Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

Baseball is definitely my favorite sport to watch on television, but international soccer has become my second favorite. I do not follow professional soccer at all, so I have no idea who I am seeing on the field other than at the national level. My understanding of the strategies of soccer is rudimentary at best. I know enough of the rules to know I don’t know enough of the rules, and in nearly every game I have no attachment to either of the teams on the field.

So why do I like watching soccer?

Because in soccer, the clock does not stop. That means there are absolutely no commercials for at least forty consecutive minutes. And that is just fantastic.

Speaking of fantastic, the Peoria Cheifs are on a roll. They have lost just one game in the month of June and have pulled to within two games of .500. If you are anywhere near that ballpark, this would be a great time to go see the Chiefs in action.

AAA – Iowa Cubs. 28 – 35
For the second day in a row Iowa faced a double header, and for the second day in a row they split the two games. The Cubs won Game One 1-0, but lost Game Two 3-2.

Brooks Raley was excellent in the opener. He needed just 90 pitches as he threw all seven innings, striking out six on his way to a six hit shutout. Without a doubt, this was his best performance in Triple A.

The pitching in Game Two was pretty good as well. Esmailin Caridad, usually a reliever, was pressed into duty as a starter in this game. He gave up two runs on two hits and three walks in four innings of work, striking out three. Ty’relle Harris, recently arrived from Tennessee, allowed a solo home run in his two innings. Scott Maine struck out three in the final frame.

Matt Tolbert hit a first inning home run in Game One; that was all the offense Raley needed. In Game Two, Ty Wright and Luis Valbuena both doubled; Wright’s extra base hit came as part of a two hit night.

AA – Tennesse Smokies. 29 – 33
It took a late inning rally to seal the deal, but Tennessee walked away on Saturday with yet another win. The happy final was 6-4.

Dallas Beeler allowed three runs on five hits in his five inning start. Jeffry Antigua followed that effort up by striking out three in two innings of relief. Frank Batista hit the pointless pitching stat daily double by picking up both a blown save and the win.

Wellington Castillo, on a rehab assignment, caught for the Smokies in this game. He also walked in all three of his trips to the plate. He then headed to the bench and was replaced behind the plate by Michael Brenly who proceeded to drive a double in both of his two at bats.

Michael Burgess also had a two hit night. Nate Samson went one better – he had three hits. The biggest blow of them all, though, was the two run homer hit by Rebel Ridling.

High A – Daytona Cubs. 27 – 33
This game was close early but got away from Daytona late. The Cubs fell 7-0.

Frank Del Valle struck out four in his five innings. He gave up just four hits, but those hits turned into three runs (two earned) as Del Valle took the loss. Eduardo Figueroa and Joseph Zeller each gave up two runs in their respective innings of work. Ryan Searle pitched a scoreless final frame.

Daytona managed only three hits in this game. The only real offensive highlight was Arismendy Alcatara’s 16th stolen base.

Low A – Peoria Chiefs. 30 – 32
Thanks to their 2-1 win on Saturday, the Peoria Chiefs became the first team in the Cubs’ organization to win 30 games.

Kyler Burke had a great game. He pitched seven shut out innings, allowed just two hits, and struck out nine. Larry Suarez and Luis Liria were able to finish what he started, and Burke walked away with his second win of the season.

Anthony Giansanti had another good game, going 3 for 5. Paul Hoilman and Wes Darvill each had two hits, and each had a double. Javier Baez reached on a walk and stole his fourth base of the season. Zeke DeVoss, who reached four times on a hit and three walks, stole his 15th base.

So far this season, DeVoss has managed to compile the unusual combination of a .244 batting average and a .381 on base percentage. He knows his job is to get on base by any means possible, and he is good at his job.

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