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June 1st, 2022

Cubs No-Hit D'backs at Riverview

Cristian Hernandez singled twice, stole two bases, scored the first run of the game, and drove-in the last one, Raino Coran singled twice and knocked-in a run, and Michael Arias, Yovanny Cruz, Dominic Hambley, Elian Almanzar, Yovanny Cabrera, and Alfredo Zarraga combined to hurl a no-run / no-hit game with 15 strikeouts, as the Cubs blanked the Diamondbacks Black squad 2-0 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Wednesday night on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.   

Cabrera and Zarraga combined to strike out eight of the last ten men they faced. 

EXST Cubs top pitching prospect Michael Arias saw his first game action in more than three weeks, and threw a 1-2-3 nine-pitch 1st inning to get things started. Arias suffered a lower-body injury in a game at Sloan Park on May 10th when he attempted to cover home plate on a bases loaded wild pitch and stepped awkwardly coming off the mound.  

Cubs catcher Dilan Granadillo replaced starting catcher Moises Ballesteros behind the plate in the top of the 7th inning, but had to leave the game in the 8th after getting hit on the hand with a foul tip.    

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

May 30th

May 28th

Luke Weaver & Associates Stymie Cub Bats at Salt River Fields

Johan Benitez drilled a single in the third, belted an RBI triple and scored in the fifth, and collected an RBI on a sacrifice fly in the eighth, and SP Luke Weaver (on Arizona Diamondbacks MLB 60-day IL with right elbow inflammation) threw two shutout innings and combined with three relievers on a five-hitter, as the Diamondbacks Red squad defeated the Cubs 5-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Saturday morning on Whirlwind Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, east of Scottsdale, AZ. 

RHP Yovanny Cruz (on Hi-A South Bend 7-day IL) made his first game appearance since undergoing TJS a year ago, and worked a nine-pitch 1-2-3 inning (4-3, K-swinging, 4-3). Because it was such a short, easy inning, Cruz went out to the bullpen and threw an additional 15 pitches after the inning was over. All set to be in the South Bend starting rotation at the end of Minor League Camp 2021, his season was sidetracked less than a week before Opening Day.  

RHP Zac Leigh (on South Bend 7-day IL since Minor League Camp with a right shoulder issue) blasted his 95-98 MPH FB past D'back hitters, this time mixing it with a slurvy breaking ball that he can throw for strikes (he threw only FB in his last outing).   

RHP Joel Sierra had a 1-2-3 inning, finishing it up with an ascending 98-99-100 MPH FB trilogy (strikeout - swinging) that sucked the air right out of the park.  

Casey Opitz (on Myrtle Beach 7-day IL since Opening Day) is back to switch-hitting again, going 2-2 with two singles and a walk in the game. He caught all nine innings in extreme heat, and looks to be about ready to go to Myrtle Beach. He is considered to be the best defensive catcher in the Cubs organization. Casey is the younger brother of ex-Cubs minor league infielder Jake Opitz (who was a manager in the Rockies system for a few years after he retired).   

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

Cubs @ White Sox: Series Thread (Games 45 & 46)

The Cubs passed the quarter-way mark in their last series against the Reds, a series they opened with two wins and closed with two losses, including Thursday's 20-earned-runs-allowed blowout. A day off on Friday and a night sleeping in their hometown beds might help to press the reset button. They take on the Sox for two games this long weekend. See below for the matchups.

May 27th

Ballesteros and Morfa Launch Cub Comeback at Riverview

Moises Ballesteros drilled an RBI single in the bottom of the first, singled and scored in the fourth, and belted a game-tying HR over the RF fence in the seventh, Carlos Morfa slugged a solo HR over the LF fence in the seventh and roped a double and scored in the eighth, Reivaj Garcia singled twice, walked, scored two runs, and drove-in three, and the bullpen retired nine of the last ten batters faced, as the Cubs raliied to score eight runs in the final two innings while holding the opposition scoreless, en route to a hard-fought 13-10 victory over the Diamondbacks Red squad in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Friday morning on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

This was the third HR hit by Ballesteros in the last eight days, as he is now second on the EXST Cubs in HR with three (Cristian Hernandez has four, plus two more in intrasquad games). Over his last nine Cactus League EXST games (29 PA), Ballesteros is hitting a robust 480/552/960, with three HR, three doubles, four walks, and seven RBI.  

As outstanding as the bullpen was at the end of the game, two Cubs pitchers -- LHP Marino Santy and RHP Gleiber Morales -- combined to issue twelve walks, hit a batter, uncork five wild pitches, and commit two balks, as the D'backs took an early 9-5 lead. 

The Diamondbacks Red squad manager was thrown out of the game after arguing that an RBI double that drove-in a runner from 1st base was actually a ground-rule double that bounced off the warning track and then off the netting beyond the RF fence (and he was right, by the way). He then sat in the bleachers outside the first base side fence, until he was spotted by the base umpire and told to go sit in the bus. It was 105 degrees, so having to sit in an air-conditioned bus wasn't necessarily the worst punishment imaginable!   

The game was called after eight innings of play. 

In EXST Cubs news, catcher Dilan Granadillo is no longer switch-hitting, He is now batting LH-only.   

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

May 26th

Cristian Hernandez Leads the Blue Charge at Riverview

Cristian Hernandez, Frank Hernandez, and Rafael Morel stroked consecutive RBI singles to highlight a three-run first inning for the Cubs "Blue" squad, and Miguel Pabon belted a solo HR over the left-centerfield fence to account for the lone run posted by the Cubs "Red" squad, as the "Blue" squad defeated the "Red" squad 3-1 in an Extended Spring Training four-inning intrasquad game played Thursday morning on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

Because all three pitchers who threw in the game were scheduled to work two innings, the "Red" team got an extra AB over what they ordinarily would have received, but they lost anyway 

Here is the box score frrom the game: 

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