Cubs

Montanez Continues To Dominate Pacific Coast League Pitching

Montanez Continues To Dominate Pacific Coast League Pitching

Sunday May 1, 2011
Posted: 5:55 p.m.
CUBSIowa AAA
Lou Montanez continued his tear Sunday afternoon for Iowa, which upended Omaha, 7-5, at Werner Park.

Montanez had three hits, extending his hitting streak to seven games while pushing his batting average to .432, second best in the Pacific Coast League. He also picked up his 28th RBI, which is also second in the league. Montanez has reached base safely in 20 of 21 games in which he has appeared this season.

Brad Snyder also had a big game, collecting a pair of hits, including the three-run homer that highlighted a six-run second inning. He extended his hitting streak to six games and is 12 for his last 32. Tony Campana also picked up a hit to extend his hitting streak to five games.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx 1-2 earned the win with 1 23 scoreless innings after coming on in relief of starter Jay Jackson, who lasted only 4 13 innings.
Tennessee AA
The Tennessee bats finally fell silent Sunday afternoon as they dropped a 4-1 decision to Carolina at Smokies Park.

The Smokies were 0-for-5 with runners on base and didnt score until the eighth inning when Marwin Gonzalez smacked a solo homer. Trey McNutt 1-2 allowed two runs over six innings to take the loss.
Peoria A
Yordy Cabreras two-run double sparked a three-run sixth inning Sunday afternoon, lifting Burlington to a 4-3 victory over visiting Peoria at Community Field.

The Chiefs held a 2-1 lead before Yohan Gonzalez took the loss, allowing two of the runs on two hits in 13 of an inning. Austin Kirk started and allowed two runs on three hits over 5 23 innings. He also fanned seven.

Richard Jones had a solo homer for the Chiefs, who had only six hits. Matt Szczur had one of those hits, extending his hitting streak to nine games with a fifth-inning single. Greg Rohan, the Midwest League leader in RBIs, hits and doubles, missed the game with flu-like symptoms and a fever.

In other action, Justin Jacksons solo homer in the 10th lifted Dunedin to a 2-1 victory over Daytona at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Ryan Searle took the loss. Aaron Kurcz started and tossed five shutout innings. Matt Cerda had two of Daytonas four hits.
WHITE SOXBirmingham AA
The Barons frenetic season continued Sunday afternoon with a 6-4 loss to Mobile at Regions Park.

Birmingham, after allowing three first-inning runs, rallied to take a 4-3 lead only to see the BayBears tie it in the seventh and then score twice in the eighth. Kyle Cofield took the loss, allowing two runs on three hits in 1 23 innings. Justin Edwards had started an allowed the three first-inning runs, all of which were unearned. He finished up by scattering eight hits over 5 23 innings.

Tyler Kuhn was 1-for-4 with an RBI and is hitting .343, good enough to place in the top 10 among Southern League hitters. Justin Greene was 2-for-4 with a homer and an RBI.

In other action, Winston-Salem was sent to its fifth consecutive defeat on Sunday as Wilmington rallied for three eighth-inning runs en route to a 4-2 victory at Frawley Stadium. Taylor Thompson 1-1 had a 0.82 ERA heading into his eighth-inning appearance before a Whit Merrifield two-run single gave the Blue Rocks the lead. The Dash managed only four hits. Charlotte also lost on Sunday afternoon, dropping a 9-3 decision to visiting Columbus. Lucas Harrell took the loss despite Johnny Nunez allowing six earned runs in a third of an inning of relief. Dayan Viciedo had a double and two RBIs. ... Hickory overcame an early deficit, rallying for a 4-3 victory over visiting Kannapolis. Jake Petricka allowed four runs on nine hits over five innings to suffer his first loss of the year. Mike Blanke had a pair of hits for the Intimidators.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

Adbert Alzolay makes some memories on an otherwise forgettable night for the Cubs

Adbert Alzolay makes some memories on an otherwise forgettable night for the Cubs

The Cubs lost an entirely forgettable game on Tuesday night, dropping the second of their four games against the NL East-leading Braves by a score of 3-2. They left four men on base, only managed four hits, ran into two outs, and made one error in a game that was over well in time for a Clark Street nightcap, or three. 

What was memorable about Tuesday night was the performance of Adbert Alzolay, the Cubs’ top pitching prospect who was making his first major league start. The final line: 4.2 innings pitched, one hit, one run, four walks and four strikeouts. It’s certainly not the prettiest line you’ll see in tomorrow’s box scores, but the 24 year old passed the eye test with flying colors. 

“Everything was good - he was outstanding,” Joe Maddon said after the game. “I just think he hit a well there at the end. We just have to get him more used to that. Listen, he’s been injured in the past, he’s coming back - you’ve got to be real sensitive to the number of pitches and workload you put on him, because you can see how good he’s going to be.”

Things got off to an inauspicious start for Alzolay, whose first pitch of the game was crushed 413 feet into the left field bleachers for a leadoff homer, courtesy of Braves’ outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. It would prove to be the only hit and run that Alzolay allowed on the night. 

“It’s just one pitch,” he said. “You have to keep working - the game continues. I was just starting the game, so if you lose your mind in that situation than you’re not going to last a lot of innings.

“Even after the home run, he came right back and said, ‘I’m fine’,” Maddon added. “Then he went up and got three really good hitters out. I liked the mound demeanor, we’ve just got to get him a little further along in regards to being stretched out.”

After coming out flat with his secondary pitches during his 4-inning relief appearance on June 20th, Alzolay flashed better command and execution of both his curveball and changeup. Half of his strikeouts came on the curveball - one to get left fielder Austin Riley in the 2nd and one to get Acuña in the 3rd. After throwing 13 changeups in his debut, Alzolay double that number on Tuesday (27). 

“I’m feeling really confident throwing the pitch in any count,” Alzolay said of his changeup. “Tonight I threw it a couple times when I was behind in the count and I got a good result after that, so I’ll just keep on throwing it.

“For us to get confident at something, you have to practice, you have to execute it, and you have to use it in the game,” said catcher Willson Contreras, who plated both of the Cubs’ two runs with a double in the 4th. “For him to be able to throw the changeup for a strike, and strikeout people, it’s really good - especially at his age.”

Maddon couldn’t answer when Alzolay would make his next start. With Kyle Hendricks eyeing a return around the All-Star break, there would seemingly be a few more opportunities ahead of the rookie. Given what he showed on Tuesday night, it’d be hard to argue against it.

"He can be really good in the big leagues," Contreras said. "He still needs to make adjustments like all of us, but with the confidence he has, the ability he has, and the way he prepares before the games, it's going to take him a long way."

Tim Anderson helped off field with ankle sprain, will be reevaluated Wednesday

Tim Anderson helped off field with ankle sprain, will be reevaluated Wednesday

White Sox fans saw a sight they hoped they'd never see Tuesday night.

Tim Anderson was helped off the field with an ankle injury in the fifth inning of Tuesday night's game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, hurt while making a play on a ground ball on a wet night in Massachusetts.

The White Sox announced later in the evening that Anderson has a sprained ankle and that X-rays were negative. The team added that Anderson will be reevaluated Wednesday.

Anderson made an on-the-run throw to nab J.D. Martinez at first base, but a play that Anderson has made look fairly routine over the past couple seasons this time included a slip on the rain-soaked infield. The White Sox star shortstop fell to the ground in pain immediately. After having his ankle briefly checked by the trainer, Anderson was helped off the field, into the dugout and into the clubhouse.

The rain poured down on Fenway Park on Tuesday night. The start of the game was delayed a half hour, but the teams played through steady rains throughout, worsening playing conditions, something the White Sox and every team across baseball have had to deal with quite often this season.

The degree of Anderson's ankle sprain is unknown, but the sight of him coming off the field was a nightmarish one for the White Sox and their fans. A sigh of relief came with the team's update, which did not include the words "Achilles" or "tear."

Anderson has emerged as one of the faces of the franchise this season, earning AL Player of the Month honors after a sensational April and earning national attention for flipping his bat after home runs and his mission to make what he calls a "boring" game more fun. He's got a .317/.342/.491 slash line on the season.

Anderson is undoubtedly a core piece for the rebuilding White Sox, who can pen him in as their shortstop of the future as well as the present.

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