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iowa cubs logoI spent fourteen hours on the road yesterday, something I do four or five times every year when my wife and I travel back to the Midwest to visit family. Even though the entire trip is on Interstates, there are still several pockets in which cell phone service, particularly data service, drops to near zero. Oddly, those pockets don’t seem to be getting any smaller over the past few years. It is a highly subjective measure, but it seemed to me that I lost data service more on this trip than I did on any trips over the past two years. That could just be an oddity, but I would think by now I would be seeing some coverage expansion, if only along the Interstates.

Scores From The Weekend

Iowa -
Friday – Iowa briefly tied this one, but they wound up with a 5-1 loss.
Saturday – Surrendering four in the seventh cost the Cubs in this 7-6 loss.
Sunday – A four run rally capped by a three run homer carried Iowa to the 9-8 win.

Tennessee -
Friday – The mighty Smokies offense was shut out 2-0.
Saturday – Three in the sixth were all they scored as Tennessee fell 8-3.
Sunday – Another relatively weak offensive showing led to a 4-2 loss.

Daytona -
Friday – Daytona won a low scoring affair 2-1.
Saturday – And then they won a slugfest 11-9.
Sunday – The offense dried up in this one, though, as the Cubs took a 10-1 loss.

Kane County -
Friday – Good pitching and quality hitting produced a 4-2 win.
Saturday – Great pitching lifted the Cougars to a win via the no hitter, 3-0.
Sunday – Kane County stumbled in this one, though, and lost 10-3.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] After enduring a very lengthy stretch of mostly hitless games, Javier Baez has now collected 4 hits and a walk in his last 3 games (including his fourth home run). In that span he has struck out just twice.
  • [Iowa] Arismendy Alcantara has also gotten hot lately. He has 5 hit and 4 walks in his last 4 games, including 2 doubles, a triple, and his third homer (Sunday’s game winner). In those four games he has struck out twice.
  • [Iowa] Christian Villanueva is putting up similar numbers. In his last four game he has 6 hits, including 2 doubles and a homer.
  • [Iowa] Blake Parker appeared in his 10th Iowa game of the season this weekend, and he has yet to allow a Triple A earned run to score. So far he has also failed to walk anyone.
  • [Tennessee] Kris Bryant hit safely in every game this weekend (and in his last 5 overall), but he collected just 3 singles and a walk to balance 5 strikeouts. For him, and I say this in all seriousness, that almost qualifies as a slump. Almost.
  • [Tennessee] With 2 more steals and a caught stealing, John Andreoli finished the weekend 22 and 2 on the basepaths. His OBP remains over .400 at an excellent .413.
  • [Tennessee] Corey Black struck out 6 in 5.1 innings while allowing 2 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks on Friday. Arodys Vizcaino struck out 2 in a scoreless frame of relief.
  • [Daytona] Felix Pena, Zach Cates, and Andrew McKirahan combined to hold Fort Meyers to one run on Friday.
  • [Daytona] Albert Almora has 5 consecutive multiple-hit games. Four of those hits have been for extra bases, but none since his homer on May 14.
  • [Daytona] Dan Vogelbach and Jeimer Candelario are both mired in some deep slumps right now, but both had 2 hit games on Saturday. Hopefully that is the start of great things for those two.
  • [Kane County] Tyler Skulina (7.1 IP, 2 BB, 5 K) and Nathan Dorris (1.2 IP, 1 K) combined for the no-hitter on Saturday.
  • [Kane County] Paul Blackburn (6 IP, 1 R, 2H, 1 BB, 8 K), James Pugliese (2 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 3 K) and Tyler Bremer (1 IP, 1 BB, 2 K) pitched a very nice game on Friday.
  • [Kane County] Ben Carhart finished with 6 hits over the three weekend games, including a game at catcher. He joins Will Remillard and Cael Brockmeyer as part of a very productive group of catchers for Kane County.

Other News

  • With so many Iowa Cubs heating up lately, I was curious who and where they are playing. They have been at home, which no doubt helps to some degree, and their last few games have been against Round Rock. The Express are not a great pitching team, but they aren’t awful either. The individual pitchers the Cubs have faced appear to have a fairly normal range of stat lines as well (including some excellent and some far from excellent). In short, I don’t see anything on the schedule to make me overly suspicious. While sample sizes are small, it looks to me like a couple of hitters are just starting to hit quite well at about the same time. That could continue for another few weeks, or it could dry up this afternoon. That’s the beauty of baseball.
  • Sunday’s Kane County game was in fact delayed by 16 minutes due to a flight of bees occupying the field. There is a nest of jokes that could come from honeypot of a story like this, and I have no doubt that our swarm of commenters will fly above the more common droning to produce some real stingers.
  • After this weekend trip I’ve decided that I am in the market for a laptop (or similar device) to use while writing on the road. Right now I still pack an original Chromebook, one of the ones that Google sent out to beta testers back in 2011, and it is showing some age. I only need to use this as my primary system a few weeks out of the year, so nothing in the desktop replacement category is really necessary.  If the machine has any added capacities that would make it a nice supplemental system at home, however, that would be good. Right now I’m considering a newer Chromebook or one of the 10 inch varieties of the Asus Transformer line. I know there are some road warriors who read Bleacher Nation, though, so I thought I’d ask all of you for any suggestions or advice. Feel free to add your input to the comments or to hit me up on Twitter.

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