Not only was Thursday bad for the Chicago Cubs, it was none too kind to the minor league teams. The Cubs’ farm system finished the day without a single win. There were some positives to take away from the four games, though. Iowa had some nice individual performances and Tennessee showed quite a bit of resilience in their loss.

On the good side, tomorrow is day the Peoria Chiefs will drop candy from a helicopter onto a mob of screaming children. This weekend is looking better already.

AAA – Iowa Cubs. 7 – 8
For a park known as being kind to hitters, this game would almost qualify as a pitcher’s duel. Iowa took an early lead but lost in the end by a score of 4-3.

Travis Wood pitched a decent game for Iowa. He went into the seventh inning, walking one and striking out five. He did give up all four Isotope tallies, but he avoided big inning and kept Iowa close in a tough park for pitchers. His day’s work becomes more notable when you realize that the wind was blowing out to right at 15 MPH.

Jeff Beliveau was nearly perfect in an inning and two thirds of relief. Beliveau has now pitched 8.2 innings and has an ERA of just 1.04. Opponents are hitting .167 off him. A few more weeks like that and he’ll be packing his bags for Chicago.

Anthony Rizzo is also looking to earn his plane ticket to Chicago. His two home runs accounted for all the Cubs’ runs in this one. The first baseman now has seven home runs on the season. He has not hit all that well against lefties, but he has a pleasant 1.329 OPS against right handers. There is no way he can keep hitting at this pace… but wouldn’t it be nice if he did?

AA – Tennesse Smokies. 7 – 8
The game in Alabama was a wild, back and forth affair. Tennessee was down early and managed to come back, but they could not hold on and lost a tough one 9-7.

The pitching was not exactly spectacular for either team in this game. Daniel Berlind took the loss, but neither Dae-Eun Rhee nor Marcus Hatley had good games. Sometimes, the game belongs to the offense. This happened to be one of those nights.

And the Tennessee offense was almost up to the challenge. Down 5-0 early, they fought back to tie the game in the sixth before ultimately coming up short. Nate Samson had a career night, going 4 for 4 with two doubles, a home run, a walk, and three batted in. Michael Brenly continued his recent hot streak with a two hit night. Ty Wright and Justin Bour also had two hits. As a team, the Smokies were a respectable 4 for 12 with runners in scoring position. On this night, that just was not quite good enough.

High A – Daytona Cubs. 2 – 11
Daytona gave up just one earned run all night. Unfortunately, the Cubs allowed four unearned runs on two errors and lost 5-2.

Ty’relle Harris, Bryan Schlitter, and Tony Zych all had pretty good nights in relief. Combined, they allowed just four hits in their four innings of work. While starter Eduardo Figueroa did allow too many men to reach base, it was a combination of errors and his own wildness that caused the most damage.

Offensively, the Cubs got a home run out of Nelson Perez (who also scored their second run). That, along with a double by Greg Rohan, was about all the offense the team could manage.

Low A – Peoria Chiefs. 6 – 8
The Daytona pattern repeated itself in Peoria on Thursday as one disastrous inning resulted in a loss, 11-4.

Ben Wells was not his best in this game, but the Chief’s defense did not help him out a bit when they committed three errors in the fifth. Eventually Kyler Burke put out the fire, but only after seven runs had crossed the plate. Fittingly, those seven runs represented the final margin in the game.

Burke and Austin Reed were pretty effective in relief. Wells had a game he’ll be happy to forget.

With twelve hits and seven walks, the Chiefs had no shortage of chances in this game, but ultimately they left 13 on base. Oliver Zapata had yet another good game, going 3 for 5 with an RBI. He was also on the wrong end of two outfield assists, getting gunned down at second base and at home. Base running errors are going to happen to any nineteen year old, so I’m not too worried by this sort of mistake. I prefer to see players in the low minors err on the side of being aggressive.

Pin-Chieh Chen reached base twice (2 BB), as did Ryan Cuneo (2H), Taiwan Easterling (H,BB), Taylor Davis (H,BB), Wes Darvill (2H), and Brad Zapenas (who had a great night, 2 for 2 with 2 walks). Unfortunately the Chiefs had just two extra base hits on the night and could not get all those runners across the plate.

  • CubFanBob

    Rizzo is currently my favorite cub. Thanks for the minors update.

    • Robert

      Agreed, myn too. This guy is an absolute beast.

  • Brandon

    Tennessee Smokies return home tonight for 5 against Chattanooga Lookouts, whom we took 4 of 5 from in the first series of the season on the road. Looking forward to seeing the bats come alive, and the bullpen turn things around.

    Is Junior Lake healthy yet? Is he returning to AA when he is??

    • Luke

      No new word on Lake.

      If you make it to any of the home games (or anyone else), keep an eye out for Frank Batista.  I’m still not sure what pitches this guy is throwing, only that he has a knack for closing out games.

  • Mrp

    Those two bombs by Rizzo would have been out without the assistance of the wind. The first one just a complete blast, probably would have been on Sheffield. The second one was a line drive that probably didn’t get high enough. This guy is a beast!

  • Tonycampanathebasethief

    Goin to Chicago cubs game today will scout major league players

    • JK

      Let us know if you find any.

  • Brian

    Tomorrows headlines- Child sues for ownership of Peoria Chiefs, because candy dropped from helicoptor causes injury.
    Really- are the kids on the field when the stuff starts coming down on them? For those of you who remember the show WKRP in Cinncy-“I really thought turkeys could fly”!

  • ETS

    Ty Wright must have recently been demoted? He was at Iowa not that long ago.

    • Brett

      Yes, and yes.

    • Luke

      Roster shuffles like that are going to start happening a lot.  I’ll try to call out the bigger name moves as they happen.

  • Kyle

    Brett Jackson with the most encouraging 0-for-4 of the year, because they were all contact outs.

    • hansman1982

      So you think a contact out is better than a strikeout? There may be hope yet! HA!

    • AB

      LOL good one

  • Can’t think of a cool name

    Viva Zapata! Cubs are cornering the market on small guys that can hit. We’ll find our own Pedroia yet.

  • CubFan Paul

    what IS Rizzo’s line against LHP?

  • Mrp

    .211/.211/.368 in 19ABs. 6Ks and 1HR.

  • Luke

    Friday’s Minor League Staters

    Iowa (8:05 CDT) – Officially, it’s Randy Wells.  There have been some reports that Wells is actually in Chicago in case Dempster cannot go on Sunday.  If that’s the case, then today’s starter will likely not be Wells.

    Tennessee (7:15 EDT) – Brooks Raley.  Raley has looked pretty good lately.  Any BN’ers attending?

    Daytona (7:05 EDT) – Austin Kirk.  Another lefty who has been pretty good lately.  Daytona badly needs a win.  Or eight.

    Peoria (6:30 CDT) – Willengton Cruz.  I think this guy is better than his numbers indicate.  It’d be nice to see him have a break out performance tonight.

  • Kyle

    Apparently Kevin Goldstein had a blurb today that said scouts are impressed with the way Rizzo has shortened his swing this year, addressing the main knock against him last year.

  • Steve

    It would be nice to pencil in Vitters at 3rd, Castro @ short, Rizzo @ 1st, Jackson in center next year…man, talk about a young, cost controlled core….Wow.

  • Billy


    What are Vitters splits this year?

    • Luke

      .308/.400/.462 against lefties (13 AB)

      .303/.314/.303 against right handers (33 AB)

      All five strike outs are against RHP; two of his three walks are against LHP.

  • Promise4

    Hi Guys, Red Sox fan here, but I have followed Rizzo since he was drafted. I hope he continues to tear it up and joins your big team this year. This kid is a class act. I was devasted when they traded him from Boston to SD. I think he is going to be a great one! Good Luck guys!

    • Brett

      Thanks for that, Promise.