Remember when the Daytona Cubs were terrible? When they finished the first half with a .382 winning percentage and only stayed out of the cellar because Clearwater was unbelievably bad?
That feels like ancient history now.
In the second half of the season Daytona has been the best team in the league. Not only is their .600 second half winning percentage the best in the Florida State League, they are actually just three wins away from being a .500 team for the season despite that disastrous first half.
More importantly, the Cubs have a three game lead over Tampa with three games to play. Against Tampa. That makes the math very, very easy. If the Cubs win just one more game, they win the division and make the playoffs. With one more win the Cubs earn the chance to defend their 2013 FSL Championship.
Game One of the final series is Friday night in Daytona.
Scores From Yesterday
Iowa – Iowa picked up a 3-2 win.
Tennessee – Tennessee had the day off. Their final series begins tonight in Chattanooga with the two teams tied for first.
Daytona – Daytona finished their road schedule with this 8-2 win.
Kane County – Kane County lost on the road 3-2 in eleven innings.
Boise Hawks – The game got a whole lot closer in the ninth inning, but Boise still won 12-8.
Arizona – The Cubs split a doubleheader, dropping the first game 4-1 while winning the second contest 3-2.
Performances of Note
- [Iowa] Jae-Hoon Ha and David Bote both hit their first Iowa homers of the season. Bote also finished with 2 hits and a stolen base.
- [Iowa] Kris Bryant hit his first Iowa triple.
- [Iowa] Dae-Eun Rhee struck out 6 over 6.1 shutout innings. He allowed 4 hits and 2 walks.
- [Daytona] Juan Paniagua struck out 2 and allowed a run on 4 hits and 3 walks over 5 innings.
- [Daytona] Kyle Schwarber continued his unbroken streak of general awesomeness with a 2 hit performance.
- [Daytona] Willson Contreras homered (his 3rd) as part of his 2 hit day.
- [Daytona] Dan Vogelbach, Jacob Hannemann, and Ben Carhart all doubled and finished with multiple hits. Bijan Rademacher did the same, except for the doubled part.
- [Kane County] Jen-Ho Tseng struck out only 2, but he also allowed only 2 hits (including a solo homer) in his 6 innings on the mound.
- [Kane County] The Cougars had just 5 hits, but 4 of them were doubles. Mark Zagunis, Jeimer Candelario, Victor Caratini, and Trey Martin did the honors. Martin also stole his 28th base.
- [Boise] Jake Stinnett struck out 3 over 3.2 innings, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits in the process. Jeremy Null then struck out 5 over the next 4.1 scoreless frames.
- [Boise] Alex Tomasovich double, tripled (his first) and finished with 3 hits. Charcer Burks also had three hits as well as his 4th stolen base.
- [Boise] Gleyber Torres picked up his first Boise hit, and it was a triple. He also walked and struck out.
- [Arizona] In Game Two, Zach Hedges struck out 5 in 3 innings of relief.
- [Arizona] Catcher Tyler Pearson hit his 2nd home run as part of a 2 hit effort in Game Two.
- [Arizona] Roney Alcala (his first) and Kevonte Mitchell (his 4th) both tripled yesterday.
- So, what led to Daytona’s remarkable second half revival? That will be something to study more carefully over the winter, but the early answer is “player development.” Sometimes it is easy to lose track of the fact that players are not just playing games in the minors, they are actively working on all aspects of their game in game and out. Even the best prospects need minor league time to raise their game to the major league level. In the case of Daytona, that development can partly be seen in the significantly stronger second half numbers from players up and down the roster.
- With their loss, Kane County slips to just two games ahead of Cedar Rapids (the team they are playing) for the second half division title. They are so far ahead in the overall standings, though, that they could lose every game for two solid weeks and still have a two game cushion.