First of all, thanks to Michael yesterday for filling in on the recaps. If you missed them yesterday, check them out here. Among the news yesterday was the debut of Brian Matusz in the AZL. I was there and he was solid: 90-92 mph FB, mid 80s slider, low 80s CH and a high 70s CB. The stuff wasn’t as crisp as it had been in his prime, but he is still 29 and just starting his rehab. It was encouraging in terms of the velocities while the command and movement were ok, but should improve.
On with today’s recap…
- LHP Clayton Richard has been very good since being sent down to AAA. He pitched 4 strong innings to start the game , allowing just one hit, walking 2 and striking out 3. The Cubs could certainly use a return to form from their LHP as the bullpen has been overworked and continues to struggle.
- Meanwhile, recent Cubs reliever Gerardo Concepcion has continued to struggle since his return to AAA. He gave up 3 runs in the last two innings to lose the shutout and 1-0 lead the team had going into the 7th. His ERA now stands at 4.45.
- Cubs prospects keep getting the call to the big club and the Iowa lineup has gone from an offensive force to a team relying on a lot of veterans. One of those veterans, Matt Murton, hit his 2nd HR of the season.
- Dan Vogelbach is still here, however, and he is still hitting. He went 2 for 4, hitting a double and driving in the team’s only other run.
- Tyler Skulina has hit a bump in the road since a solid start. He lasted just 4 innings today in giving up 3 runs and falling to 3-7 with a 4.93 ERA.
- Jose Paniagua has been getting away with less than ideal fastball command despite his great stuff and numbers on the season, but it caught up today as he allowed 2 walks and 4 hits in 2 runs. He gave up 4 runs and saw his ERA go over the 2 mark (2.04).
- The Smokies managed just 5 hits and 3 of them were by OFer Bijan Rademacher, who has quietly had a solid year at Tennessee. He doubled, scored, and drove in a run in going 3 for 4 and raising his line to .292/.406/.458 on the season.
- Trevor Clifton struggled with his command and breaking ball and got knocked around a bit, leaving the game after just one inning when there was a rain delay. Obviously the
- James Pugliese filled in for Clifton with 4 solid innings, allowing 2 unearned runs while LHP Tommy Thorpe pitched 3 more innings of one run baseball to really save the bullpen despite the loss.
- Jason Vosler went 2 for 4, drove in 2 runs on 2 singles.
- Adbert Alzolay did not walk a batter in 7 innings while giving up 6 hits and 3 runs while striking out 3. It was more of an Alzolay-like performance than we’ve seen in a while. The 21 year old RHP with the low 90s FB, cutter, and CB lowered his ERA to 4.33.
- The SB Cubs got good relief from Dillon Maples, who has been reassigned from Myrtle Beach. He pitched a scoreless inning and struck out 2.
- Craig Brooks struck out the side in his one inning.
- Not a whole lot of offense for South Bend but Tyler Alamo, making a rare start at C, went 2 for 4, doubled, scored, and drove in 2 runs.
- Eddy Martinez went 3 for 4 scored and drove in a run. He is hitting .244/.313/.373 on the season with 7 HRs. It may take a little longer than expected with Martinez but the athleticism is there and the raw power has shown in flashes.
- It wasn’t the dominant start he put up in the last game but Jesus Castillo was still pretty solid with 5 innings of 2 run baseball in which he walked just one and struck out 5. He fell to 1-2 when the team did not give him any support but the rest of his numbers have been outstanding. He has a 2.40 ERA with 2 walks vs. 19 Ks in 15 IP.
- Kevonte Mitchell was the lone offensive highlight with a 2 for 3 day that included a triple.
- LHP Jack Leathersitch had been making good progress but he had all kinds of command issues today. The ball kept sailing on him and missing the zone by a pretty good margin in walking 3 batters.
- RHP Erling Moreno didn’t have his best fastball but he had the curve and change working today and, as always, he threw strikes in walking no batters and striking out 7. He did make a couple of mistakes, however, in his 5 innings and allowed 3 runs on 7 hits to take the loss.
- A couple of debuts as Connor Myers (27th round pick) started in CF and 21st round pick Sam Tidaback started behind the plate. Neither got a hit but Myers showed good speed in nearly beating out a routine grounder and showing good range in CF. Tidaback shows a lot of leadership skills behind the plate and looks like he has the big frame to hit for some power — a trend the Cubs have shown of late with some of their later round catcher drafts.
- Another 2016 draftee, 17th round 2B/SS Zach Short continues to show a good approach and some pop from the middle infield position. He doubled, walked and scored a run.
- Speaking of pop, Kevin Zamudio has some of that too. Signed as a catcher, he has played mostly 1B and 3B — and he made a couple of nice plays at 3B yesterday, showing some athleticism, but my guess is the Cubs will revisit the catching possibility this fall. He doubled, scored and drove in a run.
- Rafael Mejia singled and drove in a run in 4 ABs. He made a nice defensive play at 3B. Mejia still continues to struggle with his timing on swings, though he has hit better than he did during the spring.
Filed under: Daily Cubs Minors Recap