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Today, the Chicago Cubs are not a good team and that’s not likely to change soon. If the Iowa Cubs are any indication, though, they could end the season a very left handed hitting team. By the end of August we could see Chicago lineups that feature Rizzo, Jackson, Cardenas, Stewart, and Clevenger all starting. If that does happen, it will be interesting to see what the Iowa roster looks like. The struggles of the Chicago Cubs could mean that there are some opportunities for very rapid promotion for the Cubs’ prospects. A good month with Daytona in April could turn into a chance to perform in Iowa in August. After all, that’s what happened for Nick Struck last season.

AAA – Iowa Cubs. 7 – 7
Iowa fell in another hitting-rich affair in the desert, 6-4

The Cubs chased the Isotopes starting pitcher with a three run third inning, but Jay Jackson could not make that lead stand up and took his first loss of the season.

Luis Valbuena homered and drove in two to lead the offense. Future Cubs Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters, and Dave Sappelt all had a hit in the game while Anthony Rizzo did his best Szczur impression by scoring a run in a game in which he did not have a hit or a walk. On the downside, Vitters and Adrian Cardenas both committed an error.

AA – Tennesse Smokies. 7 – 7
The Smokies played a double header, thanks to the rain out on Tuesday. Both games went just seven innings, and Tennessee escaped with a split. In game one the Smokies fell 2-1. Game two ended with a 1-0 Tennessee win.

The pitching in both of these games was pretty good. Dallas Beeler gave up a walk and nine hits, but he still managed to hold Huntsville to a single run in five and two thirds. Ryan Searle got the start in game two (not Dae-Eun Rhee, despite what I wrote yesterday) and he pitched four very good innings (2H, 5K). Casey Weathers managed to allow only one walk while striking out two in his inning of work, and then the closer came in for a two out save. Once again, Frank Batista was as automatic as they come.

Ty Wright hit a solo home run in the second game, and that proved to be the winning run. Michael Brenly drove in Jonathan Mota for the Smokies only run in the first game, and that was the extent of the Tennessee offense. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to split a road doubleheader and keep the Smokies’ record right at .500.

High A – Daytona Cubs. 2 – 10
Daytona had a badly needed day off. They return home on Thursday night in serious need of a win.

Low A – Peoria Chiefs. 6 – 7
Jose Rosario was on his way to a good start for the Chiefs. For four innings, all was well. And then in the top of the fifth the wheels completely came off for Rosario and the Chiefs’ defense. By the time Luis Liria put an end to the rally, it was too late. Cedar Rapid had scored three times and Peoria was well on their way to a 5-2 loss.

There was some good pitching in this one, though. Andrew McKirahan and Jeffrey Lorick pitched three scoreless innings in relief. Both of these guys still have an ERA of 0.00.

Paul Hoilman had two hits, Zeke DeVoss doubled, and Oliver Zapata doubled and scored to lead the Chiefs’ offense, but, except for a two run burst in the seventh, this team was unable to put any pressure on Cedar Rapids. The defense also let Peoria down in that crucial fifth inning. Wes Darvill‘s error and Rafael Lopez‘s two passed balls (both in the fifth) made life much more difficult on Rosario and Liria than it really needed to be.

Candy From The Sky!
A big part of the fun of the minor league games has to be the promotional nights, and no one does it better than Peoria. Already this season we’ve seen dollar food nights, throwback pricing nights, free tickets with Doritos Tacos receipts nights, and more… but that’s nothing compared to Saturday. On April 21 Peoria is crossing into new heights of awesomeness, literally. I kid you not, they are going to dump candy out of a helicopter onto the field for kids to pick up after the game. There’s a video of similar madness from last season on the Chiefs’ website. Can you think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than sitting in a great ballpark, watching the future of the Chicago Cubs, and seeing a couple dozen pounds of candy get dumped from a helicopter into a mob of screaming children? I can’t.

[Brett: I can't believe what I'm reading, and then seeing in that video, from which the picture comes. This is actually happening. You have no idea how badly I'm scheming to find a way to get to Peoria for Saturday's game.]

  • Matt3

    that photo is awesome

  • DarrenH

    I can’t believe I moved from Peoria to Tennessee and now they are doing awesome helicopter stunts! I wonder if my sister can get tickets for Saturdays game. It would be worth the drive.

  • college_of_coaches

    I just looked at the Iowa box score and it appears that Jackson went the entire game without a strikeout.

  • Dick

    McKirahan seems like a prospect, but I’ve never seen him on any top prospect list. I think he and Jensen will move up quickly this season.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      McKirahan is a legit lefty relief prospect. Not expected to be anything spectacular, but could definitely make the bigs.

  • Windy City Misfit

    Brett… If you can find a way to Peoria .. Your tickets are free.. I’m a season ticket holder and we always like new faces is the stands… I’ll be there for the drop.. Kid has no idea ..

  • Steve

    Im seeing Oliver Zapata’s name more and more. What’s his story ???

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      He was called to Peoria late last week when Reggie Golden went on the DL. Since then, he’s hit two home runs, had two multihit games, threw out a runner at home from left field and stole a base. He’s a 5’9″ switch hitting outfielder who had a decent season in the DSL last year, but nothing that predicted the hot streak he is on right now.

      • Ryno G

        It was actually the AZL, not the DSL. He played a little in Boise at the end of the season as well.

  • T Wags

    I was pretty bummed to see that Ryan Searle wasn’t in the rotation to start the season so I’m glad to see he got a start and did well. I have high hopes for him. Also, I get excited every time I read the MLD and see that Frank Batista picked up another save! Hopefully he can keep that up all the way to Wrigley very soon!

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    Today’s minor league starters:

    Iowa (7:35 PM CDT) – Travis Wood.

    Tennessee (7:43 EDT) – Dae-Eun Rhee.

    Daytona (7:05 EDT) – Zach Cates.

    Peoria (6:30 CDT) – Ben Wells (most likely; official starters have not been announced).

    • TWC

      Thanks, Luke.

  • Jim L.

    I hope Mr. Carlson and Herb are not in charge of the candy drop.

  • beerhelps

    I would go to the Chiefs game on Saturday, but I don’t think my fat 40 year old body could pass as a kid. I would so get out there, pushing small children out of my way, to eat that sweet delicious free candy.

  • BT

    You convinced me Ace. I’m hauling the kids down to Peoria on Saturday. I was stunned when the wife needed no convincing on my part. Knowing my kids, they will get no candy, and will be trampled, but they will be able to tell THEIR children that they were showered with candy from a helicopter.

    Plus, 13th row behind home plate on the aisle ain’t too shabby, when you can get 4 tickets for 40 bucks.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Nice. Hope it’s a blast – would love to hear what it was like in person.

  • ty

    How about starting a (ten ways you know the Cubs are bad) #10. You give up your tickets Sat . to drive to Peoria for free candy!

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