August means two very different things for the major and minor leagues. For the majors, it means an end to easy, straightforward trades and the beginning of the revocable waiver trade season. If you need a primer on waiver wire trades, Brett has you covered.
For the minors, though, August is the stretch run. This is pretty much the final month of the season. While half the playoff slots in most leagues have already been claimed by the first half winners, every team would love to roll into the playoffs fresh off a second half division title. Plus, unlike the end of the first half, the playoffs are right around the corner. For the players and the local fans, these minor league championships are a fairly big deal.
And the Cubs are in a very good position to compete for some of those titles. Iowa is slumping badly on their Western swing, but they are still just four and a half games back with a bunch of home games coming up in August. The Triple A Cubs could make a run and sneak into the postseason.
Tennessee is in command of their own destiny. They lead Birmingham by a game and a half and happen to have one of the most potent rosters in the league. These Smokies are good enough to win the Southern League; they currently have the best second half record in the league.
Daytona is even better shape. The High A Cubs lead the Yankees by four games, are in possession of the best road record in the league, and are tied for the league lead in second half wins. Even though Soler and Baez are no longer with Daytona, there is enough talent on this roster to win another Florida State League title.
And then we have the Hawks. Boise is lurking just a game out of their division. This is a very streaky team, though. If the Hawks get hot at the right time against division competition they could run away with this thing. If they slump at the wrong time, though, they could find themselves underwater in a hurry. Boise has the talent to push into the postseason yet again, but I doubt Hawks fans will be able to breathe easy until the end of the month.
Scores From Yesterday
Iowa - Iowa has got to be looking forward to a home game. They dropped another on their tough road trip, 9-3.
Tennessee - The Smokies won a close one 2-1.
Daytona - Daytona was rained out.
Kane County - Thanks to this 6-2 win, the formerly hapless Cougars have won three straight.
Boise - Boise could not get the offense going in this 5-1 loss.
Arizona - Arizona tied it up in the seventh, but still lost 3-2.
Performances of Note
- [Iowa] Jae-Hoon Ha kept his hot streak alive with a double, his 7th for Iowa.
- [Iowa] Barret Loux struggled, and Alberto Cabrera has been better, but Marcus Hatley pitched quite well to finish off the game.
- [Tennessee] Kyle Hendricks was once again effective. Although he gave up 7 hits over 6 innings while striking out just 4, he was able to limit the damage to a single run by giving up only one walk.
- [Tennessee] Justin Bour tied up the game with his 15th home run in the seventh inning.
- [Tennessee] Javier Baez finished this game 1 for 4 with no walks and, most importantly, no strikeouts. He also picked up his second steal as a Smokey in the ninth inning. He later scored the winning run on a grounder to the pitcher.
- [Kane County] Tayler Scott gave up 7 hits, but managed to allow just 2 runs to score in his 5 innings. Andrew McKirahan (3 K, 2 IP) and Armando Rivera (4K, 2 IP) pitched very well in relief.
- [Kane County] Albert Almora and Rock Shoulders each finished 2 for 4.
- [Boise] James Pugliese has been pitching pretty well this year, but he struggled some last night for the Hawks (9 hits over 5 innings). Eddie Orozco looked pretty good, though, striking out 4 in 2 innings of relief.
- [Boise] Daniel Lockhart collected 2 hits and 2 steals in this one. His line now reads .309/.358/.340.
- [Arizona] Rashad Crawford, Francisco Sanchez, and Mark Malave all had a pair of singles in this game.
- [Arizona] Ryan Searle gave up 3 hits over 2 innings in his rehab start. Trey Lang struck out 2 over 1.1 innings to end the game.
- The first round of Mascot Mania is over, and unfortunately none of the Cub teams are represented in the Championship Round. Making the cut, however, are Ballapeno (San Antonio Missions), Gigante (San Jose Giants), Ferrous (Aberdeen IronBirds), and the mascot I suspect is destined to win this thing, Barley (Hillsboro Hops), among others. Given the groundswell of independent breweries popping up all over the place, how can dancing beer flavoring with an identity crisis not walk away with the title? I’m rooting for the upset, though. I’m casting my vote for Orbit (Great Falls Voyagers).
- Eloy Jiminez has officially signed. He has the potential to be a high-impact player that we could be talking about for quite some time, but we won’t start talking about him too much just yet. For now he will not be appearing on the Bleacher Nation Top 40 Prospects List at all. Until he plays in the United States he is not eligible for ranking, but I would not be surprised to see him arrive in the U.S. as soon as next fall. He is likely to spend a season in the Dominican or Venezuelan Summer Leagues next summer, but if he plays well there he could be in the Instructional League in Mesa next fall.