If you were fortunate enough to spend Mother’s Day at a Cubs’ minor league game, then you enjoyed a win.

Unless you were at the Tennessee Smokies game, that is. In that case you were really bored and probably somewhat wet.

Thanks to an off day for Daytona and Mother Nature demanding some attention of her own, there were only two games in the system on Sunday. The Cubs won them both, so I think it was a pretty good day.

AAA – Iowa Cubs. 16 – 20
The Iowa Cubs rode great starting pitching to yet another West Coast win Sunday afternoon. Things got interesting late, but Iowa held on for a 4-3 win.

Chris Rusin was as good as we’ve seen him. In eight scoreless innings he gave up five hits, two walks, and struck out seven. Rusin needed an even 100 pitches as he came just three outs short of a complete game shutout. I’ve been a fan of Rusin for some time now, and I’m not climbing off the wagon now. This guy needs a major league start like I need a home made deep dish chocolate chip cookie sundae. With caramel sauce.

Scott Maine came in for the ninth inning and nearly let the game get away. On the good side, he struck out one. On the bad side, he left responsible for three runs. Fortunately Blake Parker was able to step in and earn his fifth save.

Anthony Rizzo turned in a vintage Rizzo performance as he went three for four with two doubles. Ty Wright came up with the biggest blow of the day, a two run home run, as part of his two hit game. Blake Lalli contributed his second double of the season.

AA – Tennesse Smokies. 15 – 22
The Smokies wanted to play, but the weather had other ideas. Mother Nature permitting this game will be made up as part of a double header Monday afternoon and evening.

High A – Daytona Cubs. 13 – 22
The Daytona Cubs were off on Sunday.

Low A – Peoria Chiefs. 16 – 21
The Peoria Chiefs now have the second best record in the Cubs’ farm system thanks to a 5-3 win on Sunday.

Jose Rosario pitched a good game of his own, going six innings and allowing no runs on three hits with three walks while striking out seven. Rosario, a product of the Cubs’ Latin American efforts, is a raw pitcher who shows plenty of promise. He has been developing for awhile and will keep developing for awhile longer, but he has mid-rotation potential. On days like this that potential looks tantalizingly close to the surface.

Luis Liria pitched two good innings in relief of Rosario, but Charles Thomas nearly blew the game in the ninth. Jeffrey Lorick stepped up with a strike out when it mattered the most to earn his fifth save.

Wes Darvill had no hits, but thanks to three walks he was able to score two runs. Darvill’s batting average in May is lower than his April number, but his on base percentage is higher. That’s a pretty unusual trend.

Rafael Lopez also drew two walks. Meanwhile, Paul Hoilman wasted no time in launching a new hitting streak; he went two for four. The Chiefs’ did not have an extra base hit in this game.

And finally…

Even though Mother’s Day is officially over, I do have to give credit where credit is due. I have an awesome Mom. In addition to being singularly amazing in all the usual Motherly ways, she was always telling me that I could in fact do whatever I set my mind too. I know… how cliche can you get?

Funny thing about that cliche, though. I believed her.

Funnier thing about that cliche… As I look around me now, it turns out she was right. Thanks, Mom. If I weren’t inconveniently located 582 miles away, I’d bake you a delicious deep dish chocolate chip cookie sundae. With extra caramel sauce.

  • Coldneck

    Not to be a ahole, but the phrase “complete game shutout” bothers me. A shutout is defined as a completed game with zero runs allowed. Therefore, one could just say shutout, and the completed game would be inferred.

    Off soap box.

    • MaxM1908

      I could be mistaken, but I believe in baseball, to say someone pitched a shutout means they pitched a shutout for the innings they pitched be it 7 or 8. A “complete game shutout” means that the pitcher achieved a shutout pitching all nine innings. So, it’s nothing more than a combinations of the accomplishments “shutout” and “complete game”.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Depending on context, I think it can go either way.  That’s why writers often drop both labels.

    • ty

      Max–an example of a complete game shutout was last week by a pitcher named Carlos Zambrano. A Marlins pitcher but our Cub organization will send him 750 thousand dollars today and every other Tuesday all year long. We were so deep in pitching this year that Theo and various sportwriters of the second city said so long.

  • Dumpgobbler

    Luke did I just read that Gioskar Amaya went from EXST to AAA? Is that correct?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Yep.  For the time being, I would not assume that Amaya has blossomed into some kind of baseball prodigy.  The last time Amaya played in a professional league, it was the Arizona Rookie League.  Players just don’t jump over four levels like that.  Until proven otherwise, I’d assume he’s in Iowa because Iowa needed a warm body on the bench for emergency substitutions or pinch hit duties, and that he’ll be reassigned elsewhere in the system (Peoria, maybe Daytona) in a few days (if not sooner).

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Haha, wow. Yeah, that’s crazy. I think Luke’s assessment is accurate.

      • Dumpgobbler

        Ok that was my thought as well.

    • AB

      the Iowa cubs are at Sacremento this week, so I’d guess the proximity of the Cubs camp in AZ to Sacremento played somewhat of a factor.

  • Cubs Dude

    Luke or Brett whose future looks brighter at this point Rusin or T. Wood? I am not as familiar with Rusin, but like what i see.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Probably Wood.  He’s been projected as high as a mid-rotation starter.  Rusin projects as more of a No. 4/5 guy.

      • ETS

        How about more immediate. Do you see Rusin or Wood getting more ML starts this year?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          Wood.  He’s on the 40 man roster and Rusin isn’t (yet).

          • ETS

            Excellent point. 😀

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor

    I like Chris Rusin as well. He deserves a serious shot next year. He’ll be the perfect replacement for Paul Maholm (we seriously should trade him while his value is high, like now).

    I think Travis Wood did a nice job for us the other day. If he can show the brilliance he had early in his career during his stay at Cincy and sign Cole Hamels, we could see 3 lefties in the rotation with Garza and Samardzija in the 2 and 4 slots. Crazy to think.

    • Cubs Dude

      I was thinking the same thing about Rusin being a Maholm replacement when Paul’s dealt.

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor

    He’d have to wait until next year, not on the 40-man roster. I suspect he’ll take Lendy Castillo’s spot. Travis Wood should be starting if/when we deal Paul Maholm.

  • mark

    Brett Jackson, another O-fer: 0-3, 3 SOs. Oh, the time he didn’t swing, he got a walk. Thank God the sample size so far this year is so small–I can’t wait to see him next week in the majors. Should tear it up.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I love rooting against Cubs prospects!

  • bleedcubbieblue

    Nice writing but who are the cheifs? Lol.

  • Cubs Dude

    How does Blake Parker project in the show? He looks to be having a real good year. His K per 9 looks down a bit this year too. Is he a potential closer if Dolis struggles?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Parker has been around in the minors for awhile.  I think he’s more likely a middle reliever in the majors than a future closer, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he got a shot in the late innings at some point.

  • AK

    I have a crap job, it’s rainy out, and it’s Monday. BUT, I love being able to read these minor league daily stories so I can get excited about Anthony Rizzo et al. Makes today a tad bit better…

  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    I think we’d be expecting WAY too much out of Rusin to believe he can replace a major league starting pitcher.
    He could replace someone like Casey Coleman…

  • mark

    “I love rooting against Cubs prospects!”

    How about a little reality? I’m tired of hearing how, come June or July at the latest, Jackson will be in the bigs transforming the Cubs. This guy has a lot to learn about hitting, still.

    You don’t see me saying a word against Rizzo, just because he flopped in his previous MLB incarnation. I want to see both Jackson and Rizzo make it big–and Szczur down the road–but I want to see them straight, too.

    • Richard Nose

      See what he did there. He answered your sarcasm with more sarcasm. Delightful.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I like that comment much better, and I actually agree with a great deal of it.

    • King Jeff

      I don’t think I’ve heard any one with a respected opinion on this site say even once that Brett Jackson was going to come up in June and transform the Cubs. I’m pretty sure that most of us here are realistic and don’t really expect Jackson up until late summer this year at the earliest, and not very many of us are expecting him to produce like an all-star right away when he does come up.

    • Spencer

      It’s not as though Jackson is projected to be an MVP candidate when he gets to the bigs full time, and I have a feeling that many fans are going to be very hard on him because they have much higher expectations for him than what he’s actually going to do on the field – especially this year. He might be an All-Star candidate once in a while, and will certainly be better than what we have now, but he isn’t going to be an all world outfielder.

      • hansman1982

        ding ding ding ding – Jackson will provide good defense, acceptable offensive and be cheap. Over his next 6 years the best year we could probably hope for is .280/.380/.450 with 25 homers and 25 steals and that would be a career year for Jackson. Most likely we will see .260/.350/.400-425 with 15 homers and 25 steals in good years. Basically Soriano-esque but trading 10 homers for 10 steals and $18M.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com ichabod

    a broken leg soriano better than a more homeruns in way less a bats reed johnson, dl sori call up something, anything. also, how long until starting pitchers have locked door meet with relief pitch staff

  • Adam

    Luke, who is taking Coleman’s spot at Iowa?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I think his roster spot was taken (for now) by Gioskar Amaya.  As for his spot in the rotation, stay tuned.  I think more moves are coming.

      • AB

        I’m assuming the Cubs are waiting on whether or not DeWitt accepts assignment at AAA. When is the ten day period up??

        I guess it depends on how much pride DeWitt is willing to swallow.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Yup and yup. He was DFA’d on May 6.

  • Dick

    Brett, you wrote a piece before spring training showing the dates when Rizzo and BJackson would be brought to the majors, if the Cubs wanted to add one more year of control. At the time, I thought b.s., but it is clear that you nailed this. When was your estimated time of arrival for Rizzo?

  • Senior Lake

    Is Darvill only playing 3rd because DeVoss is at 2nd? He looks like he could have some potential as a 2nd baseman but Saturday night was the only time I’ve seen him play.

    Francescon doesn’t appear to be overpowering but guys weren’t squaring it up against him. He really didn’t give up a hit until the 8th…the umpire blew a call earlier that resulted in an infield single.

    Wang looked like he was throwing smoke but he wasn’t really fooling anyone…balls just happened to be hit right at people and the wind was blowing in pretty good.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Likely.  Darvill can likely play short as well, but the Chiefs have Marco Hernandez there.  Both those guys are generally regarded more highly than Darvill, but that’s more a testament to the depth of the lower levels of the Cubs’ system than an indictment of Darvill.  He’s got plenty of potential of his own.

  • Brandon

    Headed out for the Double Dip at Smokies Park today. I am looking forward to seeing if Trey McNutt can make it out of the 3rd inning, and have summoned the baseball Gods to PLEASE wake up these bats. All due respect to the Jackson Generals and their stacked pitching rotation, I am hoping to see some decent at bats today (weather permitting). Hope to see Dallas Beeler continue his decent start as well.

    Offensively, Nate Samson and Justin Bour seem to be the only one’s making solid contact. I’m still SHOCKED that Jae-Hoon Ha has yet to hit his first homerun. Rebel Ridling looks completely lost at the plate right now. Junior Lake can hit the fastball, but still looks ridiculously bad on breaking stuff.

    A rainout was a welcome site (and reminded me of Kevin Costner in Bull Durham vowing to “get us a rainout”). Hopefully Buddy Bailey can get these lollygaggers fired up!! haha. I love these guys….but right now….they are tough to watch.


    • ty

      Brandon–it seems like Nate Sampson has been around forever. Is he a filler or does he have a chance? Stunning that Ha has no homeruns and never recall Ridling slumping. Oh, well, the game will humble you!

      • Brandon

        Nate has been the “elder statesman” on the team this season. He is a fan favorite, but if I am speaking with my head….I’d say he is a roster filler. He seems pretty comfortable with his role, and simply put…..he gets the most out of his talents. I’m just not sure that I see that talent ascending into a regular gig in MLB. He is a gamer who gives everything he’s got on the field, and as a fan, he is what you want to see from a player. He appreciates putting on the uniform, and does not play with a sense of entitlement. He is playing very well these days, and I root for him to get to the next level. I think as the Cubs realize their potential for the season at the big league level and you start to see some player movement, he’ll be in line to go to AAA.

        Jae-Hoon Ha is squaring the ball up nicely and has had several doubles off the wall…..they just have not gone out for a HR yet. It’ll come. Nice to see him heating up.

        Ridling seems to break a bat at least once a game. Pitchers are tying him up inside then going away with breaking balls. He has been playing left field primarily because Justn Bour has been in the lineup at first base as Buddy bailey’s primary guy. He looks frustrated.