Butterflies aren't free, but they can be 'good'
We've got a full day and night of baseball here at Wrigley Field with a day-night doubleheader between the Cubs and the Nationals. It's the first regularly scheduled doubleheader at Wrigley since July 4, 1983 when the Cubs played the Montreal Expos.
Dallas Beeler makes his major-league debut in Game 1, with Jeff Samardzija pitching for the Cubs in the 6:15 p.m. game. Len and JD have the call this afternoon. Although Len did the FOX game last Saturday night, it will be Kenny Albert and F.P. Santangelo working it tonight.
Cubs manager Rick Renteria said it's OK if Beeler has some butterflies.
“He's going to be excited,” Renteria said. “There are good butterflies, believe it or not. I think that every player experiences them. I think everybody experiences them before every single game to be quite honest. I think he'll be fine. Yesterday, he came in, said hello and about broke my hand shaking it. He's pretty excited. I'm glad. It's a great opportunity for him. It's a great moment for him and for the Cubs, to have another youngster come up and show us what he's got. He's a pretty confident young man, very strong young man. We're hoping he'll do well.”
Yesterday, Cubs president Theo Epstein said the Cubs brought Beeler up from Class AAA Iowa because they liked a right-handed sinkerballer against the Nats lineup.
Ricky expanded on that point today.
“He's got a lot of sink,” the manager said. “He's been working his way through and showed us in the spring, also, that he's got the ability to come up and pitch in the big leagues. When you talk to him, he's actually a pretty calm guy. I know he's excited about this opportunity. I think his action will play well for us today. We'll take advantage of it and hopefully build on it for him and for us.”
Catcher John Baker, who had a big hit in yesterday's victory, will start Game 1 and work with the young pitcher.
“We'd like to just go ahead and help him start off the day,” Ricky said. “I think they'll work together well. We'll have Welly take Jeff in the evening.
“I think he's been performing well. Obviously, with Welly going down, he's had ample opportunity to go out and continue to play a little bit more. We're still trying to get Welly back in baseball shape since he's been gone quite a bit.”
Left-handed pitcher Chris Rusin hit his first home run as a pro at any level as Class AAA Iowa beat Colorado Springs 16-3, piling up 19 hits in the hitter-friendly atmosphere. Rusin got the win, working 6 innings and giving up 8 hits and 3 runs. He is 5-10 with a 4.16 ERA. Chris Valaika hit his eighth homer, and Arismendy Alcantara hit his 10th. Valaika's homer was a grand slam. Kris Bryant (.303) was 3-for-6 with 2 doubles.
Class AA Tennessee rallied for 4 in the eighth to beat Jackson 6-5. Eduardo Figueroa worked 3 innings, giving up 7 hits and 3 runs. Local guy Tony Zych got the win with 2 scoreless innings. Lendy Castillo earned a hold while Frank Batista picked up his second save.
Daytona (A) got 7 shutout innings from Nathan Dorris and edged Lakeland 1-0. Dorris gave up 4 hits and improved to 3-4 with a 4.54 ERA. Wes Darvill hit an RBI double in the seventh to drive in the game's only run. Andrew McKirahan notched his eighth save.
The Kane County Cougars (A) beat Beloit 3-2 in 10 innings on an RBI single by Shawon Dunston Jr. Pierce Johnson worked 7 innings and gave up just 1 hit and 2 runs. He walked one and struck out six. Johnson's ERA is 2.45. Jacob Hannemann was 2-for-5 with 2 steals. Jacob Rogers was 3-for-5. Juan Paniagua pitched 3 innings of relief to get the win. He leads the Cougars with 62 strikeouts in 63.2 innings.
Boise (A) beat Hilllsboro 11-1 at home. Trevor Clifton got the win by working 6 innings of 1-hit, 1-run ball. He is 1-0 with a 3.14 ERA. Daniel Canela hit his third homer and also had a double. Rashad Crawford was 2-for-5.
Mesa (Rookie) lost 6-5 to the Giants as the Cubs committed 5 errors. Jose Paulino worked 3.2 innings and gave up 4 hits and 2 runs. Rehabbing right fielder Jorge Soler was 2-for-2 with a run and a walk. He's 7-for-12 with 2 doubles, a homer and 4 RBI at Mesa as he recovers from hamstring problems.