The farm system got off to a great start by winning three of four games Thursday night. In addition to the wins, several of the Cubs’ key prospects got the 2012 season off on the right foot. Following the progress of the farm system last night was a great way to forget about the end of the Chicago Cubs’ game yesterday afternoon.
AAA – Iowa Cubs. 1 – 0
On the same day the Chicago bullpen coughed up the save, two of the relievers Chicago demoted to Iowa combined to allow just two base runners over the final three innings. Manny Corpas pitched the seventh and eighth, and Scott Maine struck out two in the ninth for the save as Iowa won 5 – 3. I wonder… did events in Chicago give them some extra motivation?
Tony Campana, Brett Jackson and Anthony Rizzo all had multi-hit nights. Josh Vitters reached twice on a hit and a walk (and according to Gameday he laid off several very close pitches in that walk), and Welington Castillo was hit by two different pitchers. A hit by pitch is as good as a walk, right Theo?
AA – Tennesse Smokies. 1 – 0
Nick Struck had a lot of good games last season, but his performance on Thursday night might be the best of his young career. He allowed just one run on four hits as he struck out ten in six innings. The bullpen easily finished what he started as the Smokies won 4 – 1.
Logan Watkins and Justin Bour led the offense with three hits each (including a home run for Bour). As a whole, the team combined for six walks and just six strikeouts. Two of those walks were earned by Michael Burgess, a prodigious power hitter who has been held back by his lack of patience. There were two errors, both on the infield corners, but the Smokies pitching was so effective it just didn’t matter.
It wasn’t all bad for the Cubs. The bullpen did a nice job in the later part of the game. Ronald Torreyes, Rubi Silva, and Arismendy Alcantara all had multi-hit nights. The biggest surprise of the evening might have been Nelson Perez, who collected three walks in five trips to the plate. Unfortunately, he also struck out in his two at bats.
Even though they were on the road yesterday, Daytona will play their home opener tonight. Three game series that are split with two games in one city and one game in the other are fairly common in the Florida State League. That’s one of the advantages of playing an entire league in a single state, I suppose.
Wes Darvill and Pin-Chieh Chen had two hits on the night, including a triple by Chen. The Chiefs had a very efficient offense. They only managed seven hits, all of them singles except for Chen’s triple, and the middle of the order was dead silent. However, if you string enough singles together with a walk and a couple of sacrifice flies, you can still put plenty of runs on the board.
Zeke DeVoss got the start at second base. While he was involved in two double plays, he did commit an error. We’ll keep an eye on his defense at second as the season progress.
Last night we also enjoyed live reports from the Iowa Cubs game on the Message Boards thanks to hansman1982. Between Hansman’s commentary and the free radio feed, it was almost as good as being at the game in person. Almost.