I'll give Oscar De La Cruz (L, 1-3, 9.82) this, he is almost always noteworthy. It is just the negative notes are beginning to outweigh by the positive. If it isn't a nagging injury, velocity fluctuations, or as has been the case in the early going of 2018, an unexpected lack of control and command. Those trends are sometimes precursors to arm injuries. De La Cruz has avoided the knife so far in his career, but I have to say, the concern is growing in my mind.
If try to find a sliver of hope amidst his early season struggles it is that lack of control has never really been much of an issue so there is a good chance that this is a temporary blip. In the one start where he threw quality strikes he pitched six shutout innings. He has also continued to miss bats at a decent clip (14 K in 14.2 IP).
Zach Hedges came to the rescue of De La Cruz (2.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 BB, 4 K) after the latter was lifted in the 3rd inning. He extended his shutout streak at AA to 9.2 innings with a 4.1 inning effort to keep the Smokies in the game. The offense made a valiant effort at a comeback attempt behind homers by Jason Vosler and Eddy Martinez but ultimately came up a run short as they squared off against a rehabbing Dan Straily.
- Jason Vosler: 2-4, 2B, HR (4), 2 R, RBI
- Eddy Martinez: 2-4, HR (2), R, 3 RBI
- Jeffrey Baez: 1-3, 3B, BB, SB (5)
- Zach Hedges: 4.2 IP, 2 H, 2 K
- Scott Effross: 2 IP, H, BB, 2 K
Injuries, Updates, and Trends
The career line for Zach Hedges at AA is now 13-12 with a 3.05 ERA spread across parts of the past 3 seasons. Unfortunately he has not been able to translate that success to AAA (0-3 with a 10.48 ERA) in his five games there, including a fill in start earlier this season.
Another day, another extra base hit for Jeffrey Baez (371/.436/.829). That's 8 in his past 6 games. He also swiped his 5th bag in 6 tries.
Despite his 4 home runs already, it has been tough sledding in the early going for Jason Vosler (.175/.333/.404) as he has struggled to make consistent contact. Things have been looking up a bit recently though as he is a modest 4-for-13 with just 2 strikeouts in his last 4 games.
It was the first multi-hit game for Eddy Martinez (.245/.355/.396) in over two weeks. Both He and Vosler have remained OBP threats throughout their slumps however.
Myrtle Beach PPD
Bowling Green 2, South Bend 1 - Game 1 (8 Innings)
Bowling Green 9, South Bend 2 - Game 2 (7 Innings)
The doubleheader was not televised so I can't get into too many specifics, but the opener featured a masterful performance by starter Cory Abbott. A solo homer in the 5th was the only blemish. His fastball was up to 93 and his slider inducing plenty of swings-and-misses along with mixing in his curve and changeup. Despite his seven-inning outing being a career-high and the longest outing by a South Bend starter this season the offense only provided a single run of support. The game went to extras and the Cubs were unable to score in the top of the 8th, but Brian Glowicki was not able to prevent the runner from second in the bottom half.
The second game was a bit of a bummer. Jose Albertos (1+ IP, 4 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 4 BB, 2 K) struggled badly with his control once again. Walks, wild pitches and several more balls in the dirt as well as over the heart of the plate led to a third consecutive outing in which he failed to pitch beyond two innings. There has to be a mechanical issue cropping up that is leading to so many balls spiked in front of the plate. It is happening with all of his pitches, not just his offspeed stuff. The issue would crop up occasionally last season, but would usually pass after a couple of batters.
The Cubs would receive excellent relief work from Enrique De Los Rios and Bailey Clark after Albertos exited. But the damage had been done.
- Cory Abbott: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K (78 P / 54 S)
- Enrique De Los Rios: 2 IP, 2 K
- Bailey Clark: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
- Austin Filiere: 2-5, 2B, 2 RBI, HBP
- Tyler Payne: 2-6, RBI
- Roberto Caro: 2-4, R, SB (2)
Injuries, Updates, and Trends
Stretching back to the final inning of his first start of the year, Cory Abbott (1-0, 2.12 ERA, .169 BAA, 0.71 WHIP) has allowed just 1 run on 3 hits and 1 walk over his past 13 innings. The lone run came on a solo homer in Tuesday's game. He has walked just 5 batters in 31 career innings while striking out 34.
The turnaround by Bailey Clark so far this season has been all I could have hoped for and more. He has walked just 3 batters in 14.1 innings while punching out 19. He looks confident on the mound and his pitches look crisp. The talent has always been there and now free from nagging injury and with a full offseason devoted entirely to baseball Clark has emerged as the legitimate late inning relief prospect projected of him.
Filed under: Daily Cubs Minors Recap