Cubs Minor League Spring Training Game Recap

Mitchell Grand Salami Gives Angels Indigestion at Riverview

Kevonte Mitchell blasted a grand slam over the LF fence and onto the south bank of the Loop 202 Red Mountain Freeway to cap a nine-run explosion in the bottom of the 5th inning as the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-affiliate) turned a 5-0 deficit into a 9-5 lead and then hung-on for dear life to edge the Inland Empire 66ers (Los Angeles Angels Hi-A affiliate) 9-8 on Field #6, and RHSP Erich Uelmen (Cubs 2017 4th round draft pick - Cal Poly SLO) hurled four innings of one-run ball with five strikeouts, no walks (72% strikes), and 6/0 GO/AO, and Cam Balego (RBI triple), Alexander Guerra (RBI double), and Luis Hidalgo (RBI single) contributed run-scoring hits to stake the Cubs Lo-A South Bend affiliate to a 4-1 lead, but the Burlington Bees (Angels Lo-A affiliate) came-back in the late innings to tie the game at four and then the potential winning run was picked-off 2nd base with no outs in the bottom of the 9th to thwart a Cub plan to plate the winning run with a sac bunt and maybe a sac fly, as Burlington and South Bend played to a 4-4 tie on Field #5, in Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader game action Tuesday afternoon on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

The MLB Cubs had the day off so Kyle Hendricks was supposed to have started the Myrtle Beach game on Field #6, but he was scratched due to illness (strep throat). 

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

Strop Sharp in 2018 Debut at Riverview

Dairon Blanco ripped a bases-loaded triple with two outs in the top of the 9th as the Stockton Ports (Oakland Athletics Hi-A affiliate) rallied to edge the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Hi-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) 4-3 on Field #6, and Anthony Churlin went 4-4 with a solo HR (off an MLB pitcher) and three singles to lead the Beloit Snappers (A's Lo-A affiliate) to a 4-2 victory over the Cubs Lo-A South Bend affiliate on Field #5, in Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader game action Monday afternoon on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

Wladimir Galindo collected three hits (two singles and a double), drove-in a run, and scored a run, and RHSP Oscar de la Cruz hurled three shutout innings for Myrtle Beach, and Christopher Morel drilled two doubles (both pulled sharply into the LF corner) for South Bend (the SB Cubs managed only three hits, and Morel had two of them).

South Bend 1B Austin Filiere left the game after being hit on the helmet with a pitch in the bottom of the 5th.  

Both games were called after 8-1/2 innings of play.  
 
Cubs RHRP Pedro Strop (calf strain) made his 2018 debut in the game on Field #5, and he was outstanding, working 1.1 IP (18 pitches - 89% strikes) and allowing a single while striking out four (all four swinging, all four on hard sliders). Most of the Beloit kids probably have never seen a slider like Strop's so it was a true education for the youngsters, but no question Strop was on his game. Cubs closer Brandon Morrow and LHRP Brian Duensing also saw action in the South Bend game, with Morrow allowing an unearned run on a single and a walk with two strikeouts, and Duensing surrendering a solo HR in his one inning of work (and he also two recorded a couple of punch-outs). 

NRI catcher Ali Solis was sent to the Riverview backfields from the Cubs MLB squad, and he caught Strop, Morrow, and Duensing. AAA Iowa catcher Cael Brockmeyer was also assigned to the South Bend game to warm up the MLB guys in the bullpen, and he got a couple of token AB as a DH as part of the deal. 

Will Remillard (2015 & 2016 TJS) saw his first game action of 2018 on Field #6. He looked healthy and in great shape, throwing out a Stockton baserunner who was attempting to steal 2nd with a strong pinpoint throw, and he also reached base on an opposite-field double that bounced off the warning track and over the fence in RF.  

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):

9th Inning Rally Gains Split for Cubs at Riverview

RHSP Jen-Ho Tseng hurled three innings of perfect baseball, Kevin Cornelius laced two RBI doubles (one in the 2nd inning and another in the 8th), Eddy Julio Martinez singled and doubled and scored a run, and Gioskar Amaya drilled a bases-loaded two-run walk-off double off the LF fence in the bottom of the 9th to overcome a 4-3 deficit, as the AAA Iowa Cubs rallied to edge the Reno Aces (AAA affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks) 5-4 on Field #6, and Anfernee Grier smacked a two-run HR in the 1st inning and Marcus Wilson hammered a solo HR in the 3rd, and LHSP Alex Young hurled three innings of shutout ball, as the Jackson Generals (D'backs AA affiliate) edged the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) 4-3 on Field #5, in Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader game action Friday afternoon on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

Diamondbacks RHSP Taijuan Walker was sent to Mesa from D'backs MLB camp and got the start for Reno on Field #6, working 4.2 IP and allowing one run (earned) on three hits (a double and two singles) and a walk, with seven strikeouts and a 4/2 GO/AO. Kevin Cron belted two tape-measure home runs (a solo blast off Zach Hedges in the 5th and a two-run bomb off Preston Morrison in the 7th) to give the Aces a temporary 3-2 lead (later expanded to 4-2), before the Cubs came back with a run in the 8th on the second RBI double by Cornelius and then the two runs in the bottom of the 9th on the G. Amaya clutch two-bagger (the culmination of a magnificent ten-pitch AB).

Down 4-0 going into the 9th on Field #5, Zack Short blasted a three-run HR to pull the Smokies within a run, but the potential tying and winning runs were subsequently left-stranded. 

Tennessee pitchers allowed only three hits on Field #5, but eight walks (including six by Smokies SP Kyle Miller) and two HBP combined with the two early HR helped give the Generals just enough runs and the eventual victory.   
 
Because the Cubs MLB squad has split in two for the weekend (the Cubs will be playing a two-game set versus the Cleveland Indians in Las Vegas on Saturday and Sunday while the other squad remains in Mesa to face an Indians split-squad on Saturday and the Kansas City Royals on Sunday), a number of players (mostly from AAA Iowa) were called up to the MLB squad from Minor League Camp just for the weekend, and so there were also a number of temporary promotions at Minor League Camp as well. 

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games played at Riverview Park on Friday (Cubs players only):  

Cubs Wish Yanqui Had Just Stayed Home

Yoel Yanqui (two-run triple), Jose Queliz (two-run double), Eduardo Diaz (solo HR), and Luke Van Rycheghem (RBI double) contributed run-scoring extra base hits to lead the Visalia Rawhide (Arizona Diamondbacks Hi-A affiliate) to a 7-2 victory over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) on Field #6, and Buddy Kennedy collected three hits (two singles and a double) and scored twice and Francis Martinez drilled an RBI double, singled and scored, and reached base on an HBP, helping the Kane County Cougars (D'backs Lo-A affiliate) defeat the Cubs Lo-A South Bend affiliate 4-1 on Field #5, in Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader game action Wednesday afternoon at the Riverview Baseball Complex on John Arguello Way in Mesa, AZ.

Diamondbacks relievers retired a combined 30 of the last 33 hitters they faced on the two fields.

Wladimir Galindo stroked a two-run 1st inning HR and SP Jose Paulino hurled three shutout innings with five strikeouts (including the first four men he faced) for the Pelicans in a losing cause on Field #6,.and Christopher Morel doubled and singled and scored a run and Delvin Zinn roped an RBI triple and a single in the South Bend loss on Field #5.  

CF Jose Gutierrez and 1B Rafael Mejia were moved-up from the Eugene/Mesa squad to the Myrtle Beach squad for the day to provide additional late-inning position-player replacements beyond what the Pelicans had available.

Both games were eight inning affairs.

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):

Bolt from the Skye Turns I-Cubs Blue at Riverview

Aramis Ademan and Nelson Velazquez each ripped an RBI triple, singled, walked, and scored two runs, Miguel Amaya drilled a two-run double and a single and scored a run, and Fidel Mejia slugged a three-run HR, helping the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) trounce the Midland Rockhounds (AA affiliate of the Oakland Athletics) 10-3 on Field #5, and Luke Persico and Collin Theroux roped RBI doubles, Luis Barrera hammered an RBI triple, Skye Bolt clubbed a solo HR, and RHSP Ben Bracewell tossed 2-1/3 innings of one-hit ball, helping the Nashville Sounds (A's AAA affiliate) defeat the Cubs AAA Iowa affiliate 6-4 on Field #6, in Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader game action Tuesday afternoon on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

Both games were eight-inning affairs.  

Because the Cubs MLB squad was playing a split-squad doubleheader, most of the Iowa position players were called-up for those games, and as a result the Iowa game featured a number of position-players from the Tennessee squad, and the Tennessee game featured a number of players from the Myrtle Beach and South Bend squads (and in fact it was some of the Cubs top prospects from the lower levels -- Ademan, Velazquez, and M. Amaya -- who had the best performances).   

Iowa Cubs reliever Corey Black (February 2017 TJS) saw his first game action since 2016 in the contest on Field #6, but it did not go too well for the righthander. Black faced three batters and threw 14 pitches (but only three strikes) and left the game with what appeared to be a right arm injury (unknown if it's related to the TJS). 

Here are the abridged box scores from the games (Cubs players only):

Cubs Don't Show Brothers Much Hospitality at Riverview

D. J. Wilson smacked a two-run triple and a single, walked, stole a base, and scored three runs, Zack Short doubled twice and scored twice, Austin Upshaw hammered a two-run home run, Chris Pieters knocked-in three runs with a two-run single and a FC, stole a base, and scored twice, and Stephen Bruno, Kevonte Mitchell, and Miguel Amaya each drilled an RBI double, as the Cubs drubbed the Chinatrust Brothers 13-5 in Minor League Camp game action Thursday morning on Field #6 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

Tung-Jung Wu belted a two-run HR for the Brothers in a losing cause.

The game was called after eight innings of play.

Duncan Robinson got the start for the Cubs, working two innings and allowing a run on four hits (all four hits were singles) and no walks, with four strikeouts (all swinging). Trevor Clifton followed Robinson to the hill and worked two shutout innings, allowing two hits (both doubles) and no walks, with two strikeouts (both looking). Michael Rucker also threw two innings, surrendering a two-run HR along the way while throwing 82% strikes. As things stand right now, Robinson, Clifton, and Rucker would appear to be 3/5 of the AA Tennessee Smokies projected Opening Day starting rotation.

The Brothers (AKA "Brother Elephants") are one of the four clubs in Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL), and they have been having their Spring Training at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson (former Spring Training home of the White Sox and the Diamondbacks) for the past few weeks, sharing the facility with los Toros de Tijuana (Mexican League).

Cory Snyder is the Brothers manager, Jim Presley is the hitting coach, and Scott Budner is the pitching coach, so there is a distinct MLB feel to the operation. Ex-MLB or minor league pitchers Casey Coleman, Zack Segovia, Nick Additon, and Mitch Lively are on the Brothers roster, although none of them pitched in the game. Several of the Brothers played for Team Chinese Taipei in the most-recent World Baseball Classic, so they have some experience playing with and against MLB and minor league players.  

Here is the box score from the game (English translation only):

Cub Pitchers Shine in the Arizona Sun at Riverview Park

Ryan Williams hurled 6-2/3 innings of one-hit ball (no walks) and combined with Rob Zastryzny to toss a two-hit shutout, as the Iowa Cubs blanked the Tennessee Smokies 1-0 on Field #6, and Yeiler Peguero slugged a solo HR and Dylan Cease tossed 4-2/3 innings of three-hit one-run ball with six strikeouts (81 pitches), as the South Bend Cubs edged the Eugene Emeralds 3-2 on Field #5, in Cubs Minor League Camp doubleheader intrasquad action Sunday morning at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

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