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After yesterday’s loss the Tennessee Smokies have slipped to seven games out in the division. The Double A playoffs are looking increasingly unlikely, and I am starting to get worried.

So long as the Smokies were in playoff contention I did not expect the Cubs to make very many significant late season promotions to Iowa. If Tennessee were to fall out of contention, though, and with the Iowa roster gutted by promotions to Chicago, it would make sense for the Cubs to give players like Logan Watkins, Jae-Hoon Ha, Junior Lake, and Justin Bour a taste of Triple A right at the end of the year. Normally I would be completely in favor of that sort of end-of-year maneuver, but not this season. Not yet.

I am going to be in Tennessee on Thursday and Friday, and the players who are the most likely to be sent to Iowa are exactly the players I am looking forward to watching play. I would hate to get to a Smokies game the day after Lake and Watkins have been shipped north. Unfortunately, that is starting to look like a real possibility. Hopefully the Smokies can forestall any such moves with a few more wins in the next few days.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – The Cubs scored seven times in the eighth and ninth innings to pull away for the 8-1 win.
Tennessee – The Smokies were out hit 11-6 in this 5-4 loss.
Daytona – Tampa scored three times in the eighth to send the Cubs to a 5-2 loss.
Peoria – Despite three home runs, the Chiefs lost 5-4.
Boise – Boise got their crucial road trip off to a good start. They won the first game 7-6.
Arizona – The Cubs committed five errors on their way to this 4-3 loss.

Performances of the Day

  • [Iowa] Scott Maine may struggle when he’s with Chicago, but Triple A hitters give him little trouble. He struck out three over two hitless innings in this game.
  • [Iowa] Dave Sappelt finished the game 3 for 5 with a double and a three run homer, his fifth of the season. Alfredo Amezaga also had a three hit game.
  • [Tennessee] Starter Dae-Eun Rhee struggled (9H, 4BB, 4.2 IP), but the bullpen performed fairly well. Trey McNutt bailed out Rhee with two on and two out in the fifth and finished the day having allowed a walk and a hit while striking out two over 1.1 innings. Casey Weathers also pitched 1.1 innings and also gave up a walk and a hit. Brian Schlitter picked up the final two outs without incident.
  • [Tennessee] Junior Lake hit his third triple for the Smokies. Logan Watkins added a double.
  • [Daytona] Kyle Hendricks gave up two runs on three hits over four innings for the Cubs. This marked his longest outing since being acquired by the Cubs.
  • [Daytona] John Andreoli, Nelson Perez, and Christian Villanueva all finished with a double and two hits. Javier Baez had just a lone hit, but he did steal his third base as a member of Daytona.
  • [Peoria] Starling Peralta gave up three runs over six innings while striking out eight. It will be interesting to see what Peralta can do against tougher competition as he moves up the farm system.
  • [Peoria] Wes Darvill, Dustin Geiger, and Chadd Krist all homered for Peoria in this game. Timothy Saunders added a triple.
  • [Boise] The Hawks used five pitchers in this game, and only one of them (James Pugliese) really struggled. Michael Heesch had a particularly good game by not allowing a single hit over his two innings of work.
  • [Boise] Stephen Bruno hit his third home run in this game. Daniel Vogelbach drove his first Boise triple as part of a three hit night.
  • [Arizona] Starter Ryan McNeil pitched well through three innings for the Cubs, as did most of the relievers who pitched behind him.
  • [Arizona] David Bote and Yasiel Balaguert both tripled in this game. Carlos Penalver put together his fourth multi-hit performance in his past five games.

Other Minor League Notes

  • The Boise Hawks have posted an online survey for fans of the team and people attended a Hawks’ game this season. The survey covers the usual end-of-season survey fodder, but it ends with two very interesting queries.

    Do you think the Hawks should continue to be the Class A Short Season affiliate of the Chicago Cubs?

    and

    Would a new affiliation with a different Major League team entice you to attend more Boise Hawks baseball games?

    I will be very interested in the outcome of this survey. I suspect the status of the Cubs-Hawks relationship will be one of the ongoing stories in the early part of the off season.

  • Mat B

    Went to the Chiefs game last night. It was a beautiful night, a good game, and Jorge Soler looks awful on breaking porches.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Well, frankly, he shouldn’t be breaking porches in the first place.

      • MXB

        Your comment has made my morning.

      • hansman1982

        And that, my friends, is how the Legend of Jorge Soler started.

      • Mat B

        Well, there ya go. Auto-correct strikes again.

  • Carew

    Dude, that Saunders and Krist in peoria seem to just hit, hit, hit.

    • Carew

      Wait, weren’t they college seniors when drafted?

  • Frank

    Two guy’s that I’d really like to see promoted to Iowa, if not higher are Logan Watkins and Nick Struck. Each of them will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft this coming offseason, and each should be considered for protection. Especially Struck. He may not profile as anything more than a 4 starter at best, but due to the organizations lack of pithiness depth at the upper levels, anyone resembling a big league ready starter should be kept in the fold. Struck had a stint in Iowa last season, which wasn’t the best, but wasn’t the worst. He’s gets a lot of Ks, and I’d much rather see him in next year’s rotation over another retread like Germano, Lopez, or the other AAAA flotsam that’s cycled through the Iowa rotation.

    I understand that they have all of winter ball to watch them and decide if they’ll protect them, but at this point, there’s no reason not to get an early look at them, especially when you look at what inhabits the current Iowa roster. It looks like the Newark Bears.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I don’t see the Cubs adding Struck to the 40 man. He could be taken in the Rule 5, but I doubt he will be. A lot of teams have plenty of 4/5 right handed starter candidates and Struck does not really project any higher than that. I think exposing him would be a fairly low risk move.

      Watkins, on the other hand, I hope they protect. Then again, I hoped they were going to protect Flaherty last season and that didn’t happen.

  • MikeW

    Vogelbach tripled? Is there video of this?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Is there an abbreviated 5 minute version that just shows the highlights?

      • Professional_High_A

        +10

        • Scotti

          Vogelbach actually has about average MLB speed (and better than MLB average speed for LF/DH/C/1B types). Just look up his 60 time at Perfect Game. He runs well. Not pretty but well.

          • http://twitter.com/cubsfantroy @cubsfantroy

            So he is Prince Fielder-ish in the running department is what you’re saying?

  • magilljl

    Selfishly I want as many of those guys in Iowa as possible and soon. I-Cubs games have become a bit monotonous with Jackson, Vitters, and Rizzo all gone. But I understand your plight as well.

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