Cubs Pitchers Loosen Up Rockies with 19 Strikeouts
Doug Davis threw three innings of one-hit shutout ball, Todd Wellemeyer threw a 1-2-3 13-pitch inning, and Matt Loosen struck out eight in just 2.2 IP, as five EXST Cubs pitchers struck out 19 EXST Rockies batters en route to a 3-2 victory in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.
Although the Cubs were ahead 3-0 after the end of the Rockies 9th, the game was extended to 11 innings so that additional Cubs and Rockies pitchers could get their pre-scheduled work.
Making his second start since signing a minor league contract with the Cubs last week, Davis (post-2010 elbow surgery rehab) made quick work of the Rockies, needing just 24 pitches (20 strikes) to retire nine of the ten men he faced. The only blemish was a two-out triple in the right-center gap in the top of the 1st inning, and that runner was left-stranded. Davis struck out two (both swinging), and had a 6/1 GO/FO rate, as his sinker was working very well. The veteran soft-tossing lefty kept the young Rockies hitters off-balance throughout his three-inning stint, mixing an 84 MPH sinker with a curve and a change-up.
Todd Wellemeyer (sore hip rehab) followed Davis to the mound, and had an easy 1-2-3 4th inning (F-8, 4-3, K), retiring the side on 13 pitches (nine strikes).
Because they threw so few pitches in the EXST game on Field #3, both Davis and Wellemeyer moved over to Field #2 to pitch in a “sim game” that was already in progress (Dustin Fitzgerald and Ramon Garcia had just completed their two innings), and threw an additional inning (15 pitches) each on top of their EXST game work.
RHP Matt Loosen (Cubs 2010 23rd round pick out of the U. of Jacksonville) took the mound to start the top of the 5th, and had an outstanding outing, striking out eight (seven swinging) in just 2.2 IP. Loosen did allow a double and he hit a batter, but he was mostly just plain unhittable. In two EXST outings so far, Loosen has thrown 6.1 IP of shutout ball, allowing three hits, one HBP, and no walks, with 10 strikeouts. He would likely be at the top of the list should the Cubs look to promote a pitcher from Extended Spring Training to Peoria.
RHP Yao-Lin Wang also threw 2.2 IP of shutout ball today, allowing a single and a walk, with three strikeouts (two swinging).
LHP Casey Harman was the one Cub pitcher who did allow runs today, giving up two (both earned) on three hits (two triples and an inside-the-park HR), although he did strike out five (four swinging).
The Cubs scored single runs in the 1st, 5th, and 8th innings. Kyung-Min Na led off the bottom of the 1st by scalding a single through the box, and scored on a one-out Wilson Contreras RBI double. Jesus Morelli reached base on an error to start the 5th, advanced to 3rd base on a two-base throwing error (errant pick-off attempt), and scored on a line drive SF to left by Johan DeJesus. Morelli then finished the Cubs scoring with a solo HR over the LF fence and onto 8th Street to open the bottom of the 8th.
Here is today’s abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Kyung-Min Na, CF: 1-4 (1B, P-6, L-9, 4-3, R)
2. Dustin Harrington, SS: 1-4 (6-3, 6-3, F-9, 1B)
3. Wilson Contreras, 1B: 2-4 (2B, 5-3, 5-3, 1B, RBI, CS)
4. Dong-Yub Kim, DH #1: 1-4 (1B, F-7, K, K)
5. Dustin Geiger, 3B: 1-4 (P-2, K, 1-3, 1B)
6. Jesus Morelli, RF: 1-4 (5-3, E-6, HR, 4-3, 2 R, RBI)
7a. Johan DeJesus, C-DH: 0-2 (5-3, L-7 SF, K, RBI)
7b. Max Kwan, PH: 0-1 (5-3)
8. Eduardo Gonzalez, LF: 0-3 (K, 3-1, 6-3)
9. Hector Suarez, DH-C: 0-3 (3-1, K, 4-3)
10. Gregori Gonzalez, 2B: 0-3 (K, 3-1, P-4)
1. Doug Davis: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 24 pitches (20 strikes), 6/1 GO/FO
2. Todd Wellemeyer: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 13 pitches (9 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
3. Matt Loosen: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 47 pitches (35 strikes)
4. Yao-Lin Wang: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 46 pitches (29 strikes), 2/3 GO/FO
5. Casey Harman: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, 33 pitches (26 strikes)
3B Dustin Geiger E5 – fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely
WEATHER: Partly cloudy & breezy with temperatures in the 80’s
Interesting split on Heyward according to ESPN. As a CF, his slash line .292/.363/.375/.738. At RF: .212/.204/.300/.604. 21/72 as a CF, 58/273 as a RF.
He's also been better when batting 2nd, but he had a nice start in the 6 hole, but has slumped ever since. He was heating up before the All Star break, but is only hitting .108 in the 2nd half.
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.
The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.
If the ball didn't deflect off the pitcher's mound, the game wouldn't have ended. Montgomery did miss his location though, but if that same contact was made and went in any of direction, good chance of ground out if it doesn't get through.
If it was 1 night later, Chapman would be out there and we probably would be going to extras.
Also, If KB wasn't robbed of a HR, perhaps we would have won. We will never know. Nice play by Melky though.