Slaughter Rules and Verdugo Goes Yard at EXST

Jake Slaughter drilled two singles (including a two-run single that put the "A" team on the board), walked, and scored a run, Herson Perez smacked an inside-the-park HR (ball bounced off fence and rolled into LF corner and Perez slid head-first into home just ahead of the tag), and SP Carlos Ocampo hurled four innings of shutout ball and combined with two relievers on a four-hitter, as the Cubs "A" team defeated the Cubs "B" team 8-1 in Extended Spring Training intrasquad game action Thursday morning on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.   

Luis Verdugo belted a solo HR to account for the lone "B" team run. 

"B" team SP Didier Vargas retired the first nine batters he faced (6-3, K, L-9 * K, F-9, F-7 * K, K, 1-3) before running into trouble and surrendering two runs in the 4th on Slaughter's two-out two-run single.

The game was pre-planned as an eight-inning contest. 

Here is the box score from the game: 

Cubs No Match for Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields

Jose Daniel Reyes collected four hits (three singles and a triple), scored a run, and drove-in three, Jose Curpa belted two triples, scored two runs, and picked-up an RBI with a bases-loaded HBP, Jesus Marriaga tripled, singled, walked, and scored a run, Ryan January drilled a solo HR and a single, and walked and scored, and SP Luis Frias hurled four innings of one run / two-hit ball with seven strikeouts, as the Diamondbacks hammered the Cubs "A" team 8-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Wednesday morning on Whirlwind Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, east of Scottsdale, AZ.        

Josue Huma walloped a solo HR and Oswaldo Pina smacked an RBI triple for the Cubs. 

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

Cubs @ Astros: Hendricks vs. Miley (Game 53)

CHC (30-23): RHP Kyle Hendricks (4-4, 3.34 ERA)
HOU (37-19): LHP Wade Miley (5-2, 3.32 ERA)
First pitch 7:10pmCDT

Kyle Hendricks starts and plays the role of stopper in the series finale against the former division rivals. After three dominant starts, Hendricks has gone 1-0 in his last two, allowing 7 earned runs but also striking out 13 in 11.2 innings pitched against the Nationals and the Reds. Only Chirinos and Diaz (currently on the IL) have faced him. Chirinos is 0-2. These replacement Astros have been more than the Cubs could handle in the first two games. So, watch out for Some Dude.

Cubs Rehabbers Shut-Down D'backs at Riverview

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):

Cubs @ Astros: Lester vs. Martin (Game 53)

CHC (30-22): LHP Jon Lester (3-3, 2.68 ERA)
HOU (36-19): RHP Corbin Martin (1-1, 4.97 ERA)
First pitch 7:10pmCDT

The Cubs mounted a comeback bid yesterday, but it wasn't enough to overcome Hamels' rough start in the series opener. Jon Lester heads to the mound to even things out tonight. He's looked very hittable in his last two starts, allowing nine earned runs on 17 hits (three homers) in 8.1 innings pitched. Michael Brantley is 8-24 off of him with 9 strikeouts. Josh Reddick it 2-10 with 4 whiffs. No other active Astro has more than 3 at bats against him.

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