SP Erick Leal tossed five innings of one-run ball and four relievers combined to hurl five shutout innings, leading the Cubs "B" team to a 3-1 victory over the Diamondbacks in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Tuesday morning on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.
The game was pre-planned as a ten-inning contest.
At one point Cub pitchers retired 14 D'backs in a row.
Four Cubs pitchers on Active Rehab at EXST saw action in the game:
1. Erick Leal: FB 89-90 - CV 76-78 (62 pitches - 15 swings & misses)
2. Tony Barnette: FB 90-91 - SL 81-84
3. Danny Hultzen: FB 94-97 - SL 85-86 (12 pitches - seven swings & misses)
4. Chad Hockin: FB 90 - SL 84-86
In his three EXST game outings Hultzen has been unhittable. He has thrown three shutout innings (75% strikes) with eight strikeouts while allowing no walks and just an infield single and a weak P-6. His max FB velo has increased from 92 to 96 to 97 and his SL velo increased from 84 to 86 in a span of eight days. The difference seems to be that he has changed to a lower arm-slot (a lot like Andrew Miller circa 2015-16) which apparently puts less-stress on his shoulder and has led to a stunning uptick in his velo.
Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only):
Danny Zardon and Marcus Mastrobuoni walloped back-to-back solo HR over the LF fence in the bottom of the 1st inning, Luis Diaz tripled, singled, and scored a run, and Herson Perez singled, stole a base. scored a run, and drove-in another with a sacrfice fly for the "A" team, and Widimer Joaquin ripped an RBI double, walked twice, stole a base, and scored two runs, and Raymond Pena (RBI double) and Richard Nunez (RBI single) drilled run-scoring hits to cap a four run 3rd inning for the "B" team, in Cubs Extended Spring Training intrasquad game action Thursday morning on Field #5 at the Riverview Baseball Complex on John Arguello Way in Mesa, AZ.
The game was called after six innings of play with the score tied 5-5.
RHRP Tony Barnette (on Cubs MLB 10-day IL - right shoulder inflammation) started the game for the "A" team and threw 14 pitches (8 strikes), recorded four outs (2/2 GO/AO), and allowed a walk before being relieved after he reached his pre-planned pitch limit.
RHSP Erick Leal got the start for the "B" team and was struck on the left leg just below the knee with a high-velocity line-drive off the bat of Luis Diaz in the bottom of the 1st inning and had to be carried off the field. Leal surrendered the back-to-back homers to Zardon and Mastrobuoni just prior to getting hit by the Diaz liner, so needless-to-say it wasn't exactly the best of outings for the right-hander.
Here is the box score from the game:
Nic Motley doubled twice, walked, and collected two RBI, Tyler Bugner singled twice, stole two bases, and scored twice, and RHSP Pearson McMahan hurled five innings of two-hit/one-run ball (retiring the first nine men and the last six men he faced), helping the Rockies edge the Cubs 7-6 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Wednesday morning on Field #5 on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.
Luis Hidalgo smacked a three-run HR, Luis Vazquez drilled a single and an RBI double and scored a run, Reivaj Garcia singled, doubled, and scored a run, and Yovanny Cuevas belted an RBI triple and drove-in another run with an RBI GO for the Cubs in a losing cause.
The game was pre-planned as an eight-inning affair, but was extended an extra half-inning so that all of the Rockies pitchers who were scheduled to throw could get their work.
Prior to the game, LHSP Justin Steele (July 2017 TJS) threw "live" BP (two innings - 35 pitches) on Field #4 and it went very well (FB velo good and flashed a plus-CH). Next step is three innings (45 pitches), and then he will begin to throw a breaking ball.
In EXST Cubs roster news, RHSP Erick Leal (missed 2017 season with a non-TJS elbow injury) has completed his rehab and has rejoined Myrtle Beach, replacing RHRP Elvis Diaz on the Pelicans roster (E. Diaz was released). In addition, RHP Kyle Miller (Cubs 2015 19th round draft pick - Florida Atlantic) has been released from Extended Spring Training. (K. Miller had a lot of difficulty throwing strikes at Minor League Camp and was left behind in Mesa to work on his mechanics when Myrtle Beach departed Arizona at the end of March, but he was unable to overcome the problem).
Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only):
Iowa Cubs RHSP Duane Underwood Jr hurled 6.2 IP of two-hit shutout baseball, Henderson Perez belted a two-run HR, and Christopher Morel smacked a solo HR, in Cubs Extended Spring Training intrasquad game action Wednesday morning on Field #6 on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.
The Morel HR was hit halfway to Scottsdale.
The game was pre-planned as an eleven-inning affair so that all of the pitchers who were scheduled to throw today could get their work.
So it looks like Underwood is ready for his first start with the I-Cubs (probably next Tuesday).
LHRP Kyle Ryan (who was an NRI to MLB Spring Training) followed Underwood to the mound and retired seven of the eight men he faced. (K. Ryan was assigned to Extended Spring Training to get work and stay ready in case he is needed at Iowa).
LHP Manuel Rondon and RHP Erick Leal also threw in the game (this was the second game appearance for both of them after spending most of Minor League Camp in the Rehab Throwing Program).
Here is the box score from the game:
David Bote (solo HR), Christopher Morel (RBI double), Fernando Kelli (RBI single), and Luis Vazquez (RBI single) contributed run-scoring hits and LHP Bryan Hudson hurled 4.2 IP of one-run ball, leading the Iowa Cubs to a 5-2 victory over the Tennessee Smokies in Minor League Camp intrasquad game action Sunday morning on Field #6 on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.
Kevin Zamudio (RBI double) and Joe Martarano (RBI single) drove-in the two Tennessee runs.
Iowa relievers Randy Rosario, Rob Zastryzny, and Daury Torrez (combined) retired nine in a row.
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans left town today, so the South Bend Cubs had a full workout (baserunning drills, fielding practice, and BP) on Field #3 but did not play a game. As a result, Myrtle Beach LHSP Bryan Hudson (who remained behind in Mesa) and South Bend RHSP Erich Uelmen pitched the latter innings of the Iowa-Tennessee game, which was extended an extra inning so that all of the pitchers who were scheduled to throw could get their work.
Also, two pitchers who have been in the Rehab Throwing Program (RHP Erick Leal and LHP Manuel Rondon) got some work in the game as well. (Leal hadn't piched in a game since 2016).
The game was really two different games, because position players from the Eugene/Mesa (Extended Spring Training) squad replaced the Iowa and Tennessee position players after each of the I-Cubs and Smokies starters got two AB. (Christopher Morel -- who began the game as the Iowa DH and then moved to 3B in the 5th -- was the only player to play the entire game). So Uelmen faced the EXST Cubs rather than AAA hitters during his five innings of work, while Hudson faced the AA starting lineup first time through the order and then EXST guys the next time.
Here is the box score from the game:
Shawon Dunston Jr stroked an RBI double, reached base on a bunt single, and scored two runs, Trey Martin clubbed an RBI triple, stole two bases, and scored two runs, and Gioskar Amaya reached base three times on two walks and a single, helping the Myrtle Beach Pelicans to an 8-5 victory over the South Bend Cubs in Minor League Camp intrasquad action this morning on Field #6 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.
Frandy de la Rosa roped a triple and an RBI single and scored a run for South Bend in a losing cause.
Four pitchers threw in the game, with two starting pitchers "piggy-backing" for each squad. Of the four, Erick Leal had the worst outing, allowing five runs on eight hits (including two doubles and a triple) and a walk (plus a throwing error and a wild pitch) in just 3.2 IP.
The game was called with one out in the top of the 8th inning.
Here is the abridged box score from the game:
Alberto Mineo (a double and a run scored), Oliver Zapata (an RBI triple and a run scored), Jesse Hodges (an RBI double and a run scored), Kevin Brown (an RBI single and a run scored), and Rashad Crawford (RBI triple) sparked the Cubs to a four-run 2nd inning, Jeffrey Baez belted an RBI triple and a double and scored two runs, and Erick Leal threw five innings of one-run ball, as the Cubs hammered the Diamondbacks 8-2 on Field #5, and Trey Masek and four relievers combined to toss a six-hit shutout and Gleyber Torres singled twice, walked, and drove-in the game's only run, as the Cubs whitewashed the D'backs 1-0 on Field #6, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader played this morning at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.
In EXST Cubs roster news, RF Eloy Jimenez has been assigned to the DSL Cubs.
The 17-year old Jimenez (last year's top-rated July 2 international free-agent) hit 238/270/357 in 24 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (89 PA), with 4/22 BB/K. one HR, five doubles, a triple, and a team-leading 16 RBI. He had a sore arm in Minor League Camp that limited him to DH duty-only until mid-April, and even then he only started eight EXST games in RF. No question his defense needs a lot of work.
But Jimenez caught fire at the plate on May 14th, hitting 360/385/640 over his final seven games (26 PA). He hit his only Cactus League EXST home run in what turned out to be his last EXST game (versus the Angels in Tempe this past Tuesday), when he drove-in four runs with a three-run HR and an RBI single.
Here are the abridged box scores from today's games (Cubs players only):
Shilo McCall drilled a two-run single and a solo home run and scored twice, Jonah Arenado ripped an RBI single and two doubles and scored a run, Carlos Valdez singled twice, doubled, and scored three runs, Tyler Hollick smacked an RBI double, singled, walked, and scored a run, Julio Pena doubled twice and singled, and John Riley hammered a solo HR, as the Giants pounded out 19 hits (including seven doubles and two home runs) en route to a 10-5 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training Memorial Day action on Field #6 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.
Jeffrey Baez and Varonex Cuevas belted solo home runs for the Cubs.
The EXST Cubs hit only three HR over their first 37 Cactus League games, but they have hit nine HR over their last nine Cactus League Extended Spring Training games.
2014 EXST CUBS HOME RUNS (thru 5/26 - 46 games): 12
Jeffrey Baez - 2
Erick Castillo - 2
Rashad Crawford - 2
Varonex Cuevas - 2
Tyler Alamo - 1
Zak Blair - 1
Kevin Brown - 1
Rony Rodriguez - 1
RHRP Kyuji Fujikawa (on Cubs MLB 60-day DL - 2013 TJS rehab) started the game for the Cubs and threw a 14-pitch 1-2-3 1st inning (F-8, 6-3, K-looking). Fujikawa has thrown three times in the last six days, working one inning each time (40 pitches total - 23 strikes - 58% K), and he has retired all nine men he has faced in those 3.0 IP (4-3, F-9, P-3, K, F-8, 3-1, F-8, 6-3, K).
RHP Erick Leal had his second consecutive poor outing, allowing seven runs (all earned) on 11 hits (including four doubles and two HR) and a walk in 5.0 IP (71 pitches). Over his last two games (8.0 IP - 141 pitches) Leal has allowed 13 runs (12 ER), 15 hits, and five walks.
Christhian Perez tossed four innings of one-hit shutout ball in relief, Robert Martinez hammered an RBI triple and a double and scored a run, Chris Wolfe drilled two RBI singles, and Brett Vertigan smacked a solo home run, leading the Athletics to a 5-2 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.
Rashad Crawford belted an RBI triple and a single, stole a base, and scored a run for the Cubs in a losing cause.
RHPs Trevor Graham and Erick Leal "piggy-backed" for the Cubs and threw a combined 7.2 IP, allowing all five runs (four earned), 10 hits (including two doubles, two triples, and a home run), and two walks, with nine strikeouts.
The way things are playing out so far at EXST, it appears very likely that Graham and Leal will form 2/5 of the Boise starting rotation when the NWL season commences next month, with LHP Tyler Ihrig and RHPs Trevor Clifton and Zak Hermans being other 3/5 (at least until one or two of the better college pitchers selected by the Cubs in next month's First-Year Player Draft get stretched-out to start).
The Cubs have now lost six straight Cactus League EXST games, and after thirty games (halfway through the Cactus League Extended Spring Training schedule), the Cubs record stands at 11-18-1.
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
Shilo McCall lined a walk-off two-run double into the left-centerfield alley with two outs in the bottom of the 9th to cap a three-run rally as the Giants edged the Cubs 4-3 on Field #1, and Arnaldo Calero looped an RBI single over the second-baseman's head into short right field to tie the game in the top of the 8th and Tyler Alamo shot a sharp grounder through the box into CF for what turned out to be the game-winning RBI single in the top of the 9th, as the Cubs derailed the Giants 2-1 on Field #2, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader played this morning at Indian School Park in Scottsdale, AZ.
RHPs Erick Leal and Trevor Graham were the starting pitchers for the Cubs, and both threw three innings of shutout ball. Leal had the more-impressive outing of the two because he had to pitch around two errors, striking out four and inducing two timely DP grounders to get out of trouble. RHP Luis Hernandez "piggybacked" with Leal and also threw three innings (the three middle innings) on Field #1, although he did surrender a run, two hits, and three walks.
Jorge Soler continued his EXST rehab assignment with Squad "A" on Field #2, playing RF for five innings and getting a total of five Plate Appearances (one in each of the first five innings). He went hitless in the game, although he did reach base once. Specifically he grounded out 6-3 in the 1st inning, was called out on strikes (a three-pitch AB) in the 2nd, reached base after being hit by a pitch (left shoulder) in the 3rd, grounded out 6-3 again the 4th, and flied out to the warning track in front of the Batter's Eye in CF (400+ feet from home plate) in the 5th.
In four EXST games this week, Soler has totaled 20 Plate Appearances. He is 3-17 with an RBI double (line drive into the LF corner) and two singles (both ground singles, one of which drove-in a run), two fly outs (one of which was an RBI sacrifice fly), ten ground outs (all ten being one or two-hop choppers hit to the left-side of the infield), and he reached base on an E-1. He has struck out twice (once swinging and once looking), and he has reached base twice on an HBP (he was hit in the lower back and on the left shoulder). He has yet to draw a walk He has played RF twice (both times for five innings), and he does not appear to be favoring his right leg while running, although he has been just jogging to 1st base on the ground outs.
Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):