The Race to the Walk is over, but I’m not entirely sure who won.
On Sunday, for the first time this season, Albert Almora drew a walk. Going into Sunday’s games, Almora and Kansas City prospect Humberto Arteaga were the last two regular players in the Florida State League to have walked. And since on Sunday Almora walked, that means Arteaga is the Last of the Walkless, right?
Not so fast.
Arteaga also walked on Sunday. In fact, he walked twice. And seeing as his first walk came in the second inning whereas Almora’s walk came in the fourth inning, I suspect that we have to give the tie to Arteaga and declare Almora the Walkless Wonder, if only for a short time.
But that is really a side show at this stage. The important part is that Almora now has a non-zero walk percentage. Given that he has been struggling at the plate lately, I hope this is an indication that he is starting to take his time and look for pitches he can drive rather than just swinging at the first hittable pitch he gets. Over the long haul I suspect that sort of selective aggressiveness will be very good not only for his own stats, but for the Cubs as well.
Scores From The Weekend
Friday – A ninth inning rally came just short as Iowa lost 4-3.
Saturday – The Cubs suffered a general lack of offense in this 3-1 loss.
Sunday – The road skid continued as Iowa lost again, 5-1.
Friday – A big sixth inning powered the Smokies to an 8-7 win.
Saturday – The winning streak reached six with this 8-4 win.
Sunday – Tennessee rallied late, but it wasn’t enough. The Smokies lost 6-4.
Friday – Friday’s games were rained out.
Saturday – Saturday’s games were also rained out.
Sunday – They did play on Sunday, though, and and Cubs scored first and last for a 2-1 twelve inning win.
Kane County -
Friday – It took eleven innings, but Kane County won it 3-2.
Saturday – The Cougars picked up their twentieth win of the season with this 4-2 triumph.
Sunday – A huge, seven run first inning carried Kane County to this 13-3 win.
Performances of Note
- [Iowa] Kyle Hendricks struck out 8 more and gave up 3 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks over 5.1 innings on Saturday. He threw 93 pitches.
- [Iowa] Josh Vitters has been in a prolonged slump, but with any luck that started to turn on Sunday. He walked and hit his 3rd home run while striking out once.
- [Iowa] Christian Villanueva finished the weekend with 4 hits, including 2 doubles.
- [Iowa] Not that the Cubs need any more good bullpen options right now, but don’t forget about Alberto Cabrera. After his flawless inning on Saturday, his season ERA now sits at 1.32 with 12 strikeouts and just one walk over 13.2 innings.
- [Tennessee] The Smokies did not have great starting pitching generally speaking this weekend, but Pierce Johnson did turn in a good performance. He went 6 innings, struck out 5, and allowed 2 runs on 5 hits with 2 walks and a home run.
- [Tennessee] The bullpen, on the other hand, had a couple notable performances. Austin Kirk faced 2 and struck out one on Friday, and then came back back on Sunday to pitch 2 scoreless innings with a pair of strikeouts. Armando Rivero and Tony Zych also turned in good outings.
- [Tennessee] Kris Bryant had a huge game on Saturday (4 hits and his 6th homer) and finished the weekend in with 4 hits, 2 walks, and 3 strikeouts.
- [Tennessee] John Andreoli also finished the weekend with 4 hits and extended his hitting streak to 6 games. He also walked twice and stole 2 bases. He now has 14 steals this season.
- [Tennessee] Stephen Bruno likewise had 4 hits this weekend, and 3 of them were doubles.
- [Daytona] Jeimer Candelario won the game with his one hit in the 12th inning, his 3rd home run of the season.
- [Daytona] Almora drew a walk with his second at bat, but in his first he drove in the Cubs other run with a sac fly.
- [Daytona] Felix Pena pitched a 6 inning shutout to start Sunday’s game, striking out 3 in the process. Arodys Vizcaino and Stephen Perakslis pitched particularly well in relief.
- [Kane County] Paul Blackburn struck out 6 in his 6 inning start on Sunday, matching the 6 strikeouts in 6 innings put up by Jen-Ho Tseng on Saturday.
- [Kane County] Shawon Dunston is starting to warm up, I think. He had two hits in Saturday’s game, and walked twice on Sunday. For the season he has 5 walks against just 3 strikeouts in over 60 trips to the plate.
- [Kane County] Jacob Hannemann homered, his second, and walked twice this weekend. Over his last 10 games his line now reads .308/.400/.462.
- [Kane County] There were plenty of other Cougars with notable offensive performances weekend. Will Remillard, for example, stayed hot with 2 hits on Sunday. Daniel Lockhart had 4 hits on Sunday, and Carlos Penalver added 3 of his own. Cael Brockmeyer hit his first double of the season on Saturday.
- Brett Jackson returned to action on Saturday and reached base on both Saturday (walk) and Sunday (hit). He also struck out once on both days. He had last appeared in a game on April 13.
- If you haven’t thought about Gerardo Concepcion lately, you might want to rethink that. Through 17.1 innings Concepcion has now allowed 17 hits and 4 walks while striking out 15. Most of the damage against him has come from right handers (who are hitting .304 off him). Against lefties his ERA is just 1.69.