The Tennessee Smokies piled on the runs in the third inning of Friday night’s game, but it almost did not happen. To be honest, it should not have happened.

With two outs in the third and Matthew Szczur on first, Logan Watkins lined one into the outfield. Szczur turned for home, and as the throw came into the plate it was clear Szczur was going to be safe by a mile. The catcher fielded the ball a few feet in front of the plate and, as Szczur was crossing home, turned his attention to holding Watkins at second.

Meanwhile, Szczur did not touch home. As he ran across the plate he stepped right over the bag, and the umpire noticed. Szczur immediately circled back around, touched the plate, received an acknowledgement from the umpire, and trotted into the dugout (where he was no doubt harassed for missing the plate). More to the point, the catcher still had the ball when Szczur missed the plate. Had the BayBear’s catcher (or pitcher, who should have been backing up the play) been paying attention, Szczur would almost certainly have been tagged out, the run would not have counted, and the inning would have been over in embarrassing fashion for the home team.

As things turned out, though, Szczur was the first of seven Smokies who would cross the plate that inning. Even worse for Mobile, Tennessee’s margin of win was six runs. If that catcher had been paying attention and tagged Szczur out, Mobile might have won the game.


And now on to the rest of the games. We’ll be doing this one Lightening Round style. My vacation is drawing to an end and I have many miles to go before I sleep.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – The Cubs pulled away in the latter innings for a 5-3 win.
Tennessee – The Smokies used a huge third inning to cruise to an 11-5 win.
Daytona – Daytona played two on Friday. They won the first one 4-3, but fell in the nightcap 11-5.
Peoria – The Chiefs fell behind early and could not recover in this 8-2 loss.
Boise – Boise scored six times in the second inning, but they lost anyway 7-6.
Arizona – The AZL Cubs had Friday off.

Performances of the Day

  • [Iowa] Adrian Cardenas homered in the eighth inning of this contest. Given how good of a hitter he is, I was surprised to see that it was just his third Iowa home run this season.
  • [Tennessee] Matt Szczur, Junior Lake, and Rubi Silva all went long in this contest. Jae-Hoon Ha bounced one off the wall in straightaway center that would have been out in either of the allies.
  • [Daytona] Eliesser Bonne and Christian Villanueva both homered for the Cubs in Game One. Those two home runs accounted for all the Cubs’ scoring in that win.
  • [Peoria] Dustin Geiger homered and drove in both of Peoria’s runs.
  • [Boise] – Marco Hernandez had a three hit night, and Albert Almora and Jeimer Candelario added two hits apiece.

Other Minor League Notes

  • Look for Tony Zych to get a long look from the Cubs in spring training. His motion is a little unorthodox, but that works in his favor. He has a very quick delivery that, combined with the jerkiness and his velocity, should make life more difficult for batters. He does take too long between pitches, but that is my only complaint. I would not be surprised to see him in Chicago’s bullpen sometime next summer.
  • And speaking of Tennessee pitchers, I liked what I saw from starter Dallas Beeler as well. Beeler has some work to do before he’s ready for the big stage, but I think he’ll get there. His ceiling is probably that of a 3/4 starter.
  • Despite the loss, Boise remains on the doorstep of the clinching their division. They could wrap things up this weekend.
  • Zach

    Baez has looked pretty bad at daytona. I know he hasn’t had a chance to hit his groove yet due to all the rainouts. I don’t think he will be playing in tge AFL.

    • Brett

      I don’t know that Baez’s performance in Daytona, in extremely limited action, will be the determining factor in whether he plays in the AFL or not. To be fair, I never really thought he would play in the AFL this year, given the roster limitations.

    • Gabriel

      He looked just as bad when he first got called up to Peoria, and look how awesome that turned out. Its a process to get comfortable at every level, & I think you’re right in thinking that the ridiculous number of rainouts has hurt Baez and Daytona as a team.

  • Zach

    I think if he came out the gate hitting like he did in peroia he would of had a real shot of playing in the AFL.

    • Brett

      I think we can’t really know – the AFL isn’t always a reward or a challenge for good play. It’s frequently a proving ground for 40-man roster decisions, or a place where a team wants a kid to work on something specific.

  • Dan

    Baez should play in the AFL as the team needs his development to be expedited and the only way this happens is with experience – I expect Almora and Soler to go too…all three are tied to the future sustainable success of the organization & it does not hurt them to go – truly no downside to it.

    • Gabriel

      They can only send 2 of the 3 – maybe only 1 in fact because I believe you’re only allowed to send one player below AA. They might be able to send Soler as an exception since he was an IFA, but they definitely cannot send all three this year.

    • keith

      i think everyone on the 40 maqn roster should go to the AFL to work on some things. booya

  • The Show

    Hey Luke I have a question about Arodys Vizcaino. Do you think the Cubs will try and stretch him out as a starter next year or do you think due to recent injuries, do you think they just use him out of the pen and potentially a closer?

    • Luke

      I think he’ll spend next season rehabbing in the minors in both capacities. Ultimately, the Cubs are going to try to keep him as a starter until he proves he can’t do it.

  • Tommy

    Hey Luke – you got any info on this Timothy Saunders character? He’s been hitting pretty well since he’s come to Peoria, and I looked up his numbers, and it looks like he’s been hitting pretty well everywhere they’ve put him. Just wondered if you had anything to say about him. Wasn’t he a fairly low round draft pick?

    • Drew7

      He looked really good in tonight’s game – had a 2B, HR, and flew out to the wall in CF in his last AB.

      • Tommy

        Nice. Thanks for the update, Drew!

  • Dan

    I stand corrected – Soler can go as he is a foreign player – Baez probably will go as their 1 loan rep from below AA but their is no limit of how many a team can send – the roster limit in the league is 30

  • Will

    Thanks for slipping in some Frost, Luke. It’s always fun to run across these things when you don’t expect them. I’ve been reading Brett since he was Ace (and really enjoying it) and this is the first time I’ve been compelled to comment. While I’m here I want to say both of you guys do a good job and this is where I come for information about my Cubs. Thanks and Good Work to you both.