Archive - May 2019

May 24th

Cubs vs. Reds: Series Thread (Games 49-51)

The Cubs came up a bit short on their comeback attempt yesterday and had to accept a 2-2 split with the Phillies. They move on to greet the Reds to Wrigley for a 3-game set.

The Cubs matched up with the Reds in mid-May for a tough 1-2 series loss. Every game in that series was decided by 2 runs or fewer. The Cubs will run out an exact repeat of their starters in that series, but Tanner Roark will be the only familiar face on the other side. The Reds are well rested, having played only 5 games and having 3 days off since then. See below for the game-by-game matchups.

May 23rd

Cubs Edge D'backs at Salt River Fields

Oswaldo Pina stroked three hits (singled, stole a base, and scored in the top of the 2nd inning, singled in the 4th, and smacked a solo HR leading off the 7th), Rochest Cruz, Henderson Perez, Brandon Vicens, and Raymond Pena collected two hits a piece, and SP Niels Stone hurled three innings of shutout ball, as the Cubs edged the Diamondbacks 4-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Thursday morning on Whirlwind Field at Salt Rivers Fields at Talking Stick east of Scottsdale, AZ.  

In addition to pelting D'backs pitchers with 13 hits, the Cubs also drew six walks in the game. 

The Cubs played only one Cactus League EXST game today, so the squad that traveled to Salt River Fields consisted of elements of both the Cubs "A" team and the Cubs "B" team. 

Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only):

Cubs vs. Phillies: Lester vs. Nola (Game 48)

CHC: LHP Jon Lester (3-2, 2.09 ERA)
PHL: RHP Aaron Nola (4-0, 4.47 ERA)
First pitch 1:20pmCDT

The Cubs hitched their wagon to a pair of big homeruns for last night's 8-4 win. Today they send Jon Lester to the hill to lock down a series victory. Lester was thoroughly out-pitched by Strasburg on Saturday when I had the privilege of attending a fairly uneventful Cubs' loss in DC. He got knocked around for 10 hits and 5 runs in 4.1 innings, easily his worst start of the season. As worst starts go, it's the least bad worst start of any Cubs' starter! Hence, he has maintained an ERA just over 2. Current Phillies have seen him for 162 ABs and earned an OPS of .738 during that time. Sean Rodriguez has 55 of those ABs, with 12 hits, 3 of which were homeruns. McCutchen is 7-32 with 2 HRs. Harper is 3-10 with 6 strikeouts.

May 22nd

Cubs Paint It Black at Riverview

Fernando Kelli belted an RBI triple, a two-run double, and a single, and scored two runs, Luis Diaz drilled two singles, stole two bases, scored two runs, and drove-in another, Alexander Guerra singled, doubled, and scored a run, Oswaldo Pina walloped a two-run HR, and Richard Gallardo and Didier Vargas combined to toss five innings of shutout ball, as the Cubs "A" team breezed past the Giants Black squad 9-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Wednesday morning on Field #5 at the Riverview Baseball Complex on John Arguello Way in Mesa, AZ. 

Cubs batters collected 16 hits (including three doubles, a triple, and a HR) and Cubs pitchers combined to fan 14 in the game. 

Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only):

Cubs vs. Phillies: Hamels vs. Irvin (Game 47)

CHC (28-18): LHP Cole Hamels (4-0, 3.13 ERA)
PHL (28-20): LHP Cole Irvin (2-0, 2.77 ERA)
First pitch 7:05pmCDT

The Cubs walked off to even the series and now send Cole Hamels to take on his former team in a battle of two guys named "Cole." Hamels has been working through some off-and-on command issues since late April but has managed to suppress run scoring and remain undefeated on the season anyway. Last time out he was limited to 5 innings but picked up his 4th win against the Nationals. He's held Bryce Harper to a .660 OPS in 34 ABs. Many of the other Phillies are getting their first look at him from the batter's box.

May 21st

Brendon Little Throws "Live" BP & Danny Hultzen gets Game Work at EXST

Jorge Barrosa belted a two-run triple and singled twice, Jose Corpa drilled a two-run triple and scored a run, and Luvin Valbuena doubled, walked, and scored two runs, leading the Diamondbacks past the Cubs "A" team 6-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Tuesday morning on Field #5 at the Riverview Baseball Complex on John Arguello Way in Mesa, AZ. 

Jake Slaughter laced an RBI double and a single, Edmond Americaan singled, doubled, walked, and scored a run, and Marcus Mastrobuoni drove-in two runs with an RBI single and an RBI FC, stole a base, and threw out a runner attempting to steal a base, to aid the Cubs in a losing cause. 

LHP Danny Hultzen (on AAA Iowa 60-day IL - 2016 shoulder surgery rehab) saw his first game action of 2019, getting the start and striking out the side (all three swinging, and he threw 83% strikes) in the top of the 1st inning, and RHRP Chad Hockin (on Myrtle Beach 7-day IL - May 2018 TJS) threw a 1-2-3 2nd inning (4-3, 6-3, K-swinging) as he continues to look sharp while rehabbing from May 2018 TJS.

Once one of the top pitching prospects in baseball (he was the Seattle Mariners 1st round pick and the 2nd overall pick in the 2011 draft out of UVA), the 29-year old Hultzen still has a plus-CH and a very solid breaking ball and he runs his cutter at a respectable 88-90 MPH, and he has outstanding command of all of his pitches, too, but the problem he had last year (and it remains to be seen if the issue has been resolved) was that he was unable to throw more than one inning per appearance and he was also unable to throw two days in a row. If he is going to be an MLB lefty reliever he will need to be able to either throw multiple innings or pitch at least two days in a row.    

Prior to the game on Field #5, LHP Brendon Little (Cubs 2017 1st round draft pick) and RHP John Pomeroy (ex-PIT) threw "live" BP on Field #6. This was the first time Little has faced hitters since straining his lat in his first "live" BP session of Minor League Camp the first week of March.   
 
Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only): 

Cubs vs. Phillies: Quintana vs. Eflin (Game 46)

CHC (27-18): LHP José Quintana (4-3, 3.68 ERA)
PHL (28-19): RHP Zach Eflin (5-4, 2.89 ERA)
First pitch 6:05pmCDT

After dropping the series opener in the 10th, the Cubs send José Quintana to the mound against the Phillies' best starter. Quintana has given up 2 or 3 runs in each of his last 5 starts and has seen his strikeout rate drop from the early going. He's been steady but not great during that time. Former Pirates McCutchen and Sean Rodriguez are a collective 9-23 with 1 homerun off of him. Last night's Phillies hero, Hernandez, is 3-7 with a double, a triple, and two walks.

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