwarber / caratini / kipnis / hoerner(3rd)
eloy will not start this weekend for CWS and may be unavailable to pinch hit, too (foot injury).