Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

tsuyoshi wada featureTsuyoshi Wada was the scheduled starter for the Iowa Cubs yesterday, but he was a fairly late scratch. Wada is healthy (so far as we know now), but the Cubs wanted to hold him back until Thursday. That could have to do with the coaches feeling he needed an extra day off, and it could have to do with the needs of the Chicago team on Thursday, and it could have nothing to do with either. We’ll find out soon.

That was only the first oddity yesterday.

The second was the guy who replaced Wada in the starting rotation. Making his Triple A debut, not to mention his first appearance above High A in his career, and his first start of the season, was left hander Tyler Ihrig. Ihrig started the season with the South Bend pen before heading to Extended Spring Training after being assigned to the Eugene Emeralds on May 7. Ihrig did not have a bad game considering that he hadn’t pitched in some time, was jumping several levels, and making his first start since last season. Over 5 innings he allowed 2 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 3.  He threw 84 pitches. All in all, that’s not bad.

But I don’t think Ihrig is likely to stay in the Iowa rotation long term. And, as a result, I wonder if this could be the beginning of a series of moves in the minors. A lot depends on what happens to Wada. If the Cubs send Wada to Chicago, and if the corresponding move does not send a potential starter back to Iowa, then the Cubs would be in a position to potentially move someone up from Tennessee. Candidates for that include C.J. Edwards, Ivan Pineyro, Frank Batista, and Corey Black. That move, if it happens would create an opening in Tennessee that could be filled by someone on the Myrtle Beach roster (Duane Underwood, perhaps, or one of the others in the talented Myrtle Beach rotation) or the Cubs could consider challenging Jeremy Null by sending him directly to Tennessee.

Or something else.

Or, possibly, none of this. Even if the Wada scratch and the vaulting of Ihrig from A ball to Iowa do not presage further roster shuffling in the minors, though, we are just about to the point of the year when roster shuffling begins in earnest. Minor league moves are coming, if not today or Thursday, then soon.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – Iowa lost this one 6-3.
Tennessee – In a rare day-night doubleheader in which both games went a full nine innings, the Smokies won the first one 7-6 before being stomped in the nightcap 14-0.
Myrtle Beach – The Myrtle Beach game was postponed due to a bus crash. More on that in “Other News” section below.
South Bend – The Cubs scored early and continued to build on that all game as they won this one 5-3.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Javier Baez finished 2 for 4 with his second homer of the year. He had no walks and 2 strikeouts.
  • [Iowa] Christian Villanueva also homered (his 3rd) and finished 3 for 4.
  • [Iowa] On the pitching side, other than Ihrig, the highlights were consecutive scoreless innings tossed by Drake Britton and Brian Schlitter.
  • [Tennessee] Frank Batista need 92 pitches to get through 5 innings in this game. He allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out 6.

  • [Tennessee] Corey Black pitched 6 solid innings in the second game, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks while striking out 6 of his own.
  • [Tennessee] Unfortunately for the Smokies, Game Two slipped away when Starling Peralta failed to record an out in the eighth inning. He faced 7 batters, and all 7 came around to score. Only 3 of those runs were earned.
  • [Tennessee] Elliot Soto and Albert Almora had the only two hits for the Smokies in the second game. Both were singles.
  • [Tennessee] In the first game Soto finished 3 for 5 with a double.
  • [Tennessee] Dan Vogelbach was 3 for 3 with a walk in Game One, while Kyle Schwarber‘s lone hit was his 6th homer of the year.
  • [Tennessee] Willson Contreras stayed hot with a 2 for 4 game that included his first triple. Jacob Hannemann also hit the first triple of his Double A season.

  • [South Bend] Jeremy Null had an unusual game, by his standards. Over 6 innings he allowed 2 runs (one earned) on 9 hits while striking out 4. In this one game he posted season highs in hits allowed and runs allowed (tie) while striking out his second lowest figure of the year. Even so, his WHIP is still just 0.87.
  • [South Bend] Jason Vosler and Yasiel Balaguert both finished 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles. Gleyber Torres finished 2 for 3 with one double and a walk.
  • [South Bend] Jeffrey Baez stole 2 bases and now has 3 for the season. Rashad Crawford, who also had 2 hits, added his 4th steal.

Other News

  • The Carolina Mudcats were traveling down to Myrtle Beach from Salem, Virginia when their bus flipped early Tuesday morning. Despite several players needing medical attention, all of the Mudcats were released from the hospital and completed their journey Tuesday afternoon. The Mudcats have not released the nature of any injuries sustained, but at least none of them were serious enough to keep the team from completing the trip. Tonight’s game should proceed as scheduled.
  • And now for something completely different. In the ninth inning of last night’s Cubs game Pat Hughes mentioned that he, or at least his voice, was, briefly, in the Robin Williams film Flubber. I did not know this. I do not know how I did not know this. So, being the nice guy that I am, I had to make sure that you knew this. As confirmed by IMDB (yes, Pat Hughes is in IMDB), the Voice of the Cubs is also a Hollywood Legend … for a given definition of legend.

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