The Smokies simply could not find a way to win in Jacksonville. The Suns, one of the better teams in the Southern League, had an answer for every Tennessee rally this series. The Smokies dropped four straight.
The young lefty struck out eight and walked four over nine no-hit innings. He became the first Smokey to toss a no-hitter in thirteen years, and he did it in just 108 pitches. Every great pitching performance has a great defensive play or two behind it, and in this one the highlights came from the infielders in the ninth. Villanueva and Baez both completed tough plays to set up the final out, and Bour calmly picked a tough throw from the dirt to seal it.
Double A is a tough league. Player here are considered one phone call from the majors, and the level of competition reflects that. A Double A no-hitter, let alone a no-hitter on the road against a good team like Jacksonville, is a significant accomplishment. This won’t change his prospect status, won’t make him more likely to be promoted, and won’t fast track him to Chicago, but it does confirm that Jokisch is not a prospect we can afford to ignore. If you are looking for candidates to flesh out the back of the Cubs rotation or solidify their bullpen in a year or two, Jokisch is definitely a name to remember.
Not to rub salt in the wound if you missed out on this slice of history, but remember that every minor league game, including the Smokies games, are broadcast via a radio stream over the internet for free. Just pull up the team’s homepage (linked below) at game time and click the link beside the box score. If you have MiLB.TV the link the video stream will be in that same place.
Scores From Yesterday
Iowa - Despite three errors Iowa wins another one by a final of 10-3.
Tennessee - If you missed this game, find a friend who has MiLB.TV and make them let you watch a replay. The Smokies cruised to a 10-0 win.
Daytona - Daytona had a (scheduled) day off.
Kane County - The Cougars earn another road win, 6-2.
Boise - Boise was off, but a large part of the roster was participating in the All-Star game. More on that in a bit.
Arizona - A ninth inning rally was not enough as Arizona lost 2-1.
Performances of Note
- [Iowa] This is the kind of game Mike Olt needed. He finished 1 for 2 with 3 walks and his 12th Triple A home run. He did not strike out.
- [Iowa] Recently we have been watching Daniel Lockhart make the geography-induced titanic leap from Boise to Iowa. In this game he was joined on that vault by catcher Cael Brockmeyer. The 2013 draftee finished 1 for 3 with a walk and 2 strikeouts.
- [Iowa] Minor league veteran Edgar Gonzalez exploded for 5 hits, including 3 home runs, in this game.
- [Tennessee] Just in case you missed the headline or the introduction, Eric Jokisch struck out 8 in his no-hitter over Jacksonville. Some great infield defense in the ninth helped him put this game away.
- [Tennessee] In addition to his no-hitter saving catch, Javier Baez also went 4 for 6 with a pair of doubles and just one strike out. Suddenly his batting average is up to .273, his OPS is at .945, and his K% has drifted down to 32.5%. That is still high, but the numbers are trending in the right direction.
- [Tennessee] Matt Szczur (2 for 5, BB, 2B), Rubi Silva (3 for 5, BB), and Jonathan Mota (2 for 5, 2B) also had a good day.
- [Tennessee] As if pitching a no-hitter wasn’t enough, Jokisch just had to make his day even more awesome with a 2 for 4 game at the plate. He also drew a walk.
- [Kane County] Gioskar Amaya finished 3 for 5 with a double and his 12th stolen base.
- [Kane County] Oliver Zapata finished 2 for 4 with a home run (his 6th) and a stolen base (his 11th).
- [Kane County] Reggie Golden also homered. It was his 7th of the season.
- [Kane County] On the mound, Michael Hamann kept his scoreless streak alive for another inning. Andrew McKirahan and Al Yevoli also pitched well in relief.
- [Boise] The Hawks’ own Tyler Bremer struck out the one man he faced to earn the save in the Northwest League All Star Game. The first two outs in the ninth were earned by fellow Cub prospect James Pugliese. The lefty struck out one.
- [Boise] Yasiel Balaguert was the starting DH in the exhibition game and finished 0 for 2 with a walk. Lance Rymel, the starting catcher, also finished 0 for 2 with a walk. Starting first baseman Jacob Rogers was 1 for 3.
- [Boise] Coming off the bench in the All-Star Game was the double play combination of SS Carlos Penalver and 2B David Bote. Penalver finished 0 for 2 and Bote 0 for 1, although he did reach base.
- [Arizona] Catcher Wilfredo Petit doubled as part of his 2 for 4 game.
- [Arizona] Center fielder Jeffrey Baez finished 1 for 4 with his 16th stole base, but his other three at bats were strikeouts.
- [Arizona] Trevor Graham struck out 3 in his 3 starting innings. David Villegas pitched the next 3 innings and struck out 5 in total. Villegas also gave up a pair of runs on a hit and 2 walks.
- While there is no doubt that Lockhart and Brockmeyer are going to gain plenty of valuable experience on the Iowa roster, I would not view their promotion over the entirety of the farm system as an indication of any sort of super-prospect status in the eyes of the front office. The Iowa Cubs are playing out West, the Boise Hawks live out West, and Iowa needed some reinforcements. Gioskar Amaya benefited from a similar situation last summer. Odds are good that these two young players will be returned to Boise soon. I should note, though, that we are just weeks from the end of the season. It is not impossible, only unlikely, that one or both might be left in Iowa for the duration of the year.
- As a team the Smokies walked five times against four strikeouts. That is not as awesome as a no-hitter, but it is still awesome.
- Did you miss the catch by Baez in the ninth of the no-hitter? Watch it here.
- The Northwest League All-Star Game was supposed to be the lead for today’s article, but Jokisch had other ideas. Eight Cub prospects were named to the team, and seven of them played (the exception was Lockhart, now with Iowa). The South (featuring those Cub prospects) rallied for three in the ninth to take the win 8-7, and a pair of Hawks were in that rally. Carlos Penalver grounded out in the ninth, advancing a runner in the process, and infielder David Bote reached in that inning thanks to a hit by pitch.