As I mentioned earlier in a post about Albert Almora, he is a wizard with the glove, now you can see why I said that. Almora made an absolutely ridiculous catch today where he had to range deep into center and avoid that wall that has taken him out of a couple games, great play.
Solid pitching? Check. Just enough hitting? Check.
It seems simple, but the Cubs have played some solid baseball over the past 90 games (45-45 before tonight), and they aren’t showing any signs of slowing down with their latest win in Cincinnati tonight, their fourth straight. Travis Wood found his 2013 magic against his former employer, he worked six scoreless innings, giving up just two hits, while walking one, and striking out five. The Cubs pen shut, no, slammed the door once again, as Neil Ramirez, Pedro Strop, and Hector Rondon were lights out. Wood picked up his eighth win of the season, and Rondon registered his 22nd save of the year.
Offensively the Cubs got started in the first, and that was all they needed. Anthony Rizzo hit an absolute bomb off of Cy Young candidate Johnny Cueto in the first, it was his 30th home run of the season, that’s impressive. Starlin Castro returned from the bereavement list tonight, and picked up right where he left off, he went 2-for-4 in the win. Arismendy Alcantara joined the fun late, as he blasted a two-run shot to give the Cubs some insurance in the seventh.
Get ready for Jorge Soler, he debuts tomorrow!
Note: Anthony Rizzo left the game late with some back tightness, he should be fine.
FRIDAY, APRIL 18, 2014
The Zephyrs got a lead-off home run from Josh Rodrgiuez, and that was it, unfortunately that was it for both teams. The very first hitter of the game decided this one as New Orleans squeaked by Iowa, 1-0.
At the Plate:
- Chris Valaika had one of the two hits on the night for Iowa, he went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.
- Logan Watkins, who didn’t start tonight, had the other hit for Iowa. He went 1-for-1 off the bench, the I-Cubs were 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position. Just one of those nights.
On the Mound:
- Tsuyoshi Wada was brilliant, and almost untouchable for the second straight outing, unfortunately he took the loss in this one. Wada worked eight innings, giving up one run on three hits, while walking one, and striking out five.
- Marcus Hatley continued his spotless work out of the pen, as he worked a scoreless inning, giving up one hit in the process.
Thud. Such a tough loss for the Smokies as they held a precarious 2-0 lead heading to the ninth, that’s when Jackson scored five times to steal a win right out from under Tennessee. Tough break for Ivan Pineyro who was stellar in this one, but walks away with a no decision.
At the Plate:
- John Andreoli is starting to swing the bat better, he went 1-for-4 with a walk, a double, a stolen base, and a run scored.
- Kris Bryant continues to mash the baseball, he was 2-for-4 with his fourth home run of the season, an RBI, and a run scored.
- Jeudy Valdez had another solid game in this one, he went 2-for-4 from the nine spot in the order.
On the Mound:
- Ivan Pineyro did everything he could to get the win tonight, he worked 6.2 scoreless innings, giving up two hits, while walking one, and striking out eight.
- Ryan Searle came on in relief, and was good, until the ninth. Searle worked 2.1 innings, giving up five runs on five hits, while walking two, he took the loss.
That other thud you heard tonight was the Kane County seven game winning streak coming to a crashing halt. It was a good run though, and there really wasn’t much doubt about tonight as the Cougars were chasing all night long, and just couldn’t find their way back in it.
At the Plate:
- Jacob Hannemann went 1-for-4 with a strikeout from the lead-off spot tonight.
- Carlos Penalver had a solid game, he went 1-for-2 with two walks in the loss.
- Daniel Canela, Danny Lockhart, and Shawon Dunston all went 1-for-3 with a single.
On the Mound:
- Juan Paniagua got the start tonight, and struggled with his command right off the hop. Paniagua worked five innings, giving up five runs on six hits, while walking four, and striking out one.
- Justin Amlung struggled mightily out of the pen, he worked just 1.2 innings, giving up four runs on five hits, while walking one.
- Josh Davis was able to calm things down but it was too little too late. Davis worked 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit, and striking out one.
Yes, it is already that time of year, the Cubs released their Spring Training schedule this afternoon and the first game of 2014 will be on February 27th. Tickets for all spring training games go on sale January 11th at 11 AM, never too early to start preparing yourself for the baseball season!! Full schedule below.
February 27 – ARIZ
Febrary 28 – LAA
March 1 – SF (ss), ARIZ (ss)
March 2 – KC
March 3 – MIL
March 4 – OAK
March 5 – COL
March 6 – CLE
March 7 – CLE (ss), LAA (ss)
March 8 – CIN
March 9 – MIL
March 10 – SF
March 11 – COL
March 12 – SEA
March 13 – OFF
March 14 – LAD
March 15 – KC (ss), NYM (ss) (Las Vegas)
March 16 – CLE (ss), NYM (ss) (Las Vegas)
March 17 – LAA (ss), OAK (ss)
March 18 – TEX
March 19 – COL
March 20 – SEA
March 21 – CHW
March 22 – CIN
March 23 – OAK
March 24 – SD
March 25 – LAA (ss), SD (ss)
March 26 – ARIZ
March 27 – CHW
March 28 – ARIZ (Chase Field)
March 29 – ARIZ (Chase Field)