The Cubs entered Sunday with a chance to clinch two minor league championships, and in both cases the Cubs’ farm teams let a chance to win slip away late. The Smokies opened the day needing a win to stay alive; they got the win. It was not a pretty win, but it kept them alive.
Today we still have two teams one win away from a league title, but we also have two elimination games. If all goes well on the farm the Cubs will finish the day with two championships and a team advancing to their championship series. I’m not sure things will go quite that smoothly, but it should make for a fun and exciting day of minor league baseball.
Scores From Yesterday
Tennessee - The offense picked up the pitching in this 10-7 win that forced a decisive Game Five.
Daytona - The Cubs were two outs away from completing the playoff sweep, but it was not to be. They lost 3-2.
Boise - Boise missed a chance to clinch the title as they dropped this one 4-2.
Performances of Note
- [Tennessee] Once again it was the bottom of the order that carried the Smokies. Rubi Silva finished a perfect 4 for 4 and scored 3 times as the sixth hitter in the lineup. Jonathan Mota, hitting eighth, finished 2 for 3 with a triple, a walk, and 3 runs scored. The ninth hitter, Taylor Davis, doubled twice.
- [Tennessee] The Smokies’ version of Murderer’s Row was once again silent. Arismendy Alcantara did finish 2 for 5 as the second hitter, but behind him Javier Baez, Justin Bour, and Christian Villanueva all finished with no hits. If Tennessee is going to win the Southern League that crew has to start hitting.
- [Tennessee] It was not a particularly good day for the Smokies pitching either. Eduardo Figueroa struggled badly in his 2.1 inning start, but A.J. Morris was able to stop the bleeding and turned in 2.2 pretty good innings. Tennessee then proceeded use practically the entire bullpen over the rest of the game. Tony Zych (1.2 innings, 1 H, 3 K) probably had the best day of the bunch.
- [Daytona] Corey Black only struck out 2 in his 6 innings on the mound, but gave up just one hit and walked only two.
- [Daytona] Pin-Chieh Chen finished 3 for 4 as the leadoff hitter for the Cubs, and number two hitter Zeke DeVoss reached twice on a single and a walk.
- [Daytona] Dan Vogelbach finished 1 for 4 with one of the teams’ RBIs, and Kris Bryant finished 1 for 3 with a walk. The only extra base hit for Daytona was a double by Chadd Krist.
- [Boise] The Hawks got another great performance out of starter Paul Blackburn. Through 5 innings he struck out 9 while allowing a single run on 3 hits and a walk.
- [Boise] Unfortunately the offense could not back Blackburn up. Doubles from Jesse Hodges, Rony Rodriguez, and Jordan Hankins were the only extra base hits for the Hawks. Only Hankins had a multi-hit day (2 for 4).
- At one point the Smokies trailed this series 0 and 2, but they have played it back to even. Tonight is the fifth and final game of the series, though. Tonight the North Division Champion will be crowned. Game time is 7:15 PM Eastern, and the game will be on MiLB.TV. You can also listen for free through the team website.
- When the Smokies attempt to win their third must-win game in a row tonight, they will be sending Neil Ramirez to the mound. Ramirez, the strikeout artist who came over from Texas to complete the Garza trade, has had a very good season in Double A this year. He should give Tennessee a great chance to win this game and advance to the Southern League Championship Series. The Barons answer with Myles Jaye. This right hander spent much of the season getting hit to the tune of a 4.18 ERA at High A Winston-Salem, and in fact only has 3.2 innings of Double A experience. In those innings he gave up 7 runs on 8 hits and a pair of walks. He does have a shutout to his credit this season, though, so this could turn into quite a game.
- The best of five Florida State League Championship Series continues tonight in Charlotte and once again the Cubs just need a win to walk away the champs. Game time is 6:30 PM ET, and the radio feed will be available for free from the Daytona Cubs website.
- Charlotte has not yet announced a starter for this game, but Cubs will be sending C.J. Edwards to the mound. Edwards, like the rest of this deep and talented Daytona rotation, has been very good this postseason. If the Cubs need a shutout to clinch the win, he is very capable of delivering that shutout.
- The Northwest League Championship Series is a best of three one, and that means the Hawks will see their season end in Canada tonight. They either head home with the title or they just head home. Game Three starts at 8:05 PM Mountain Time.
- With everything on the line the starting pitcher for the Hawks will be Michael Wagner. Wagner has primarily been a reliever for Boise this season, so I don’t expect he will go much past three innings. He has not had a standout season this year, either. He’s shown an ability to earn plenty of strikeouts and ground balls, though, so if he can keep the walks under control in this game Boise could be in good shape. Pitching for Vancouver will be Tom Robson. Robson is a fantastic ground ball pitcher and will be tough to beat. The Hawks may not get many chances in this game; if they are going to win it they will need to take advantage of most of them.