Bleacher Nation has readers everywhere, including, probably, the great state of Idaho. If you happen to live in the land of potatoes, mountains, the Hawks, and funky colored football fields, you could be the National Anthem Singer or Public Address Announcer for the Cubs’ Northwest League affiliate.

On June 2 anyone can wander by Memorial Stadium from 9 AM to 11 AM and try out. No experience necessary. No registration necessary. No age restrictions. Presumably you have to be human, but any talking animals with a great speaking voice who can correctly pronounce names from three different continents and several different lingual traditions should absolutely go for it! This could be the first step on a long and glorious journey that will end with you behind the microphone in Wrigley Field.

If any of you do happen to stop by for a tryout, be sure to head over to the Message Board and write up your experience. And, should you happen to be selected to sing or serve as a PA person, I think your performance could only be enhanced by some fine Bleacher Nation apparel.

AAA – Iowa Cubs. 24 – 27
The rains in Nebraska kept Iowa off the field. They’ll make up yesterday as part of a doubleheader today. Remember, as is almost always the case in the minors, double header games last seven innings instead of the usual nine.

AA – Tennesse Smokies. 22 – 31
It usually isn’t a good sign when the starting pitcher does not finish the fifth inning. That was the case in this game as the Smokies lost 6-4.

Dallas Beeler left the game after throwing 95 pitches. Thanks in part to giving up nine hits and two walks, those 95 pitches only got him four and two thirds innings. He took his fifth loss of the season.

Ty’relle Harris and Frank Batista combined for two and a third scoreless innings in relief. Marcus Hatley gave up a run on two hits in his two innings of work.

Junior Lake hit his third home run as part of a two hit game. He had the only multi-hit day for the Smokies. Matt Cerda doubled and Michael Brenly homered (his first) for the team’s only other extra base hits.

High A – Daytona Cubs. 20 – 30
It took another late rally, but Daytona pulled off the win, 6-5.

Frank Del Valle pitched a rocky four and a third innings, giving up five runs on four hits (two home runs) with two walks and three strikeouts. It was far from his best day on the mound, but thanks to the offense he escaped the loss.

The bullpen did a great job of shutting down the Manatees after Del Valle left. Hayden Simpson, Eduardo Figueroa, Tony Zych (who got the win) and Scott Weismann (who earned the save) all pitched well in relief.

John Andreoli was in the lead off slot for this game, and he made the most of it. He finished 2 for 3 with a run scored and two walks. He also stole his fifteenth base of the season. Since Andreoli was leading off, that meant Matthew Szczur was batting third. That also went well (1 for 3, 2 BB). Arismendy Alcantara was 2 for 5 with his fourteenth steal. Nelson Perez stole his sixth base of the year.

Thanks to a dismal RISP number (2 for 12), it took Daytona 12 hits and four walks to score their six runs.

Low A – Peoria Chiefs. 23 – 30
Things went south quickly for the Chiefs, and it resulted in a 10-1 blowout loss.

Ben Wells was pitching fairly well when he suddenly exited with one out in the fourth inning. I’m not sure if he was ejected (he had just hit a batter), injured, on a pitch count, or what, but considering he had given up just one run on four hits with one walk while striking out four, it looks a little odd.

Starling Peralta collected five outs, walked five, and gave up a grand slam home run (and three total hits) in a complete disaster of an appearance. Felix Pena got two outs, but also allowed two more runs to score on three hits and two walks.

And that brings me to Hunter Cervenka. The guy we thought very little of when he arrived from the Boston system threw two and a third scoreless innings and struck out six. There is no need to rush to judgement quite yet, but his last two appearances have certainly gotten my attention.

There wasn’t much good news for the Chiefs at the plate in this game. Yaniel Cabezas and Wes Darvill both had two hits, but the team did not have any hits for extra bases.

  • oswego chris

    I was perusing the stats of all the minor league teams yesterday…and there just isn’t any starting pitching to be excited about…is there? Does seem like there are a couple potential bullpen arms…

    • Cubs Dude

      I feel the same way. I wonder if we will be trading some of our positional prospects to try and get some decent minor league pitching prospects. I am sure we’ll draft the hell out of pitching, but they can’t force pitching if there are better players on the board. I think improving the pitching prospects in the minors may be the biggest challenge for the new FO.

      • oswego chris

        one of the things Hendry’s regime did right was draft and sign the hell out of pitching in the early 2000’s…we had arms everywhere…and then Prior fell into our lap…12 years later Zambrano, Juan Cruz, Lohse, Willis, still kicking around…not all great, but they have been big leaguers…they also had prospects that just got hurt like Guzman, Christensen, Brownlie…

        • Edwin

          As bad as the minor league system ended up being in later years, they had one of the most exciting minor leagues in baseball around 2002-2003.

    • Norm

      Ben Wells is about it…the numbers don’t scream excitement, but his age makes up for it. “Project Prospect” recently ranked him as 1 of 7 “Elite” teenage prospects in full season leagues.

    • Luke

      Depends on how excited you want to be.  The Cubs have a lot of guys who project as high as No 3 starters in the majors, but not many who project higher than that.

      • AB

        I dunno. I’m not too thrilled with a bunch of guys whose projected ceilings are #3 starters. To me its like a z-curve. If a guys ceiling is pegged as a #3 its just the higher likelihood he’ll just wind up as back of the rotation/organization filler or a bullpen role as their stuff becomes exposed at upper levels like Jay Jackson and Trey McNutt.

  • CubFan Paul

    According to Cubs Den, Ben Wells was on a pitch count because he’s coming off a ‘minor injury’

  • mark

    Bad link to the Daytona game–linked to Smokies.

    • Luke

      Should be fixed.  Thanks.

  • Idaho Razorback

    I live in Hayden, Idaho, 35 miles east of Spokane, WA, one city north of Coeur d’ Alene and 40 miles south of Sandpoint. I can’t try out for the gig in Boise because it’s 400 miles from where I live. I will have to settle to watch Boise play the Spokane Indians in Spokane. I can’t wait for Boise’s season to start. They will be the Cubs most exciting minor league team this year.

  • Brandon

    Last night in TN, the Smokies dropped a heartbreaker. This game had many highs and lows that were missed in the notes above (hey….that’s why I am here right)…..

    A quick recap:
    Dallas Beeler is a very good pitcher. But as I have witnessed all year long, our pitchers lack the poise necessary to overcome a bad defensive play. Matt Cerda made a costly throwing error on a ball that Justin Bour could not pick out of the dirt to save (more later). This led to back to back singles, and more runs. UGGH. Dallas has the “stuff” to be a decent pitcher, but right now, poise under durress is the biggest issue.

    Junior Lake his a MAMMOTH homerun last night. This ball flew out to left center….over the fence, above the grassy hill, over the secondary fence, and into the trees. This was an absolute missile. Why pitchers continue to challenge Junior with fastballs I will never know. He has shown he can absolutely crush them. On the flip side….the guy could not hit a curveball or breaking ball to save his life. Period. He is comical at the plate on pitches that have a wrinkle. Just sayin,

    The bullpen was solid once again. Hatley was dominating, but once again was a victim of a poor defensive effort by Justin Bour who could not pick a ball out of the dirt by Nate Samson at 3rd (who replaced Cerda because of his poor defense). While the errors go to the 3rd baseman for both of these…..from my seat in Row 1 on the 1st base side…..Justin Bour needs to make those plays. This guy is quickly becoming a skillet at 1st base. He must improve. Rebel Ridling needs to be at 1st base instead of left field.

    Smokies are in dead last in the Southern league. It is frustrating because they have been in almost every game. (and we have been spoiled the past several seasons with very good teams). Errors are killing this team and our starting pitchers currently lack the poise to overcome them. Our sluggers (Ridling, Ha, Bour and Burgess) need to start hitting dingers too…because our batting averages are no where near .300.

    • Brett

      Good stuff, as always, Brandon.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      “Matt Cerda made a costly throwing error on a ball that Justin Bour could not pick out of the dirt to save (more later). This led to back to back singles, and more runs.”

      I’m not sure I buy your conclusion.  If he had given up walks or extra base hits, then I would consider that plausible, especially if he had not been giving up those before.  However, a huge proportion of singles are not very well hit.  So, were these singles hit especially harder than outs from earlier that inning or prior innings?  If he was so susceptible to rattling, why didn’t the singles (of whatever variety) lead to walks and extra base hits?

      This actually is important because if, under duress, a pitcher is not walking guys and letting the ball be put into play in such a way that the other team can get only singles out of it, then he’s handling the situation well: he’s just not getting the breaks.

    • Luke

      Nice report.  There is no substitute for first hand accounts from the game.

  • willis

    Junior Lake is raking.

    As far as pitching…keep an eye on Whitenack once he gets through the rust. He’s got some badass talent. But Luke is right, as we sit, probably no one that can project out to be a front line 1-2 starter.

    • CubFan Paul

      Lake just surpassed 100 plate attempts too (.300/.370/.500). Iowa, Iowa anyone?

      • Luke

        If he’s having trouble with breaking pitches, he’s better off in Tennessee.

        • CubFan Paul

          If? who has reported that he’s having trouble with breaking pitches?

          • Luke

            Brandon, just a bit further up the page.

            • CubFan Paul

              i read that. He also called Jae Hoon Ha a slugger. anybody can look bad against breaking stuff any given day due to a variety of factors

              .300/.370/.500 just didnt come off fastballs

              • AB

                Lake has also committed ten errors in a month I believe since being at AA.

                • The Show

                  I dont think Lake is going to be an everyday player, I think he’ll be a more frequently used utility player.

          • Cubbie Blues
  • Serious Cubs Fan

    how’d Javier Baez do today? Anyone know? Did he get the day off

    • CubFan Paul

      He contributed to the loss with 3 strikeouts

      • Shawon O’Meter

        Paul, when you wake up in the morning do you piss in your own Cheerios before someone else has the opportunity? Your negativity is unrivaled.

        • CubFan Paul

          LOL. I should of said Baez was the game’s only bright spot after getting hit by a pitch and coming around to score the only run

  • The Show

    I know Junior Lake makes a lot of errors, but are they because of wild throws, decision making, is it a specific problem or a combination of them?