In the post free agency era of baseball, finding players like Kerry Wood who are strongly identified with a single team, and loved by the fans of that team, is becoming increasingly difficult. If a player is too good, no matter how much he is loved he will eventually leave for greener pastures (like Albert Pujols) and will likely never return. Other players do spend nearly their entire careers with the same team, but they lack the raw ability needed for a player to reach even Wood’s level of star status. In other words, if we are to find the next Kerry Wood we need to find a player who is good enough to win acclaim, but not so good other teams will lure him away. He needs to be a guy who can hang around for a long time, but also be a guy who can come through in the big games and win the love of the fans. That is a tough set of criteria.
So, who might be the next Kerry Wood (in terms of becoming a beloved Cubs icon)? Projecting that sort of a career is nearly impossible, but there are a few candidates that might be worth considering. One, in particular, stands out.
Brett Jackson, I think, will be in the good-enough-but-not-too-good sweet spot, and he has a reputation for playing hard no matter what. I think the fans will love his mix of power, speed, and defense even as they hate his strikeouts. The brick walls may shorten his career, but if he can survive those he has a good chance to stick around for a while.
There are other candidates to become future Cubs’ lifers in the mold of Kerry Wood. I can make a case for Chris Rusin (if he has success as a back of the rotation starter), Jeff Samardzija, and Darwin Barney. I’m tempted to make an argument for Matthew Cerda, but that would likely be premature. Time will tell who it is going to be, but I suspect that guy is either on the roster or in the farm system right now.
Iowa’s pitchers allowed a single run in each of the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, but otherwise kept the Bees in check to force the game into extras. Scott Maine pitched a scoreless ninth, but when he went back out for the tenth he ran into trouble,ultimately giving up two runs. Iowa got one of those rubs back, but could not finish the job.
Now that the Cubs have two catchers on the major league disabled list and Blake Lalli has been called to Chicago, the Iowa Cubs are down to just Juan Apodaca behind the plate. I don’t expect any team to run with just one catcher very long. I think a roster move of some kind will be coming soon.
Nick Struck and Brian Schlitter combined to pitch a decent game, but they were sunk by a lack of run support. Struck pitched into the seventh and allowed four runs (all earned) on his way to his fourth loss of the season. Schlitter collected the final five outs.
The Smokies managed just five hits in this game. Jae-Hoon Ha led the way with two singles. The only extra base hit for the Tennessee squad was a double from Michael Burgess. Matthew Cerda and Luis Flores contributed singles, but the rest of the bats were silent.
High A – Daytona Cubs. 16 – 23
Daytona won a game, and sure enough it was thanks in part to some good pitching by a left handed starting pitcher. Despite making three errors, the Cubs earned the 8-4 win.
Frank Del Valley had perhaps his best start of the season. He pitched six innings, allowing four runs (one earned) on six hits with two walks while striking out eight. A.J. Morris was perfect in the seventh, and Scott Weismann nailed down the final six outs for his first save of the season.
Daytona piled up their eight runs on thirteen hits and three stolen bases. Matthew Szczur went 2 for 5 with two steals; he now has 18 steals this season. Arismendy Alcantara was 3 for 4. Richard Jones and Greg Rohan both enjoyed three hits a piece. Two of Rohan’s were two baggers; Jones had one double, but he also led the team with three runs batted in. Rubi Silva singled and stole a base.
Jose Rosario struck out nine over five and a third innings. He only allowed two runs on six hits, but he still wound up with the loss. Hunter Cervenka, making his Cubs’ farm system debut, ran into some trouble. He gave up four runs on three hits and two walks, but only one of those runs were earned. Austin Reed came into pitch the final inning, and allowed two more runs to cross the plate.
Wes Darvill, with a double, accounted for all of Peoria’s extra base hits. Two of their five total hits were provided by Rafael Lopez. Paul Hoilman and Darvill both reached base twice with a hit and a walk.