If you missed out on the five part saga that was the mid-season re-ranking of the Top 40 over the past week, then one quick link will provide you with ample reading material for your Sunday afternoon.
And it isn’t over yet. We’ll have a wrap up article that features all forty names in one place on Monday, and Monday evening there is even talk of a Live Stream. Those things are completely unscripted, though, so it is possible that Brett and I will spend an hour talking about literary theory and the etymology of sandwiches and never get to prospects, but I sort of doubt it.
Iowa : 66-54, 2nd place.
The Cubs’ are 6 games behind division leading Oklahoma City and in a near dead heat with Omaha. There is only one playoff spot up for grabs, though, so Omaha doesn’t matter. Oklahoma City is the team to catch, and the Cubs have just weeks to catch them.
This week could be tough on the Cubs’ playoff chances. They are on the road all week, playing in Las Vegas (66-54) through Tuesday and then in Salt Lake City (48-72) for the rest of the week. They need a bunch of wins in both series (and a sweep of Salt Lake wouldn’t hurt) if they are going to have a chance. In a few weeks, on Aug 31, they open a season ending road trip in Oklahoma City. If they are within a few games by then, they could yet steal the title.
Tennessee : 24-24, 3rd place.
The Smokies are back to .500 in the second half, but they remain five games out of first place and it is getting late. Their elimination number, the equivalent of their magic number but in reverse, is just nineteen. If they are going to get back in this thing, they need lots of wins and they need them now.
They welcome Montgomery to town this week. A sweep of the Biscuits would put the Smokies in second place and maybe in position to make a run in the final weeks. Their key hitters are hot right now, especially Albert Almora, so a big week isn’t impossible. It will be tough, though.
Myrtle Beach : 29-20, 2nd place.
The Pelicans trail Winston Salem for the division lead by two games, but since their playoff slot is already assured they can concentrate on just playing well, staying healthy, and getting ready for the start of the postseason in a few weeks.
This week will offer them a good test as they head to Winston Salem for three in the middle of the week, and then back to Frederick for three at the end of the week.
South Bend : 24-24, 3rd place (tie)
It is getting late for South Bend as well. The Cubs have pulled into a tie for third place, but they trial division leading Fort Wayne by seven games. The second playoff spot is held by West Michigan; the Cubs are just four back in that race.
And they will soon have a chance to take a big bite out of that lead. But not yet. This week they have series against at home against Dayton and Fort Wayne.
Eugene : 8-8, 3rd place
The Emeralds trail Salem-Keizer by two games in a division race that could very well come down to the wire. But there is a catch. Hillsboro, who won the first half, is tied for first with Salem-Keizer. If Hillsboro winds up winning the division, then the second team to make the playoffs will be chosen by the best record for the season, not just the second half. And in the season-long standings, Eugene trails Salem-Keizer by five games.
In short, Eugene needs to win the division. Finishing second to Hillsboro may not get the job done.
This week the Emeralds will get a chance to close the gap with Salem-Keizer. After a road trip to divisional doormat Boise, Eugene will pay a visit to the tied for first Volcanoes.
Arizona : 8-6, 3rd place
Last week they were in first, now they trail the Dodgers and Giants by a game and a half. That’s what a three game losing streak can do to a team.
This week the Cubs face those Giants, and also have games against the White Sox, Reds, Padres, Diamondbacks, and A’s.
Playoff baseball, at any level, is something special. And minor league baseball is always a lot of fun. If you haven’t yet made a trip to a minor league game, there is a very good opportunity to fix that coming up very soon, and that fix would be a playoff game.
This September will include one of the best vacation opportunities of the summer for any Cubs’ fan… or arguably just anyone. Myrtle Beach, one of the top cities in America, is the home of the playoff bound Pelicans and tickets for their playoff games are on sale now. Thursday, September 10, is a guaranteed home game for the Pelicans, but Friday the 11th is possible if that opening series needs a Game Three.
The following week, if Myrtle Beach wins the first round, the last three games of the Carolina League Championship Series will be hosted by the Pelicans.
Tickets look like they are the usual prices (around $10 for most seats) if you purchase per game, but the Pelicans are also offering a package that includes a ticket for every playoff game as well as a picnic on the 10th for $25.
In other words, for what it would cost to park your car around Wrigley if the Cubs are in the playoffs this October, you can watch an entire postseason worth of home games in Myrtle Beach in September. It’s not a bad deal, and it also happens to be a great excuse for a September vacation.
This particular Pelicans team features many of the players, and particularly the pitchers, who won the Midwest League title with Kane County a year ago. It features many players who will be in Double A, just a phone call away from the majors should a need arise, next season. It features twelve members of the new Top 40 Prospects list. It is a really fun team to watch.
If you can’t make it to Myrtle Beach for a long weekend, you should still be able to watch the games on MiLB.tv (if you are a subscriber).
Right now no other Cubs’ farm teams have qualified for the postseason, but if they do I’ll call out their playoff tickets and scheduling information as that data becomes available.