I Can See Four Miles (ABs)
Aaron Miles got four at bats and reached base twice, and four Cubs pitchers combined to throw a four-hit shutout with 13 strikeouts, as the EXST Cubs blanked the EXST A's 5-0 this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 under mostly-cloudy skies.
Miles, on the Cubs 15-day DL since May 27th with a sore shoulder, got the start at shortstop, and hit 2nd in each of the first four innings. He was the middle-man on a 4-6-3 DP in the top of the 2nd, but otherwise had a quiet day in the field throughout his four innings at SS.
At the plate, Miles grounded out to 2nd base (4-3) on a hit & run play that advanced a runner to 2nd base in the 1st inning, walked in the 2nd inning, popped up to short in the 3rd inning, and singled to right (sending the runner on 1st to 3rd) in his final AB in the 4th.
In addition, IF-OF Ryan Freel (on the Cubs 15-day DL with a strained hamstring since May 28th) and INF Luis Rivas (on the Iowa Cubs DL with a hamstring strain since April) took "live" BP, but did not play in the game. (Rivas has actually been at Fitch Park for several weeks, but he is just now starting to get out onto the field).
18-year old Dominican LHP Jeffry Antigua got the start for the EXST Cubs today and was outstanding, throwing four shutout innings, allowing two ground singles and no walks, while striking out eight. He kept the ball down on every hitter, getting four ground outs in addition to the eight punchouts, including the 4-6-3 DP that featured a nice "turn" by Aaron Miles.
19-year old RHP Tarlandus Mitchell (Cubs 2008 22nd round draft pick out of Alto HS - Alto, TX) followed Antigua to the mound, and threw two hitless & shutout innings, striking out four while walking two. Mitchell had a very poor outing last week in Tempe (he was yanked out of the game after only one inning), so I'm sure he felt good with his comeback outing today.
RHP (and ex-OF) Andres Quezada then threw two shutout innings, and RHP Carlos Rojas finished up with one inning of shutout relief.
The Cubs offense got going right off the bat in the bottom of the 1st. Jose Valdez was hit on the foot with a pitch (he also was hit on the same foot with a pitch in his next AB), and advanced to 2nd on the Aaron Miles ground out. Then with two outs, John Contreras blasted a double off the LF fence, scoring Valdez.
The Cubs scored again in the 4th. Matt Cerda (2008 4th round pick out of Oceanside HS - Oceanside, CA) led off with a walk, and advanced to 3rd on a line single to right by Miles. Then with one out, Chris Weimer lined a single to CF, scoring Cerda.
The Cubs got three insurance runs in the 8th, as 20-year old lanky Dominican switch-hitting infielder Robert Bautista (batting right-handed) led-off the inning by blasting a home run over the left-field fence onto 8th Street. (The normally light-hitting Bautista hit an inside-the-park HR yesterday, so maybe I should stop comparing his speed and defensive play to Junior Lake and his hitting prowess to Veronica Lake). Jose Valdez and Dwayne Kemp singled, and Valdez scored on a passed ball. Then Contreras singled, scoring Kemp.
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Jose Valdez, CF: 1-2 (HBP, HBP, F-8, 1B + 2 R, 1 CS)
2a. Aaron Miles, SS: 0-1 (4-3)
2b. Dwayne Kemp, SS: 1-2 (4-3, 1B + 1 R)
3. Matt Cerda, DH-C: 0-3 (F-7, BB, F-9, 4-3 + 1 R)
3x. Aaron Miles, PH: 1-1 (1B)
4. John Contreras, DH #2: 3-4 (2B, 1B, K, 1B + 2 RBI)
5. Chris Weimer, 1B: 2-4 (K, 1B, 3B, L-6 + 1 RBI)
6. Jae-Hoon Ha, LF 2-4 (1B, 1B, K, 1-3)
6x. Aaron Miles, PH: 0-0 (BB)
7. Logan Watkins, 2B: 1-2 (1-3 SH, P-6, 1B)
8. Jesus Morelli, RF: 0-2 (5-2 FC, K, 5-3 SH)
9. Alvaro Sosa, C-DH: 1-3 (F-7, E-6, 1B + 1 PO)
10. Robert Bautista, 3B: 1-3 (F-7, F-7, HR + 1 R, 1 RBI)
10x. Aaron Miles, PH: 0-1 (P-6)
1. Jeffry Antigua - 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K, 1 GIDP, 4/0 GO/FO
2. Tarlandus Mitchell - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K
3. Andres Quezada - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 4/1 GO/FO
4. Carlos Rojas - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1/2 GO/FO
1. C Alvaro Sosa - overthrow at 2nd base on stolen base attempt, allowing runner to advance to 3rd.
2. 2B Logan Watkins - dropped pop-up in short RF, allowing batter to reach base.
1. Alvaro Sosa: 0-1 CS, 1 E (see above)
2. Matt Cerda: 1-3 CS
WEATHER: temperature in the 90's, mostly cloudy, not as hot as yesterday,
I definitely saw ballpark radar guns go up to 102 on Kerry Wood back when he was still a starter, but who knows how accurate they were.
They've mentioned Henry Rodriguez (2013), Chris Carpenter, and Andrew Cashner as Cubs who have gone 100+. They said Rodriguez was tops at 100.8. Who knows before 2008?
He'll play regardless of what he does, just like Soriano played for seven years before they finally ditched him.
What can they do? All I can think of is they can keep hiring and firing hitting coaches until they find one who can get him to stop hitting balls with the handle of the bat.
(All those broken bats added to his paycheck is just a bit much.)
Lester will probably be all right.
I think Arrieta might have added too much muscle preparing for that butt-naked ESPN photo shoot. Pitchers are supposed to be loose, not muscled up.
I have basically written off Heyward for this year -- if you are working on major swing changes in late July, you are going to struggle. Hopefully, he can be more productive at the plate next year. It will be interesting to see what they do with him if the Cardinals keep winning and close the gap. Heyward is dead last in the NL in slugging and in the bottom 5 in OPS -- yet still has a positive WAR. Hunh.
Has anybody in a Cub uniform ever thrown a ball 103 before?
He certainly looks better, no doubt, and is a different player than what we saw when he first came up. Full credit to him for changing his approach and saving his career.
But he has zero walks in 35AB since the break, and 10 in 251 AB all year. He does seem to be able to hit some pitches out of the zone, but, a guy with his pop should be drawing more walks. However, it's easy to forget he is still only 23, and probably trying to make an impact to prove he should be an everyday player.
The usual suspects, Molina and Wong. Gyorko drew a walk with two outs, none on. I recall us (particularly Szczur and Bryant) swinging at everything Familia threw.
Yup. Thanks Q
Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTNekUcY-XM
I for one hope that Sosa comes back soon.
O/B interesting you should mention that. Google ESPN Science Aroldis Chapman and you'll be treated to how his mechanics and delivery are possibly historic. It's the 120% of his body stretch plus the torque. They compare him to the Unit and NRyan.
Amazing how much lower the production gets when Bryant runs into a mini-cold streak. He doesn't stay cold for long. If just one of Zobrist or, gulp, Heyward, gets hot, they oughta have one more really nice winning streak in them. Having a closer that you have absolute confidence in can't hurt.
I hope they hold onto Jimenez. Outfield depth is questionable, especially with McKinney, who struggled this year but still, gone.
You don't think he's improved? He looks completely different out there than he did when he first came up. The last I checked his K rate was in the low 20% range - 22-23 or so. When he came up it was 40%+.
To me, what is scary about him if I'm the other guy is that he IS learning the strike zone. This guy could easily be the MVP someday.
So, playing .500 for the rest of the year puts them at 91 wins. You would think there is enough talent to do a little better than that, right?