Diamond Notes Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks

Tyler Chatwood, a Redlands East Valley product from Yucaipa, took the mound last Wednesday in San Francisco, filling in for ill Chicago Cubs’ ace Jon Lester.

Chatwood, now in the second season of his three-year, $38 million deal, had his hands full with a red-hot Giants’ team.

Chicago won, 4-1, with Chatwood pitching the first four innings before getting yanked for effective wildness, though he only walked one batter, striking out five and surrendering a run-scoring double to Stephen Vogt.

The former Wildcat, drafted out of REV by the Angels in 2008, was clocked as high as 99 mph. He escaped multiple jams before getting lifted after his four-inning stint.

Chatwood told Associated Press, “it’s a good win for us. We probably should have won a couple games before this one, but we won this one and avoided a sweep.”

Slowing down the Giants to get a rare road win was just the tonic for the Cubs, who are in the thick of the National League Central Division race with Milwaukee and St. Louis.

Chatwood is one of a few Cubs’ free agent signings in recent years that has not fully contributed to getting the Cubs back into the limelight they enjoyed when they won the 2016 World Series.

Outfielder Jason Heyward,who might be having his most productive season in Chicago after years of batting .230, .259 and .270, signed an 8-year, $160 million deal in 2015,

Ace right handed Yu Darvish has been less than stellar after signing a prodigious 6-year, $126 million deal in 2017 -- 4-7 in an injury-plagued span with the Cubs.

Chicago seemed like the perfect setting Chatwood after pitching in hitter friendly Colorado over a five-year stretch where he was 34-35 before landing with the Cubs.

Joining Lester, Hendricks and, eventually, Cole Hamels was a nice addition for a Chicago staff that could stifle a talent-rich Los Angeles Dodgers’ lineup for National League supremacy.

If not for the likes of Lester, Hendricks, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, shortstop Javier Baez, third baseman Kris Bryant, plus veteran utility man Ben Zobrist, the Cubs’ season might be lost.

Chatwood, taking on promising Giants’ right hander Tyler Beede — who shut down the Mets on three hits one start earlier — was trying to lend a hand in keeping the Cubs from getting swept in SF.

Chatwood, who went 9-1 with a 0.92 ERA and hit .521 as a REV senior in 2008, left the game to a handful of relief pitchers, including another free agent, Craig Kimbrel, who picked up the save.


Aaron Brooks, a Cal State San Bernardino product who started the season in Oakland’s starting pitchers’ rotation, had logged 5 1/3 innings with Baltimore after his release from the A’s.

The well-traveled right-hander, who was drafted out of Cal State in 2011 by Kansas City, has pitched in parts of four major league seasons with the Royals, A’s and Orioles.

In Baltimore, he pitched 2 1/3 innings against both Washington and Tampa Bay.

* * *

Felix Minjares, a right-hander drafted from the University of Redlands drafted by San Diego in 2018, had a 2-1 record for Class A Tri-Cities heading into this week’s play.

Minjares, 22, who was the Bulldogs’ ace pitcher, had pitched in 10 games, starting twice for the Dust Devils.

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Southpaw Hazahel Quijada, who was San Gorgonio High School’s ace upon graduation in 2015, had appeared in three games (0-0 record, 3.38 ERA) for the Fort Wayne TinCaps.

Quijada, 21, was a 17th round pick by the San Diego Padres in the 2018 Major League Baseball draft. He had just completed his junior season at UC Riverside when he was drafted by the Padres.


It almost seems almost crazy to note those heartbreaking moments in all-star play. Inland Empire teams, of ages 11-12, from San Bernardino, Temecula, Hesperia and Claremont were eliminated from a chance to participate at this year’s West Regionals in San Bernardino.

When District 49 champion Hesperia knocked off District 43 champion Newmark Little League in boys 11-12 play back on July 18, it killed off those West Regional hopes for local teams.

Five days later, Hesperia then lost to Tustin Western while Sherman Oaks eliminated Newmark in a 15-0 triumph one day later.

Then there was Claremont American, the District 20 and Section 3 champion, dropped back-to-back games District 13 champion Moorpark before losing to Sherman Oaks -- 8-3 and 10-6.

Allied Gardens of San Diego killed off District 28/Section 9 champion Temecula, 4-1, one round after losing to Tustin Western, 6-1.

All of which leads to a complete blank for Little League World Series hopes from the IE.

North San Bernardino is headquarters for the West Regionals, which is the final stop for teams seeking to play in the Little League World Series.

Any baseball-related items to report, email to baseballolb@hotmail.com.

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