Cubs Rally to Pound White Sox

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Nothing was going right for the Cubs early on as Travis Wood couldn’t keep the ball down, and the Sox took advantage.  A three spot for the Sox in the first put the Cubs in a hole but they successfully dug out with the long ball.  On the day, the Cubs “B” lineup cracked four dingers, turning that 3-0 deficit into a 10-7 victory.  Back to Wood, he worked in and out of trouble all day, he tossed 4.1 innings, giving up four runs on eleven (!) hits while walking none, and striking out two.  Back to the dingers, David Ross, Arismendy Alcantara, Taylor Teagarden, and Anthony Giansanti all left the yard, tasty.  It was another strong game from Albert Almora, no he didn’t take a lot of pitches, but finished the day 2-for-4 with a run scored, he’s now hitting .381 on the spring.

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Spring Fever – March 20, 2015 (Cubs Lineup, Broadcast Info)

ALMORA 7-17

It’s the first taste of the 2015 Cubs/White Sox rivalry today at 3:05 PM CST on Comcast SportsNet Chicago.  Travis Wood gets the ball for the Cubs as he closes in on the 5th spot in the rotation, if his arm doesn’t fall off today then I think he’s announced as said 5th starter shortly.   A number of regulars are on the bench today after playing last night against the D-Backs, still some exciting players to watch.  One of those players is Albert Almora, he’s having a tremendous spring and looks to be healthy and ready to break out this year.

1. La Stella – 3B
2. Alcantara – 2B
3. Sweeney – RF
4. Lake – LF
5. Baxter – 1B
6. Almora – CF
7. Ross – C
8. Herrera – SS
9. Wood – SP

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Cubs Outlast Dodgers For Another Win (VIDEO)

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You would think a five run lead with Jake Arrieta on the mound would be safe, it almost wasn’t.  The Dodgers knocked around Arrieta in the second inning as they scored four times to cut a five run deficit to one.  To Arrieta’s credit he battled and was able to work four innings, giving up said four runs on seven hits while walking two, and striking out five.  The bullpen did the job today as C.J. Edwards, Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon, and Joe Ortiz combined to work five scoreless innings, giving up five hits while walking one, and striking out four.

A lot of good swings from the Cubs today as they pounded out thirteen hits while scoring seven times.  Chris Coghlan made some loud noises with his bat, he finished the day 1-for-3 with a two-run blast, three RBI, and a run scored.  Jorge Soler, and Albert Almora both continued their strong springs this afternoon with two hits each.  Almora finished the day 2-for-3 with two doubles, two RBI, and two runs scored, he’s now hitting .353 on the spring.  After starting the spring 1-8-1, the Cubs have now won six of seven, and are playing all around better baseball.

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Albert Almora Ready to Make an Impact

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What were you doing when you were 20 years old?  Some of you might not be able to answer in a public forum, but Albert Almora is gearing up for his 4th year as a professional baseball player.  That’s right, he’s only 20 years old, feels like he has been around forever.  I also stopped short of saying “4th FULL year” as a pro because Almora has only really had one true full season.  Injuries are the devil.

Injuries have held Almora back almost from the first day in the Cubs organization.  Almora was drafted in 2012 by the Cubs, he was the sixth pick overall, hence the expectations.  It was the 2012 Boise Hawks playoff run that I truly began to understand what kind of ballplayer Almora was, go hard 100% of the time even if a wall is in the way, oops.  The wall took a toll on Almora, literally, and he has never really been able to recover as it’s been one injury after another.  In three seasons with the Cubs organization Almora has played in 219 games across five levels, that’s not enough games for such a young player to actually work on his game.  2014 saw a rebound of sorts health wise for Almora as he was able to play in 125 games combined with Daytona and Tennessee.

We finally got a glimpse of Albert Almora the baseball player, and we realized one thing, he needs to be more patient at the plate.  In 529 plate appearances Almora walked 14 times, wrap your head around that for a second, that’s almost impossible.  Improved approach at the plate is important for Almora if he wants to remain with the Cubs as he will be expected to be that guy who can get on base in front of the mashers in the powerful Cubs lineup of the future.  If the injury bug can ignore Almora this year I totally expect him to break out in Tennessee, which is where he will start the 2015 season.  I feel like Almora really tried to do too much with the bat last year, sure in 2013 he only walked 17 times, but that was in half the number of plate appearances as 2014 (272).  Defensively the kid has some serious skills in centerfield, he can go get the ball with the best of them, and probably has the best defensive tools in the Cubs system.  For that reason he can be a difference maker on a contending team, if he can stay healthy, and find a way to improve his approach at the plate then he becomes more than just a “guy.”  His natural ability to lead, and his History of winning could do this group a lot of good down the road.

Definitely watch for this during spring training, lets see if Almora can see more pitches, and make pitchers work to get him out.  So far this spring he is 2-for-2, hasn’t seen a lot of pitches, but he’s picking on strikes, I expect big things in 2015.

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Cubs Falter Late (Twice) but Dingers Everywhere!

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The young Cubs provided the fireworks early against the Giants before the bullpen couldn’t find away to get outs, and blew a 5-0 lead en route to an 8-6 loss.  It was a lineup that had Cubs fans buzzing, Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, and Kyle Schwarber, oh my.  It was Schwarber who did the heavy lifting as he jacked a grand slam in his first at bat, giving the Cubs an early 4-0 lead.  The Cubs pitching made that hold up early on as Jacob Turner, and Pierce Johnson were on top of their game, Johnson was particularly impressive.

At the plate:

  • Kyle Schwarber was the star at the plate going 1-for-3 with said grand slam.
  • Jorge Soler hit a number of balls hard, he finished the day 1-for-3 with a run scored.
  • Billy McKinney came on late and went deep, he finished the day 1-for-1 with an RBI.
  • Kris Bryant went 0-for-2 with a walk, and a run scored.
  • Addison Russell was 1-for-3 with a run scored.
  • Albert Almora didn’t start but finished the day 2-for-2, good to see.

On the mound:

  • Jacob Turner got the start, and battled command early, he worked two scoreless innings, giving up one hit while walking two, and striking out one.
  • Pierce Johnson was outstanding, he worked two scoreless innings, giving up no hits while walking one, and striking out one.
  • Corey Black struggled, he worked one inning, giving up one run on one hit while walking two, and hitting Hunter Pence, breaking his forearm, ouch.
  • Hunter Cervenka was worse, he was only able to register one out, he gave up five runs, four earned, on four hits while walking two.

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A tie.  The Cubs and A’s tied today.  Mike Olt got the offense off and running early as he blasted a two-out, two-run bomb.  Unfortunately that was all the Cubs could muster as they went scoreless the rest of the way while scratching out only five hits.  The pitching was outstanding as Travis Wood, Neil Ramirez, and Drake Britton, among others, shut down the Athletics offense.

At the plate:

  • MIKE OLT!  Olt finished theday 1-for-2 with a home run, and two RBI.
  • Chris Coghlan was 1-for-1 with a run scored.
  • Newcomer Miguel Montero was 1-for-2 in the tie.

On the mound:

  • Travis Wood got the start, and was flawless.  Wood worked two scoreless innings giving up no hits, walking none while striking out two.
  • Neil Ramirez was stupid good per usual.  Ramirez worked one scoreless inning while striking out two.
  • Drake Britton was pretty good in his first audition for a bullpen spot.  Britton worked a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.
  • Gonzalez Germen had the plate jump around a bit, but he was fairly effective.  Germen worked two scoreless innings, giving up one hit while walking two, and striking out two.

 

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Riding the Bus; Cubs Minor League Reports (7/28/2014)

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It’s back!  Hopefully for good, technology can be a real…. you know what..

Smokies 7-28

 

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  A huge night for the Smokies hitters in this one, as eight of the nine starters had at least one hit, and seven of the nine starters had at least one RBI.

At the Plate:

  • Albert Almora finally had his break out game for the Smokies.  Almora was 4-for-6 with a double, two RBI’s, and three runs scored.
  • Addison Russell continued his torrid pace of late, he went 4-for-6 as well, with a double, an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Lars Anderson showed off his power in this one, he was 1-for-3 with a home run, two RBI’s, two walks, and two runs scored.
  • Dustin Geiger had himself a game, he was 2-for-2 with a double, three RBI’s, three walks (CUBS WAY!), two runs scored, and a stolen base.

On the Mound:

  • Eduardo Figueroa did just enough to walk away with the win, he worked six innings, giving up five runs on four hits, while walking three, and striking out four.
  • Zach Cates also had to battle while not having his best stuff, he worked 1.2 innings, giving up two runs, on three hits, while walking one, and striking out two.
  • Frank Batista shut the door on this one, picking up his eighth save, he worked 1.1 innings, giving up one run on three hits, while striking out one.

Daytona 7-28

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It was the Juan Paniagua show in Daytona last night, as the recently promoted right hander twirled a gem as he picked up his first High A victory.

At the Plate:

  • Jacob Hannemann has really performed well since being promoted to Daytona, he was 1-for-3 with a double, two walks, a stolen base, and two runs scored in the win.
  • Willson Contreras had a big night, he was 3-for-5 with a double, and two RBI’s.
  • Billy McKinney just hits, that is all he has done since being acquired in the Hammel/Samardzija trade with Oakland.  He was 2-for-5 with a double, and two RBI’s, he’s now hitting .312 on the season.
  • Gioskar Amaya had another solid night out of the nine hole, he was 2-for-3 with a walk, and a run scored.

On the Mound:

  • Juan Paniagua was dominant in this one, he worked six scoreless innings, giving up two hits, while walking two, and striking out six.
  • Tyler Bremer was brilliant out of the pen, he worked two scoreless innings, while striking out two.
  • Austin Kirk mopped things up in the ninth, he worked a scoreless frame, while giving up one hit, and striking out one.

Cougars 7-28

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The Cougars lost…… at…..home…..  I know, it totally doesn’t feel natural, like the Universe is out of tilt, I think we’ll survive.  The two best teams in the Midwest League went toe-to-toe, and the Whitecaps came out on top.

At the Plate:

  • Shawon Dunston is heating up, he went 2-for-5 with two doubles (12 on the year), and an RBI.
  • Will Remillard was one of the few Cougars to get on base multiple times, he went 1-for-3 with a walk.

On the Mound:

  • Duary Torrez did everything he could to keep his team in the game, he finished his night with a no decision.  Torrez worked six innings, giving up one run on five hits, while walking one, and striking out four.
  • Michael Heesch struggled with his command in this one, he worked three innings, giving up one run on two hits, while walking three (see?), and striking out three.

Hawks 7-28

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The Boise Hawks just couldn’t get the bats going in this one, as they could only manage one run on five hits in a 6-1 loss to the Hops.

At the Plate:

  • Danny Canela was one of the few Hawks to find some success, he was 1-for-4 with a double, he’s now hitting .281 on the season.
  • Danny Lockhart, David Bote, Jesse Hodges, and Bryant Flete all had one hit in the loss, all singles.

On the Mound:

  • Trevor Clifton got the start for the Hawks, and struggled throughout as he suffered his second loss of the season.  Clifton worked 3.2 innings, giving up five runs, four earned, on six hits, while walking four, and striking out three.
  • Yomar Morel didn’t have much luck either out of the pen, he worked 1.1 innings, giving up one run on two hits, while walking one, and striking out one.
  • Tommy Thorpe was brilliant, he worked three perfect innings, registering two strikeouts.

AZL Cubs 7-28

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Plenty of offense for the Cubs in this one, unfortunately the pitching was lacking.  The D-backs pounded out twelve hits en route to a 12-6 victory over the Cubs Arizona League squad.

At the Plate:

  • Kevonte Mitchell can swing it, he was 3-for-5 with a stolen base, an RBI, and two runs scored, he’s now hitting .317 on the season.
  • Gleyber Torres  is someone you will be hearing a lot about moving forward, he was 3-for-4 with a triple (2nd of the season), a walk, two RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Roney Alcala had a solid game near the bottom of the order, he was 2-for-4 with a double, and a run scored in the loss.

On the Mound:

  • C.J. Edwards was back on the mound as he continues his rehab, and he was pretty good.  Edwards worked 3.2 innings, giving up one run on one hit, while walking three, and striking out six.
  • Adbert Alzolay struggled out of the pen, he worked one inning, giving up four runs on three hits, while walking one, and striking out two.
  • Alberto Diaz couldn’t find the plate, and he paid for it.  Diaz worked only a third of an inning, giving up three runs, two earned, on one hit, while walking four (see?), and striking out one.
  • Tanner Griggs was also beat up, he worked 2.1 innings, giving up four runs, three earned, on six hits, while walking two.
  • Andin Diaz was solid, he worked 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit, and striking out two.

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Riding The Bus; Cubs Minor League Reports (4/17/2014)

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THURSDAY, APRIL 17, 2014

Iowa 4-17-14

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Iowa jumped out to a 3-0 lead early on in this one before having to fight back with two in the seventh to beat New Orleans 5-4.  Definitely not how you draw up a typical win as the Iowa Cubs defense made six (SIX!) errors in this one, I guess a win is a win, time to forget that defensive “effort” .. yikes.

At the Plate:

  • Matt Szczur did a solid job from the lead-off spot, as he went 1-for-4 with a walk, a stolen base, and a run scored.
  • Arismendy Alcantara has been swinging it well lately, and he was good again today.  AA went 1-for-5 with a triple, an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Chris Valaika is making a big push to get the call to the Majors, he was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, an RBI, and a run scored.  He is now hitting .361 on the season.
  • Christian Villanueva had an encouraging day at the plate, the third baseman was 1-for-2 with two walks, a double, and a run scored.
  • Logan Watkins made up for a rough day at the field with a solid day at the plate.  Watkins went 2-for-2 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored to go along with his two errors.
  • Eli Whiteside also joined in the fun as he went 2-for-3 with a walk, and an RBI.  The Cubs walked seven times in this one, good to see.

On the Mound:

  • Eric Jokisch got the start today, and was pretty good, except for fielding the ball as he made two errors as well.  Jokisch worked 5.2 innings, giving up three runs, all unearned, on three hits, while walking two, and striking out five.
  • Alberto Cabrera was the first guy out of the pen for the Cubs, and earned his second win of the season.  Cabrera worked 1.1 scoreless innings, he gave up one hit, while walking one, and striking out two.
  • Neil Ramirez had a solid outing today, he worked a scoreless inning, while walking one, and striking out three.
  • Brian Schlitter worked a bumpy ninth to pick up his second save of the season.  Schlitter gave up one run on one hit, while walking one to close it out.

Smokies 4-17-14 Game One

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Rough go of it for the Smokies in game one, as they could only manage one hit as they were shut out by the Jackson Generals, 4-0.  Command, or lack thereof, doomed the Smokies staff, but not much you can do when you get no runs of support.

At the Plate:

  • Dustin Geiger had the lone hit for the Smokies, as he went 1-for-2 to raise his average to .289 on the season.  The Smokies walked just twice in this one, while striking out eleven times.

On the Mound:

  • Corey Black got the start tonight, and the loss, as he couldn’t find the zone consistently enough.  Black worked four innings, giving up three runs on two hits, while walking five (see?), and striking out three.
  • Austin Kirk kept the Smokies in things as he worked two innings, giving up one run on one hit, while striking out one.
  • Tony Zych mopped things up in this one, and also saw the plate dancing around on him as he worked one scoreless inning, giving up two hits, while walking two, and striking out one.

Kane County 4-17-14

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It was all Kane County, all the time in this one, as the Cougars had a 10-0 lead by the fourth inning en route to their seventh straight win, a 13-1 thrashing of the Dragons.  The Cougars pounded out nineteen hits in the win, and only allowed two against, pure domination.

At the Plate:

  • Jacob Hannemann got things off on the right foot from the lead-off spot all night, he went 2-for-6 with an RBI, a stolen base, and a run scored.
  • Carlos Penalver was solid once again, as he went 2-for-5 with an RBI, his sixth stolen base of the season, and a run scored.
  • Ben Carhart played a big role in the production tonight, he went 2-for-6 with two doubles, two RBI’s, and two runs scored.
  • Yasiel Balaguert has been the catalyst for catastrophe for this club, he went 2-for-5 with a walk, and an RBI, his twelfth of the season.
  • Jacob Rogers also enjoys hitting doubles, he was 3-for-6 with two doubles, and two runs scored.
  • Danny Lockhart was on base all night, and scored most of the time as well.  Lockhart went 2-for-3 with two walks, and four runs scored.
  • Will Remillard had a huge game from the bottom of the order, he went 4-for-5 with two doubles, and FIVE RBI’s in the win.

On the Mound:

  • Daury Torrez didn’t want to give the hitters all the spotlight in this one as he was flat out brilliant in picking up his second win of the season.  Torrez worked eight innings, giving up one run on just two hits, while walking one, and striking out four.
  • Nathan Dorris worked the ninth and was able to hang onto that twelve run lead.

Smokies 4-17-14 Game Two

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The Smokies were able to exact some revenge in game two as they fought back from an early 2-0 deficit to beat the Generals 3-2.  The Smokies got a lot of help from the Generals defense as they committed two errors, and allowed two unearned runs to score, at that was the difference.

At the Plate:

  • Kris Bryant has been showing some solid patience at the plate as of late, he was 0-for-1 in this one, but had two walks.  He now has walked eight times this season, and struck out thirteen times.
  • Charles Cutler was 1-for-2 with a double, his second of the season, and a run scored.
  • Jeudy Valdez had one of the bigger hits of the night, as he went 1-for-3 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Taylor Davis was able to drive in the other Smokies run, he went 1-for-3 with said RBI.

On the Mound:

  • Dae-Eun Rhee got the start in game two and held his own after some early struggles, he worked four innings, giving up two runs on six hits, while walking one, and striking out four.
  • Hunter Cervenka picked up the win out of the bullpen, and was solid in doing so.  Cervenka worked two scoreless innings, giving up three hits, while striking out three.
  • Armando Rivero made things interesting in the seventh (Doubleheaders in AA are seven innings), but was able to pick up his third save of the season.  Rivero gave up one hit, and walked one, while strking out the side to close it out.

Daytona 4-17-14

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It’s been a season of discontent for Daytona, and that continued tonight as they fall to the Yankees 6-5 after erasing a four run deficit.  The loss dropped Daytona to 2-12 on the season, just nothing going right.

At the Plate:

  • Tim Saunders continued his hot start to 2014, as he went 2-for-4 with his first home run of the season, a walk, a stolen base, two RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Nice to see Albert Almora back in the lineup, he went 1-for-5 with a run scored.
  • Bijan Rademacher had a solid game, he went 1-for-4 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored in the loss.
  • Rock Shoulders seems to be getting hot, he went 3-for-4 with a walk, and an RBI in this one.  The D-Cubs were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

On the Mound:

  • Rob Zastryzny got the start tonight, and was wild in the strike zone, as he worked four innings, giving up four runs on nine hits, while walking none, and striking out one.
  • Zach Cates was really good out of the pen, as he worked four innings, giving up one run on two hits, while walking one, and striking out two.
  • Arodys Vizcaino continues to impress in the early going, he worked one scoreless inning, giving up one hit, while walking one, and striking out three.  Vizcaino topped out at 98 MPH tonight, a very good sign.
  • Andrew McKirahan ended up taking the loss as he worked one inning, giving up one run on three hits, while striking out one.

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