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.
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?
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.
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.
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.