Yesterday was a sad day for the Cubs farm system.
- It rained out Iowa.
- It rained out Kane County.
- Tennessee lost the game in the ninth inning.
- Daytona wasted a complete game pitching performance and was shut out.
- Albert Almora left the game early.
- If you were at one of those games, your hot dog probably fell in the mud. It was just one of those bad, bad days.
Some good news appeared immediately, though. While Almora left early with a nosebleed, the rumors that he was dealing with a more serious issue were quickly squashed. As confirmed by the Daytona Cubs on Twitter, all Almora had was a bloody nose.
When a bloody nose qualifies as the highlight of the day, you know it’s been a terrible day.
Scores From Yesterday
Iowa - It was raining in Memphis, and this game was postponed.
Tennessee - The Smokies gave up three runs in the ninth to lose 6-4.
Daytona - Daytona held Dunedin to just three hits, but it wasn’t enough. The Cubs lost 1-0.
Kane County - It was also raining in Bowling Green, and this game did not happen either.
Performances of Note
- [Tennessee] C.J. Edwards struck out 7 over 5 innings and 80 pitches, giving up 3 runs on 5 hits and a walk. Those concerned about his durability might be interested to note that two of those strikeouts came in his fifth and final inning, including one on his final pitch. Two of the runs came on bloopers and dinkers, too.
- [Tennessee] Austin Kirk also pitched well. Through 2.1 innings of relief he allowed just two hits. Tony Zych finished off the game, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits and ultimately blowing the save.
- [Tennessee] The offense in this game was provided by Kris Bryant (a double), Dustin Geiger (a double and a homer), and Rafael Lopez (a single and a homer).
- [Daytona] Tim Saunders accounted for half of Daytona’s hits, and his double was the Cubs lone extra base hit. He finished 3 for 5 with a pair of strikeouts.
- [Daytona] Dan Vogelbach picked up two hits in this game. That makes Monday his first multi-hit game of 2014. Chadd Krist had the other hit for the Cubs, and also reached on a walk.
- [Daytona] The star of the night was Felix Pena. The Cubs right handed starter put on a clinic of pitching efficiency. He pitched all 8 innings, allowed a run on just 3 hits and 2 walks, struck out one, and needed only 75 pitches to do it.
- Felix Pena is the current best example of how worthless wins and losses are as a pitching stat. His record this season is 0-3, but in those three games and 20 innings he’s allowed a total of 3 runs on 11 hits and 3 walks. That means this winless pitcher has an ERA of 1.35, a WHIP of 0.700, and is holding opposing hitters to just a .162 average. That is a very, very good start to the season no matter what the pitching W/L column says. I can’t fault a pitcher for getting absolutely no run support, and that is exactly what Pena’s Win-Loss record does. Wins are the single most important team stat, but they are useless when used as a tool to evaluate pitchers.
- Interestingly, as much success as Pena is having this spring (sample size alerts apply), he is doing it largely without the strikeout. We know that strikeouts are not the most efficient way to get outs, and if a pitcher is focused on keeping down his pitch count and working deep into games he will go after weak contact rather than trying to strike every one out. What we don’t know, though, is if a pitcher who does not rack up the strikeouts in the minors is doing so out of a desire to be efficient, or because he lacks excellent swing-and-miss stuff. History hasn’t exactly been kind to pitchers who posted lower K/9 numbers in their minor league campaigns. Despite that history, though, it is hard to deny that Pena is doing quite well. He has never racked up the strikeouts at any level, but here he is mowing through High-A lineups anyway. At this stage I think he’s worth keeping an eye on, but not someone we need to elevate on pitching prospect charts just yet. If he eventually recreates this success in Double A, though, we may have reconsider that verdict.