The Iowa Cubs are playing some fantastic baseball right now. It was not that long ago they were suffering through an extended losing streak in Reno and Tacoma, but now they are riding an eight game winning streak that has them one game over .500 (27-26) and tied for first with Oklahoma City.
It was a rough week for the Tennessee Smokies (24-31), though. They have fallen into fourth place, twelve games back. Their elimination number is four. Jackson is all but certain be crowned first half divisional champs, and that means to make the postseason Tennessee will have to win the second half.
The Pelicans were not able to take advantage of their series with Salem to close the gap, and as a result, barring something very unexpected, it will be Salem that claims the first half title in the Carolina League Southern Division. Myrtle Beach (29-26), sits in second place, seven and a half games back. Salem’s magic number is eight. Fortunately for the Pelicans, the end of the first half marks the start of the second half, and winning the second half will also send them into the postseason.
Thanks in part to the best home record in the league (20-8), the 33-22 Cubs are in second place, just .004 behind first place West Michigan and half a game ahead of Lake County. In the Midwest League, the top two finishers in each division make the playoffs, so all the Cubs have to do is stay put and and they punch their post season ticket. Of course, passing West Michigan and claiming the first half title would be a nice bonus.
- Jake Buchanan: 7 IP, 4 H, 7 K
- Carl Edwards Jr.: 1 IP, 1 BB, 1 K
- Spencer Patton: 1 IP, 3 K
- Arismendy Alcantara: 2 for 4, 4(!) SB. Alcantara now has 19 steals.
- Willson Contreras: 1 for 3, 2B, BB, SB. Ten games in a row with an extra base hit. Unreal.
- Albert Almora: 2 for 4, 2 SB
- Brad Markey: 6 IP, 1 R, 7 H, 3 BB, 1 K
- Josh Conway: 1 IP, 2 BB
- Corey Black: 1 IP, 2 BB, 2 K
- Victor Caratini: 2 for 3
- Cael Brockmeyer: 1 for 3, HR. That seventh inning homer was the game winner.
- Zach Hedges: 6.2 IP, 2 R, 10 H, 2 K
- James Farris: 1.2 IP, 2 K
- Rashad Crawford: 3 for 4, 2B
- Yasiel Balaguert: 2 for 4, HR. Balaguert is up to eight home runs.
- Jason Vosler: 2 for 4, 2B, HR
- Charcer Burks: 2 for 4, 2 2B
- Carson Sands: 3 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 4 BB, 3 K
- Pedro Araujo: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 K
- Carlos Sepulveda: 3 for 3, BB
- P.J. Higgins: 2 for 4
- Donnie Dewees: 3 for 4, 3B
- Ian Rice: 1 for 3, HR
- Jesse Hodges: 2 for 3
- Matt Rose: 1 for 3, HR
- Casey Bloomquist: 5 IP, 1 R, 5 H. Game Two.
- Craig Brooks: 2 IP, 1 H, 2 K. Game Two.
- Ian Rice: 1 for 3, HR. Game Two. Yes, those are identical lines in both games, homer included.
- The Dominican Summer League, featuring the DSL Cubs 1 and the DSL Cubs 2, is now underway. As in previous years, we won’t providing daily coverage of the DSL here, but we will check in on the prospects in that league from time to time.
- I don’t recall ever seeing a player go on a ‘consecutive games with an extra base hit’ streak like Willson Contreras has. Thanks to his double, Contreras has pushed that streak to ten games. Not only has he hit safely in every game since May 19 (thirteen of them), he’s doubled or tripled or homered in ten straight. I’m not sure what the record is, but it is safe to say that what Contreras is doing now is pretty rare. Not to mention awesome.
- But that doesn’t mean he should be coming to Chicago. Barring an injury to Montero or Ross, letting Contreras continue to work on his catching in Iowa is probably the right move.
- The Player of the Month for May in the Cubs organization is Eloy Jimenez. Jimenez hit .364 with an OPS of 1.034, backed in part by his seven home runs. The top prospect in his international free agent draft class, Jimenez is now showing the combination of power and ability to make solid contact that the Cubs wanted when they signed him.
- Trevor Clifton was named the Pitcher of the Month. Long one of the higher ceiling power arms in the organization, Clifton showed off that arm in May by striking out 35 over 28 innings for the Pelicans. In that span he posted an ERA of just 1.29. If he can keep that up, Clifton may take his place near the top of the pitcher rankings in the Cubs organization.