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james russell cubsIt might be a little soon to write off left-handed reliever James Russell. Now pitching with the Iowa Cubs, Russell has 7.2 innings under his belt in which he has given up just three hits, no walks, and has struck out eleven. Opposing hitters are batting just .115 off of him.

I suspect a lot of Cubs fans will be initially very skeptical should Russell make a return to Wrigley at some point this summer, but if he keeps pitching like he has been so far that skepticism may not last. He’s been effective (in an admittedly limited sample size) enough that I suspect he could be considered for a call up not just as a lefty specialist, but as a guy who can pitch an inning or two as needed. (And he was better than you may remember in his time with the Cubs.)

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – The Cubs swept a double header in Colorado Springs, winning the first game 7-1 and the second 6-3.
Tennessee – Three Smokies’ homers help propel them to a 7-6 win.
Myrtle Beach – A late lead slipped away and the Pelicans lost in extras 3-2.
South Bend – The Cubs did not cross the plate after the fourth inning as they lost 8-5.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Donn Roach had the start in the first game. He pitched 6 innings and allowed a run on 7 hits and 3 walks while striking out one. Joe Ortiz walked one in an otherwise flawless 7th to end it.
  • [Iowa] Eric Jokisch did not make it out of the 4th in Game Two, but Blake Cooper, Hunter Cervenka, Yoanner Negrin, and James Russell combined to put up nothing but zeros after that.
  • [Iowa] In Game One Arismendy Alcantara tripled, homered, and stole his 4th base for Iowa, and in Game Two he homered again.
  • [Iowa] Jonathan Mota finished the first game 2 for 3 with a walk. He entered Game Two as a pinch hitter and collected another hit.
  • [Iowa] John Andreoli singled, walked, and stole his 4th base of the year in the first game. He then tripled twice in the second.
  • [Tennessee] Jacob Hannemann made his Double A debut with a 3 for 4 performance that included a home run and a stolen base.
  • [Tennessee] Kyle Schwarber doubled (his 3rd), homered (his 4th), and finished 2 for 3.
  • [Tennessee] Bijan Rademacher also homered (his first) as part of his 2 for 4 night.
  • [Tennessee] Elliot Soto went 2 for 3 with a walk, a steal (his first), and this very nice play to rob Buxton.
  • [Tennessee] Stephen Bruno went 0 for 4, but he did pick up his 4th steal.
  • [Tennessee] The back end of the Smokies bullpen was excellent in this one. Zach Cates (1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 K), Stephen Perakslis (1 IP, 2 K), and P.J. Francescon (1 IP, 1 BB, 1 K) combined to hold the Lookouts scoreless for the last third of the game.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Jen-Ho Tseng needed just 73 pitches to toss 5 innings of one run ball. He allowed 3 hits and struck out 2.
  • [Myrtle Beach] James Pugliese struck out 2 in his 2 innings of 2 hit pitching in relief.
  • [Myrtle Beach] All 9 Pelican batters reached base in this one, 8 via hits and one (Victor Caratini) via the walk.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Of those 8 hits, though, only a double from Wes Darvill went for extra bases.
  • [South Bend] Jake Stinnett had the walks back under control last night, but he gave up too many hits instead. Over 2.2 (72 pitches) he allowed 5 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks while striking out a pair.
  • [South Bend] David Garner had 2 innings of hitless relief to end it.
  • [South Bend] Gleyber Torres and Chesny Young both finished 1 for 4 with a double.
  • [South Bend] Charcer Burks went 3 for 4 and stole his 3rd base of the season.

Other News

  • There was some roster shuffling in the minors yesterday as Albert Almora hit the disabled list and Hannemann was promoted. Brett has the details here. I admit that I am a little surprised Hannemann was the first outfielder up and not Billy McKinney, but I don’t think we should take any significance from that fact. McKinney is still ready for Double A, but Hannemann is a true center fielder whereas McKinney looks more like a corner guy defensively.
  • Since it was his first Double A home run and, for many, may be the first glimpse of this guy in action, how about a look at Hannemann’s big hit:

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