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iowa cubs mascotThe Mascot Mania contest is a never ending fount of zanny awesomeness. You could fill a book with entertaining antics of minor league franchises.

Mascot races are fairly well known in the majors (the Sausage Race, the President’s Race), so of course the minors get in on the act as well. Up in Buffalo (International League) the stalk called Celery apparently is the nightly loser of the Chicken Wing Race. Bleu Cheese or one of the Wings always beats him.

And then we have the Fruit Race of the Jackson Generals. Apparently four pieces of classic video game inspired fruit run around the infield while being harassed by a guy in a monkey suit. Or, according to this promotional video, Santa Claus.

Finally, as some of you have no doubt witnessed, we have the vicious, full-contact event that is the Potato Race held by the Cubs’ own Boise Hawks.

With racing celery and fruit tackling Santas in between innings of frequently excellent baseball, is it any wonder that I love the minors?

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – This game remained scoreless for eight and a half innings (rare for a PCL game) before the Cubs finally won it in the bottom of the ninth, 1-0.
Tennessee – The Smokies got some nice work from the bullpen, but they could not come all the back. They lost 6-4.
Daytona – Daytona dropped the first game of the doubleheader 5-3, but they took Game Two 7-0.
Kane County – Kane County had the day off.
Boise – Boise put together a nice game in all aspects as they rolled to a 7-0 win.
Arizona – A seventh inning burst carried the AZL Cubs to a 7-2 win.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Guillermo Moscoso stuck out 9 in 5 innings, allowing a lone hit and 3 walks. If the Cubs need another starter late this season, he could get the call. Could be a candidate for a PTBNL / IFA Pool money type deal as well.
  • [Iowa] Henry Rodriguez, Casey Coleman, and Brian Schlitter completed the shutout.
  • [Iowa] Logan Watkins was the lone Cub with two hits. Catcher J.C. Boscan had the only walk.
  • [Tennessee] Marcos Mateo and Frank Batista both tossed scoreless frames in relief of Eric Jokisch.
  • [Tennessee] Javier Baez hit his 5th Double A home run in this one. His strikeout rate is still elevated, but his OPS has ticked up lately, and he is now just a bit under .700 for his short Double A career. His numbers against lefties are solid, but he is having a lot of trouble with right handers. Sample size alert still applies.
  • [Daytona] Pierce Johnson pitched the first 5 innings of the Game Two shutout, and allowed just 3 hits and 2 walks in the process. Frank Del Valle finished off the final 2 frames.
  • [Daytona] In Game One Zach Cates got into trouble in the first inning, but once he left Austin Reed cruised through 4.1 scoreless, and allowed just two hits on the way. Chang-Yong Lim allowed nothing but a walk and struck out 3 over the final 2 innings to end it.
  • [Daytona] Wes Darvill put together a good pair of games. After doubling in the first game, he followed that up with a both a double and a triple in the second.
  • [Boise] I really wish Boise was back on MiLB.TV, because I would have loved to have been watching Dillon Maples strike out 7 over 5 innings while allowing just 5 hits. I suspect he was repeating his delivery much more consistently than he was in the last start of his I saw.
  • [Boise] Corbin Hoffner had another nice game (3 IP, 2H, 2K), and Carlos Martinez-Pumarino struck out the side to end it.
  • [Boise] Kris Bryant arrived in Boise and promptly went 0 for 5 with 5 strikeouts. It is way too early to start worrying.
  • [Boise] Jacob Hannemann is back in Boise now. He drew a walk and hit a pair of singles in his 2 for 4 game. Jacob Rogers hit his 5th home run and a double in his 2 for 4 game.
  • [Arizona] Jose Arias allowed just one hit and struck out 2 in his 2 IP as the starter in Arizona. Ethan Elias struck out 3 in 1.2 innings later in the game.
  • [Arizona] Zak Blair reached 3 times on 2 walks and a single, and while he was on base he stole his third bag of the year.

Other News

  • Justin Grimm has appeared on the Iowa roster, but not Mike Olt yet. As soon as Olt does arrive I think we can expect to see him at third base and somewhere in the middle of the order.  He should make his debut in the next day or so.
  • bbmoney

    0-5 5ks = Platinum Sombrero?

    Not that I’m worried, just a logistical question.

    • Jackalope

      Nice. Does that make 0-6 w/ 6 ks the iridium sombrero? Where’s my oxidation/reduction potential chart when I need it?

    • chirogerg

      That’s actually what it’s called

  • http://a-rodminorsavg.324hr/yr7 cub2014

    Platinum sombrero! I love the phrase. So
    0-3 with 3 K’s the silver sombrero? Bryant
    seems to start each new level like Baez.

  • JB88

    Any news on why is it taking Olt so long to get to Iowa?

    • Jp3

      Ha, I think he has 72 hours to report right? Another previous cubs 3B taught me that one.

      • Cedlandrum

        In this case the 3 days probably make sense, since he has to go catch a team in a different city and may have to make arrangements to move. I could handle the money of being a ball player but the life can’t be too glamorous.

        • MichiganGoat

          Yes completely different, Stewart was already in Iowa and just acting like a B when he wan’t called up to the Cubs. My guess is the three days is used quite regularly and for good reasons. Hell I’d think I would have been okay with Stewart if he hadn’t been such a manic-twitter ranter and was complaining about everything before he was DFA’d.

      • CubsFaninMS

        He has Ianitis. Hopefully someone can remove his Twitter account before it gets worse.

  • Jp3

    SSS alert on Bryant but 100% K rate, that doesn’t bode we’ll for his future prospects😊 what’s weird about Olt when he was at Round Rock lately is that he batted 7th or 8th. Odd for someone that is considered a middle of the order bat at the beginning of the season.

  • KidCubbie

    Hopefully Bryant was just getting the K’s out of the way in the first game.

    • Cedlandrum

      Apparently one of them was a really bad call.

  • Cedlandrum

    Wes Darvill went 5-6. Not a bad day.

  • Cedlandrum

    No Dunston in Boise for a second straight day.

    • Jackalope

      Was just thinking he could be in line for a promotion if they can find space at KC. Love more BBs thank Ks for him.

  • Eric

    Ouch. I’m not sure how often 0-5 with 5k’s occur, but ouch.

    • chirogerg

      Relatedly, Bryce Harper went 0-7 with 5 Ks once last year

  • ssckelley

    I was listening to the Boise game last night and one thing to consider about Bryant is that the umpire had a very wide strike zone. There were 27 total strikeouts between both teams and a lot of called 3rd strikes. It led to Penalver getting ejected because he flipped his bat in frustration. Bryant will need to learn how to make adjustments because it happens at the MLB level.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Bigger factor for Bryant is probably rust. I think it was John Arguello on Twitter who commented that it looked like his timing is still off. That’s surprising, really, given the length of his layoff.

      • Hansman1982

        I’d still like to see a study done that looks at big league success (or at least time from draft to MLB debut) and the timing of the player signing. I’d imagine there is much less of a difference now than pre-new-CBA but I just wonder if there is more to it.

      • Alex S.

        Does anyone know how deep in the count those K’s were? I’d feel at least a little better if there were some 3-2 or 2-2 counts…

  • papabear

    Tuffy Rhodes – was signing autographs last night at the Iowa game – hit 3 hr in one game on opening day I believe 1994 – only hit about 10 in his baseball career. Thought he was going to be the next Babe Ruth – I was wrong

    • Tobias

      What was even more amazing was that it was against Doc Gooden.

  • http://a-rodminorsavg.324hr/yr7 cub2014

    I saw an article on Tuffy he was still playing in
    Japan a couple years ago in his 40’s

  • Jackalope

    Schlitter looking awfully good. Would like to see him up when there’s a 40-man spot open.

    • Cedlandrum

      Yep and he has some amazing facial and head hair. He didn’t use to have them so it took me a few times to figure out who he was in the bullpen.

  • mdavis

    Pierce Johnson may be able to move quicker than I expected. The kid has been dominant.

  • Jackalope

    Great to see Maples have a start w/ no BBs. 7 Ks in 5 IP is pretty nice, as well.

    • Cedlandrum

      Yeah I was thinking the same thing. Any positive is good to see from him. He has a ton of potential.

      • Jackalope

        Yeah. His line in KC was scary w/ about as many BBs as IP. Here’s hoping he keeps it up.

    • mdavis

      agreed on this. heard he was hitting 94. hoping this year, finally being fairly healthy, is when they iron out his mechanics, and next year we start seeing the numbers.

  • Jackalope

    Any word on Ryan McNeil? Must be injured this season?

    • Cedlandrum

      TJS

      • Jackalope

        Bummer

  • baseballet

    Does Olt still have blurred vision? Or is that a thing of the past?

    • CubsFaninMS

      baseballet:

      According to reports, Olt’s tear duct was causing him problems after a concussion, causing some pain in his eyes and vision problems. They say that prescription tear drops have resolved the problem and his results at the plate have improved afterward. That being said, his K rate is still higher than you would like.

      • baseballet

        Thanks!

  • Jon

    I’m going to give Bryant a mulligan. Dude flew in yesterday, on a cesssena that must have felt like a death trap.

  • Chris

    Able to see Bryant on his short stay in Mesa. Big loopy swing with his new foreign object called the wooden bat–not composite -not aluminum-but cheap ass wood. Having watched # one prospects show up at Fitch for many years it is usually a struggle. Every player on your team and on the opposing is bigger or more athletic and have been the high school star or college star not only in baseball but football and basketball. You will be accepted but you are just competition for a position. You go to Boise and team members have dads like Dunston and the greatest hockey player of all time, Gretzky. The 12 hr bus ride and work out schedule and cheap rooms and foreign language of other players is new. Facing pitchers who throw very hard and often wild as heck and every team has 11 or 12 of them. It just is not like college where each team might have a couple decent players. Coaches like Bill Buckner do not treat you much differently from any teammate so somewhat off the pedestal. Time will tell and he does appear very athletic and mature–but he will need this second half season and instructional league or even better if they put him on the 5 player Arz Fall League team–that will really jumpstart his career.

    • Cedlandrum

      Bryant won’t be playing the AFL.

      • Chris

        Is there a reason I am not aware of at this time?

        • RynoRooter

          He definitely could be going there. IIRC, only one player below AA can be assigned there from each team. I, personally, figured Soler would go there as a way to make up for all the lost development time from his broken leg. He was in Daytona, so he would be the one “under-AA” player. Of course, it could just as easily be Bryant.

          • On The Farm

            But there is some rule that doesn’t apply to guys like Soler so I think the Cubs could send Soler and Almora/Bryant, with the last two being the one guy below AA

  • jpeck

    So far we have Bryant excuses: too much time off, bad calls, plane ride, bus ride, wood bat, famous dads, and my favorite…..Bill Buckner!!! I’m just having fun, don’t get grumpy at me.

    • ssckelley

      I think that about covers it.

  • RoughRiider

    Striking out 5 times in short season A ball was probably good for Bryant. Before he signed he thought he was ready for the majors right away. I’m guessing he will be a little more humble for awhile and ready to take instruction. I’m sure he will be fine. I’d be surprised (pleasently) if he plays in the AFL. He’ll probably be in the AZ instructs though.

    • On The Farm

      At the time I took his comments to mean he was confident and ready to start his career so I was fine with them. As it turns out what he really meant was he was ready to go once he signed for slot at the deadline.

      • RoughRiider

        I had no problem with him saying he was ready to play in the majors. I wish he was. Nothing wrong with confidence. That’s the kind of confidence that Ron Santo had and I was a fan from day 1.

    • ssckelley

      Striking out 5 times in a game is not good for anybody, I don’t care how you spin it.

      • RoughRiider

        I’m sure that Bryant can handle a 5 strikeout game. We could all use a little humility. Me included.

  • Chris

    R.R. Name the 5 players you see playing AFL. I can not wait for cooler weather and 6 weeks of that great league.

    • RoughRiider

      My guess, and only a guess, would be Baez, Soler, Andreoli, Villanueva & Alcantara. Players usually don’t play in the AFL a second time although it does happen. Baez played last year so I wouldn’t be suprised if Almora played instead. Plus around four pitchers from the on the team.

  • Chris

    R.R. Often they do play a 2nd time. Junior did and Vitters. Does not 5 players include your pitchers. Unless instructs wants to work with Baez on his horrific defense I look for him to play again. Even Bryce Harper played two seasons.

    • Spriggs

      Vitters actually played in the AFL 3 years in a row. Lake only once. You can bring as many as 7 players to the AFL as I recall. Last year the Cubs had Zych, Rhee, Rhoderick, Struck, Baez, Szczur, and Silva. Watkins joined at the end as an injury replacement. There is also a taxi squad – only eligible for Wednesday and Saturday games — I don’t recall any of the Cubs being on that last year. Belliveau was the year before. Harper was his first year.

      As discussed yesterday and a few other days, Soler would be eligible under the foreign born player exception. Almora or Bryant could be the below AA guy (but only one — unless either happened to get to AA by August 3? deadline.

      I’ll be surprised if Baez is not on the team again this year.

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