Garcia and Los Tres Amigos Deliver the Message
Ramon Garcia tossed five shutout innings and Los Tres Amigos combined to reach base nine times, score three runs, and knock-in two more, leading the AZL Cubs to a 7-2 victory over the AZL Athletics in Arizona League action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.
With 18-year old Dominican OF Oliver Zapata, 18-year old Dominican INF Marco Hernandez, and 18-year old Venezuelan INF Gioskar Amaya hitting 1-2-3 in the order most everyday, Los Tres Amigos set the standard for the AZL Cubs on a daily basis, and today was no exception. Zapata (who leads the AZL in walks and is 4th in SB) walked three more times today, singled, stole a base, scored two runs, and knocked in another, Hernandez (who is 4th in the league in RBI and 6th in doubles) singled, walked, reached base on an HBP, and scored a run, and Amaya (who is 6th in the AZL in hitting) singled twice and collected an RBI.
In addition to the Big Day from the Big Three, DH Brian Inoa (a Man in Search of a Position) doubled twice, scored twice, and drove-in one run, and super-sub Gregori Gonzalez (who played 3B today) singled three times with two RBI.
19-year old Venezuelan RHP Ramon Garcia got the start for the Cubs and was masterful, throwing five shutout innings, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out four. He did all that on just 57 pitches (41 strikes), including throwing his first 16 pitches for strikes, something rarely seen in the AZL. Garcia probably could have continued well past the 5th inning, but AZL pitchers are limited to throwing five innings or 75 pitches (whichever comes first). Garcia is now 5-0 in AZL league play, and is tied for the league-lead in victories.
Cubs 2010 #1 draft pick RHP Hayden Simpson followed Garcia to the mound, entering the game at the start of the 6th inning. Throwing nothing but fastballs (as was also the case in his previous outing), Simpson had an easy nine-pitch 6th (striking out the lead-off hitter looking), before allowing a lead-off single and a one-out Miguel Marte RBI double high off the CF "Green Monster" (Batter's Eye), just two pitches after Marte slugged a near-HR down the LF line (hooked foul at the last second before clearing the fence). Simpson was then removed from the game, after having thrown 26 pitches (17 strikes).
While he throws only fastballs in games, Simpson does throw a breaking ball and a change-up when warming-up. But he apparently is so messed up right now, the Cubs feel he needs to go back to square one and just try and command his fastball (which he was able to do today, and with perhaps a bit more velocity than he has shown previously), before adding anything else to his in-game regimen.
You can tell somebody of concern is in the game when the Fitch Park Sports Psychologist is sitting on the bench, and a Special Assignment Scout is running the radar gun from the tower (hiding the readings from the players).
Cubs 2011 21st round draft pick LHRP Andrew McKirahan (U. of Texas) had another impressive outing, throwing 1.2 IP of shutout relief, getting four of his five outs on grounders and the fifth on a strikeout (swinging), while allowing just an infield single (swinging bunt). McKirahan is a polished, tested lefty reliever from a first-class D-1 program (he pitched in the College World Series last month), and so I would not be surprised to see him maybe get a "jump promotion" to Peoria in relatively short order.
Eric S 3 hours 33 min ago (view)
And Joe pinch hits for Descalso again today - now 205/277/316 on the year. But no need to put a jumpy-jump in the parking lot during spring training like they did last year for TLS so it balances out.
crunch 3 hours 56 min ago (view)
tommy lastella hit his 12th homer of the year...grand slam.
tim815 4 hours 28 min ago (view)
Not sure why any of the teams would only have enough talent for one XSL game.
crunch 5 hours 41 min ago (view)
aww...cubs were a pest all game, but couldn't overcome.
crunch 5 hours 44 min ago (view)
omfg chatwood...with the bat.
crunch 5 hours 46 min ago (view)
RIP heyward's bat.
shout out to bo jackson...that was a clean break.
it was a swing/miss with no contact so it's doubtful it was a cracked bat.
Eric S 6 hours 12 min ago (view)
Bullpen reclamation project Kyle Ryan’s ERA now 5.06. Bummer
crunch 6 hours 29 min ago (view)
wow baez...also, wow rizzo.
call overturned, but that was a hell of an "almost" play.
crunch 9 hours 20 min ago (view)
he's thrown so little of his other stuff lately that i can't even guess and sure don't know.
he's always been fastball-heavy, but it's almost exclusively fastball now.
he gets movement on a 95-97mph fastball...that's a positive about it if he's gonna continously offer it up.
VirginiaPhil 9 hours 25 min ago (view)
crunch 9 hours 49 min ago (view)
schwarber / baez / rizzo / contreras / heyward / almora / descalso / lester / bote
i guess we're in for 2-20 random games of "pitcher hits 8th" before suddenly deciding that's not a thing anymore...again
crunch 16 hours 11 min ago (view)
it had to feel good for him to get that standing O at the home ballpark.
he's still throwing almost nothing but fastballs exclusively, though...wonder what's up with that.
Hagsag 17 hours 3 min ago (view)
Chatwood is becoming a force in the BP.
QuietMan 1 day 1 hour ago (view)
crunch 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
ALMORA GRAND SLAM!!!
way to break a tie.
crunch 1 day 2 hours ago (view)