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albert almora cubsI do not get very excited by cycles. A four hit game with three extra base hits is a great game, and if one of those hits is a home run that just makes it even better. The game doesn’t become even more great if those other two extra base hits happen to be a double and a triple instead of, say, two triples.

Or, to say it differently, I can’t imagine being disappointed if a guy comes to the plate in his final at bat a double short of the cycle only to watch him hit his second home run.

The cycle, to me, is one of those historical oddities of baseball that just doesn’t make a lot of sense. Ten total bases in a game, no matter how they come, is a fantastic game in my book whether it counts as a cycle or not.

That said, I do not recall two cycles being completed in one night before, and certainly not in the Cubs organization since I’ve been covering it. That is good stuff.

Albert Almora needed thirteen innings to complete his historical oddity, but later last night Mark Zagunis accomplished his in eight. Of the two, Zagunis’ probably is the more notable. Almora has been hot for a while, but up until last night Zagunis had been a little thin in the extra base hit department. Adding three in one night will do some nice things for his stat line.

Any discussion over the merits of the cycle as a thing aside, they both put together a fantastic game.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – Iowa is off for the All Star break.
Tennessee – The Smokies came up just short in this 6-5 loss.
Daytona – The Cubs had to rally late in the game, and then survive a rally to get it to extra innings, but finally they broke through with a huge 13th inning for the 13-8 win.
Kane County – Kane County led to start the ninth, but ultimately lost 3-2.
Boise Hawks – Boise broke this game wide open in the fourth inning, and it was never in doubt from there. The Hawks won 11-6.
Arizona – The Cubs scored all their runs by the end of the fourth as they won 5-1.

Performances of Note

  • [Tennessee] In a move largely dictated by the rotation shuffle leftover from the July 4 trade, reliever Jeffry Antigua made his first start in this one and pitched fairly well. Over 4 innings he allowed a run on 2 hits and a walk.
  • [Tennessee] Christian Villanueva doubled twice and finished 2 for 3. Stephen Bruno, Addison Russell, and Dustin Geiger also kicked in a double each.
  • [Tennessee] Charles Cutler finished 2 for 4 with his 3rd homer of the season. That homer came the hard way, inside the park style.
  • [Daytona] The final tally for Albert Almora, 5 for 7 with his 6th homer and 3 extra base hits. That’s a great game.
  • [Daytona] Marco Hernandez finished 3 for 7 with his 3rd home run. Bijan Rademacher was 2 for 5 with his 6th long ball.
  • [Daytona] Billy McKinney and Gioskar Amaya both had 2 hits in this one. Jordan Hankins and Dan Vogelbach had 3.
  • [Daytona] Felix Pena struck out 7 over 5.1 innings while allowing 5 runs (4 earned) on 7 hits and a walk.
  • [Kane County] Daury Torrez allowed just one run on 4 hits over 7 innings while striking out 4. His season ERA sits at 2.81.
  • [Kane County] David Bote hit his 12th double. It was the only extra base hit for the Cougars.
  • [Boise] The final tally for Mark Zagunis, 4 for 5 with his first homer and 3 extra base hits. He more than doubled his season total for extra base hits in this one game.
  • [Boise] Jason Vosler also homered for the first time this season as part of his 3 for 4 day.
  • [Boise] Justin Marra doubled twice in this one. Rashad Crawford also doubled.
  • [Boise] Brad Markey and Francisco Carrillo both pitched 2 innings of relief, both allowed a single hit, and both struck out one.
  • [Arizona] Gleyber Torres singled for his first hit in 3 games and just his second hit since July 4. Eloy Jimenez went 0 for 3 with a walk and a run scored.
  • [Arizona] Alberto Mineo homered for the first time and finished 2 for 4.
  • [Arizona] Kevonte Mitchell singled, walked, and stole 2 bases.
  • [Arizona] Dillon Maples allowed a single hit and walked one while striking out 3 over 3 innings. Kyuji Fujikawa followed by allowing nothing and striking out one in his first short rest rehab appearance.
  • [Arizona] The 2014 pitching duo of Carson Sands and Justin Steele both pitched an inning in this one, and neither allowed anything. Steele struck out 3; Sands struck out 2.
  • Zach Hedges allowed one hit in his inning on the mound and also struck out 3.

Other News

  • Late yesterday word emerged that Kyle Schwarber is moving to Daytona. Schwarber had continued to hit well as part of the Low A Kane County team, and I suspect he won’t have much problem with the High A pitchers of the Florida State League. His power numbers will continue to be lower than we saw in Boise, but that is normal for both the Midwest and the Florida State leagues.
  • Given the pace at which the Cubs are moving Schwarber up the system, I suspect they are not looking to spend significant time working on his catching skills in the minors. The problem with bringing up Schwarber as a catcher is that his bat would be far in advance of his defense. It would take longer for his glove behind the plate to develop than it would his bat. With left field a very viable option, it always made more sense for the Cubs to let Schrwarber progress as fast as hit bat would let him. If that meant he moved to left field full time, so be it. With another promotion already in his career, I suspect the Cubs are leaning towards that bat-driven development pace. Schwarber may continue to catch as he moves up the system, but I think his future home is likely to be primarily in left. That could create an outfield conundrum for the Cubs in a few years, but those are good problems to have.
  • Tommy Cook has put together a very good and well worth watching video of Schwarber at the plate. If you haven’t had a chance to watch Schwarber in person yet, this is just about the next best thing. You can find that video as well as a quality accompanying article here.
  • John Sickles has his mid-season Top 75 prospects list out, and the headliner is none other than Kris Bryant.

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