Cubs Throw No Hitter at Fitch Park
Five Cub pitchers combined to throw a no run, no hit game, but the Angels threw a three-hit shutout of their own right back at the Cubs, as the two teams played to a scoreless tie in AZ Instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.
The Cubs mounted the only real scoring threat of the day in the bottom of the 3rd inning against Angels starter RHP Fabio Martinez. Willson Conteras smacked a lead-off double off the LF fence, but was still on 2nd base two outs later after Chris Huseby struck out and Xavier Batista flied out to left. Evan Crawford then lined a single into RF that looked like it might score Contreras, but the slow-footed ex-catcher was held up at 3rd, and then Crawford was caught stealing to end the inning and the threat.
The Cubs also had runners at 1st and 2nd with one out in the 7th, but pinch-runner Marco Hernandez was picked-off 2nd base and Reggie Golden grounded out to end the inning.
Meanwhile, the Cubs hurlers were shutting-down the Angels, allowing three walks but facing only one batter over the minimum through nine innings, thanks to a pick-off that short-circuited the Angel 7th and a 4-6-3 DP that concluded the Halo 8th.
Cubs 2010 10th round pick RHP Aaron Kurcz (College of Southern Nevada) got the start and continued his Instructs magic, throwing today’s first three innings of no-hit baseball. The 20-year old allowed just a walk while striking out four. In four AZ Instructional League outings covering 9.2 IP so far, Kurcz has allowed two hits and two walks, and no runs, while striking out 16.
6’4 230 RHP Dustin Fitzgerald (Cubs 2010 19th round draft pick out of Hill JC in Texas) followed Kurcz to the hill and retired the Angels six up/six-down on just 23 pitches (L-5, 4-3, 4-3 in his first inning of work, and 5-3, 6-3, and K-looking in his second inning).
19-year old RHP Robinson Lopez (one of three pitchers acquired by the Cubs from the Atlanta Braves in the Derrek Lee deal) worked the 6th and 7th, striking out the first man he faced and then getting two long fly outs to complete a 1-2-3 6th inning, and then after walking the lead-off hitter in the top of the 7th on four pitches, Lopez picked the runner off 1st, before inducing two routine ground outs (a 6-3 then a 4-3) to end the frame.
RHP Kevin Rhoderick (Cubs 2010 9th round pick out of Oregon State) worked the 8th and allowed a lead-off walk, but then got a 5-4 FC for the first out (nice leaping stab by 3B Gioskar Amaya to start the play), and a slick 4-6-3 GIDP to end the inning.
2010 29th round pick LHP Casey Harman (Clemson) threw an eight-pitch 1-2-3 9th to guarantee the no-hitter, with the Cubs needing just one little old run to complete what could have been a stirring victory, and with the top of the batting order due up. But Evan Crawford, Hak-Ju Lee, and Engel Santana went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 9th (5-3, K-swinging, and 4-3), resulting in a scoreless tie that would have made World Cup Soccer proud.
Here is today’s abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Evan Crawford, CF: 1-4 (F-7, 1B, F-8, 5-3, CS)
2. Hak-Ju Lee, SS: 0-4 (P-6, K, 5-3, K)
3a. Max Kwan, C: 0-1 (E6, HBP, BB)
3b. Marco Hernandez, PR-DH: NO AB (PO)
3c. Engel Santana, PH: 0-1 (4-3)
4. Justin Bour, 1B: 0-3 (3-1, 6-3, K)
5. Logan Watkins, 2B: 1-3 (4-3, 3-1, 1B)
6. Reggie Golden, DH #1: 0-3 (K, K, 5-3)
7. Micah Gibbs, DH-C: 0-2 (K, F-7, BB)
8a. Willson Contreras, 3B: 1-1 (2B, HBP)
8b. Gioskar Amaya, 3B: 0-0 (1-3 SH)
9. Chris Huseby, LF: 0-3 (K, K, P-6)
10. Xavier Batista, RF: 0-3 (F-7, F-7, L-6)
1. Aaron Kurcz: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K, 37 pitches (26 strikes), 1/4 GO/FO
2. Dustin Fitzgerald: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 23 pitches (15 strikes), 4/1 GO/FO
3. Robinson Lopez: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 PO, 26 pitches (13 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
4. Kevin Rhoderick: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 11 pitches (5 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
5. Casey Harman: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 8 pitches (6 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
ATTENDANCE: 31 (including cubs.com beat writer Carrie Muskat)
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80’s
Dolorous Jon Lester 5 hours 32 min ago (view)
20s sounds about right. Considering they have gotten pretty much nothing out of pitching development in the last decade and only number one picks and Bote on the hitter side in the same time frame, that's pretty telling. I guess Contreras falls into that too but he had been around quite a while before Theo and Jed
Dolorous Jon Lester 5 hours 34 min ago (view)
I was thinking that too, Phil. EJM failing so badly was another spectacular miss. Guess they should have let sleeping dogs lie when his first deal fell through (Dodgers or Giants, I think?)
tim815 6 hours 26 min ago (view)
MLB.com rated the Cubs 22 out of 30.
This season figures to tell quite a bit. No teams are terrible at player development anymore, and no teams look at the draft as a hopeless puzzle.
KingKongvsGodzilla 9 hours 40 min ago (view)
Are these guys out of the org now?
K Dub 14 hours 17 min ago (view)
PHIL: Any velo readings on Ramos? Earlier reports also had him sitting 98-99. Thanks!
George Altman 20 hours 18 min ago (view)
Phil, serious question: How good is the Cubs Player Development Department? Scale of 1 to 30 with 1 being best. I mean, I can think of 5 teams right now who don't have near the Cubs resources but do better year after.
I mean there are organizations across sports who seem to coach the crap out of their draft picks and signees. They just got 4 teenagers for Darvish, but do they have the coaches to get any of them to the show?
My pessimistic grade would be about 24.
Arizona Phil 20 hours 33 min ago (view)
DJL: How about Eddy Julio Martinez as a spectacular miss? A $3M signing bonus out of Cuba and he never made it out of AA.
Dolorous Jon Lester 20 hours 39 min ago (view)
Wow, that's a pretty spectacular miss. He was so highly thought of when he signed.
Arizona Phil 21 hours 11 min ago (view)
TIM: Richard Gallardo doesn't seem to be progressing as a SP, so he has apparently been moved to the bullpen. He has a tendency to labor through innings and nibble too much and throw a lot of pitches.
tim815 21 hours 25 min ago (view)
Anything on Gallardo, of interest, from today?
Arizona Phil 21 hours 27 min ago (view)
The Cubs have released LHP Ryan Kellogg, RHP Alex Moore, 3B Fidel Mejia, OF Jose Gutierrez, OF Eddy Julio Martinez, and OF Zac Taylor from Minor League Camp.
Arizona Phil 21 hours 33 min ago (view)
And despite what you might read elsewhere, It was - NOT - a "hot" gun.
Arizona Phil 21 hours 59 min ago (view)
He certainly could have forced the Cubs to release him with full salary as termination pay, so he must like it with the Cubs.
Charlie 23 hours 50 min ago (view)
Follow-up on last week's discussion of Baez's contact and plate discipline woes. Another Fangraphs article notes that he is among league leaders in combined positive change in zone swing rates (swinging at more pitches inside the strike zone) and reduction in chase rate (swinging at pitches outside the zone). See the last table: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/lets-look-at-some-earl...
This makes his 45% strikeout rate and 1.7% BB rate all the more strange.
crunch 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
he may not be worth much to us as fans, but every indication points to him being quite popular in the dugout. nice to see him stick around as an emergency callup catcher.
Wrigley Rat 1 day 15 hours ago (view)
Tony Wolters clears waivers and is sent to the Alternate Training site in South Bend.