This week has been the week of Brett’s Excellent Vacation; this weekend and into next week is my turn. Once we get off work this evening my wife and I will take off for the mountains of Eastern Tennessee. As it turns out, the Smokies play in that area. What an amazing coincidence!
Despite a sizable dose of live baseball and in person prospecting that will be taking place on Monday and Tuesday night at Smokies Park, this is also a real vacation for us. I plan to still have all the usual columns ready to go at their usual times during this trip, but you’ll probably notice that they will be shorter and cover fewer individual players than I typically do. On the other hand, I suspect the Dailys will have a few more first hand observations of the Smokeys and their loaded roster than normal. There might even be a few pictures.
By the end of next week, though, all should be back to normal. Then we will be down to the final few weeks of the season, the excitement of the stretch run, and the promise of the playoffs just over the horizon.
Scores From Yesterday
Iowa - Back home in Iowa the Cubs began their attempt at a season saving homestand with a 2-1 win.
Tennessee - The Smokies had to score five times in the late innings, but they walked away with a 9-8 win.
Daytona - The Cubs scored eleven times on eight hits in this 11-0 win.
Kane County - Kane County pitched a shutout of their own in this 7-0 win.
Boise - Boise needed the three they scored in the eighth to preserve this 7-5 win.
Arizona - Arizona had the day off.
Performances of Note
- [Iowa] Not only did Kyle Hendricks allow just a run on 4 hits in his Triple A debut, he did it in a game in which the wind was (gently) blowing out. And he struck out 5 over those 7 innings and allowed a single walk. This was exactly the sort of start we have been seeing in Tennessee all season.
- [Iowa] Once and current teammates of Hendricks were there to finish up the game in relief. Alberto Cabrera walked a batter in a scoreless eighth, and Brian Schlitter struck out two in the ninth for his 14th save.
- [Iowa] It isn’t often that I call out an 0 for 3 performances as a good thing in this space, but I have to make an exception for Mike Olt. With Olt, the only real question is whether or not he can make enough consistent contact to take advantage of his power and patience. Even though he went hitless in this game, he did not strike out at all. All of his outs were on balls in play. In fact, since the Cubs arrived in Tacoma on August 3 the third baseman has exactly two strikeouts. He only had three hits in that span, true, but I think the key stat here is the lack of strikeouts. That means he is making contact – perhaps inducing weak grounders and lazy pop-ups instead of lining drives to all fields, but making contact all the same. That is a positive sign.
- [Tennessee] Matt Szczur homered (his 3rd), doubled, stole his 21st base, and finished 4 for 5.
- [Tennessee] Rubi Silva doubled twice and stole his 13th base. Arismendy Alcantara stole number 26 during his 2 hit game.
- [Tennessee] Tony Zych recorded 5 outs while walking a single batter and striking out one.
- [Daytona] Dustin Geiger homered twice (he now has 13) and drove in 5. He finished 3 for 4 with a walk.
- [Daytona] Anthony Giansanti tripled (his first for Daytona) and walked 4 times.
- [Daytona] The shutout was a combination effort from Pierce Johnson (5 IP, 2 H, 6 K), Kyler Burke (3 IP, 1 H, 1 K), and Armando Rivero (1 IP, 2 K).
- [Kane County] Starling Peralta allowed a single hit in 5 innings of work, but he also walked 5. Striking out 5 helped keep him out of trouble.
- [Kane County] The bullpen efforts of Justin Amlung (2.1 IP) and Nathan Dorris (1 IP) finished the game off without giving more than a single hit.
- [Kane County] Reggie Golden stole a base in this game, and I was surprised to see it was his first of the year. I suspect that will become a bigger part of his game as gains some baseball experience.
- [Boise] Yasiel Balaguert doubled and homered (his 6th) as part of his 2 for 4 game.
- [Boise] Kris Bryant homered (his 4th) and walked. He is over 50 plate appearances now and is hitting .292/.352/.583. I can easily imagine him being promoted out of Boise for the final few weeks.
- [Boise] Duane Underwood struck out 2 in his 3 innings of work and yielded nothing but a walk.
- In a not terribly surprising move, Danny Lockhart has been assigned back to Boise from Iowa. As we suspect his call up was a case of Iowa needing some help on their western journey. Interestingly, thanks to a rash of catcher injuries in Iowa and Chicago lately, Cael Brockmeyer has not yet been returned to the Northwest League. In fact, he is now the backup catcher for the Triple A team. Chad Noble was called up from Tennessee to handle the primary responsibilities while Luis Flores is on the disabled list and J.C. Boscan is in the majors.
- Not only did baseball photographer Dylan Heuer bring us some more excellent pictures of the Iowa Cubs in action (including that there shot of Kyle Hendricks), he also picked up some quality (if a little shaky) video of Kyle Hendricks on the mound. Hendricks has some of the best mound presence I’ve seen out of a pitching prospect in some time. He looks completely calm, completely relaxed. He does a nice job hiding the ball until the last second as well.