Finally, after a horrible stretch of bad defense, iffy pitching, no extra base hits, and some general bad luck, the Daytona Cubs had a game in which almost everything came together perfectly. It’s good to see the High-A Cubs get the weekend started on a high note.
With scheduled starter Randy Wells serving as insurance in Chicago, the Iowa Cubs had to cobble together this game out of the bullpen. Frankie De La Cruz pitched three innings and gave up three runs for the loss. Esmailin Cardid pitched four innings, his longest outing of the season, and gave up another two runs. Blake Parker was perfect in the ninth.
The Cubs took advantage of what chances they had (they left just three on base), but with only five hits chances were few. Edgar Gonzalez and Alfredo Amezega each had two hits (including a double a piece). Other notable efforts included Josh Vitters drawing another walk; he’s now on pace to walk 40 times this year. Brett Jackson had the strangest night. He collected two more RBIs despite going 0 for 3. Since he accounted for half the runs scored by Iowa, I think we have to call that a good game. Jackson has now gone three straight games without a strikeout.
Raley had a good night (3H, 1BB, 3K), and he did it by generating plenty of ground ball outs. If he can continue to force hitters to put the ball on the ground, he could have a bright future ahead of him. Kevin Rhoderick actually got the win with his five scoreless outs. Alberto Cabrera collected the final four outs for his first save of the season.
Smokie batters accumulated 13 hits, but they were only able to push across three runs. Nate Samson and Logan Watkins both doubled, but those were the only extra base hits Tennessee had. Jae-Hoon Ha reached base three times by means of two hits and a walk. Even starter Brooks Raley picked up a hit in support of his own cause. Surprisingly, given the score, the Smokies were a very impressive 7 for 12 with runners in scoring position. Typically a ratio that high suggests a blow out, but in baseball there are no guarantees.
With the win, the Smokies are back to .500.
High A – Daytona Cubs. 3 – 11
Austin Kirk pitched seven good innings (5H, 1BB, 3K) and the offense scored eight runs in the first three innings as the Cubs’ won their third game of the season by a final of 9-2.
The Cubs did commit another two errors (Rohan and Torreyes), but for once the offense scored enough it just didn’t matter.
Ronald Torreyes had a 3 for 3 day, including two doubles and a triple. Greg Rohan contributed a grand slam as part of his memorable 5 RBI day. Richard Jones also had three hits. As a team the Cubs collected six extra base hits. That is easily one of their best offensive showings of the season.
When Kirk left the game, Brett Wallach got through a slightly shaky eighth before Casey Harmon pitched a perfect ninth, holding his ERA at 0.00.
Willengton Cruz gave up two home runs in his five and two thirds innings of work. The young lefties’ ERA now stands at a less than encouraging 8.04. Bryce Shafer was also rough in his two and third innings, but once again Yao-Lin Wang was perfect in relief.
Pin-Chieh Chen had the Chiefs’ only extra base hit and drove two of their five runs. Oliver Zapata, now batting fifth, had one of his worst games as a professional. Even so, his 1 for 5 night was enough to extend his hitting streak to six games. Eduardo Gonzalez and Brad Zapenas both drew two walks. The Chiefs’ had plenty of chances, but they were just 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position.
Peoria’s Awesome Promotion Today
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, today is the day when the Peoria area fans will taunt the rest of us because they can go to the Peoria Candy Drop and we can’t. In case you missed our drooling over this event earlier in the week, those who attend the candy drop will get spend an afternoon in a great ballpark, eat great food, drink great drinks, watch the future of the Chicago Cubs play (hopefully) great baseball, and, to top it off, witness clouds of candy being dropped from a helicopter onto a mob of happy children after the game. I’m sure dentists are aghast. Me, I’m just agog.
[Brett: If you're there and get some pictures, we'd all love to see them. And if you snag some extra candy and figure out how to email it, I'd love that, too.]