The Iowa Cubs are a streaky team, and right now that streak is a slide. They’ve dropped three straight, fallen back under .500 at 29-30, and are in second place, a game and a half behind Oklahoma City. The Pacific Coast League does not do a split season, though, so the Cubs have plenty of time to streak their way back into first place and on into the playoffs. After today’s game at home, they’ll head to Colorado Springs and Memphis for the rest of the week.
At 26-36, the Smokies are in last place and out of first half title contention. They’ve lost three in a row and have a league worst twelve wins at home. That does not bode well for the rest of their home series against Chattanooga, through Tuesday. After that the Smokies head to Jackson, and then the first half comes to an end. If they win the second half, they can still qualify for the post season.
The Pelicans, despite playing good baseball and owning a 33-28 record that is third best in the league, have an elimination number of just four. Barring a complete collapse by Salem, the Pelicans will not win the first half title and will need to win the second half to make the playoffs. If they are going to pull off the miracle comeback, they’ll be able to start it at home against Frederick on Monday. After three by the beach the Pelicans head north to wrap up the first half with five games in Potomac.
In the South Bend Cubs, however, the organization has a first place team. The 37-24 Cubs hold a one game lead over West Michigan and a game and a half lead over Lake County. That game and a half is important since two teams from each half will make the Midwest League playoffs from each division. Their margin for error is small, but if they just keep winning, their playoff ticket is guaranteed. Their magic number is ten.
The Cubs play in Bowling Green today, then start three in Dayton on Monday. They wrap up the first half with a three game series at home against none other than Lake County, the team currently half a game out of the playoffs. It would be nice if the Cubs could widen their lead a bit before Lake County comes to town.
- Aaron Brooks: 3 IP, 4 R, 4 H, 3 BB, 4 K. This was his first rehab start.
- Willson Contreras: 2 for 4, 2B. Seventeen game hitting streak, and his line is up to a crazy .353/.444/.595.
- Mark Zagunis: 2 for 4, 3B, BB
- John Andreoli: 1 for 4, 3B, BB
- David Freitas: 3 for 5, 2 2B
- Duane Underwood: 6 IP, 4 R, 10 H, 1 BB, 6 K
- Chesny Young: 2 for 4, 2B
- Billy McKinney: 2 for 4
- Daniel Lockhart: 1 for 2, BB
- Zach Hedges: 7.2 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 1 BB, 4 K. His ERA is 2.25.
- Tommy Thorpe: 1 IP, 1 H
- Jason Vosler: 1 for 4, 2B
- Jeffrey Baez: 1 for 4, 2B
- Gioskar Amaya: 2 for 3, 2B, BB, HR
- Casey Bloomquist: 4 IP, 5 R (1 ER), 4 H, 1 BB, 7 K. Only one earned run leaves his ERA at 2.76.
- Eloy Jimenez: 2 for 4, 2B
- Roberto Caro: 1 for 2, BB
- Now that the draft is out of the way, we can start to look forward to those draftees getting into games. For many of them, that will happen when the Arizona Rookie League fires up. The AZL Cubs will open their season at home against the AZL Brewers on Monday, June 20. Rosters for Arizona will probably be locked down sometime in the middle of this week, and should contain a lot of international free agents and 2015 draft picks as well as some 2016 draftees. More 2016 draftees will be added as they sign.
- The Eugene Emeralds, meanwhile, open their Northwest League season on Friday, June 17 in Eugene. The Emeralds are likely to feature some very high ceiling pitching prospects in Dylan Cease and Bryan Hudson, not to mention very intriguing outfield prospect D.J. Wilson. The final roster for Eugene may include a couple 2016 draftees, but will likely consist more heavily of last years draft and international free agent class. That roster should be announced around Wednesday of this week.
- Eugene is not part of the MiLB.tv network (sadly), but their second series is on the road in Hillsboro. Hillboro IS part of MiLB.tv, so if you want an early look at some of the youngest prospects in the Cubs’ organization, get ready for June 20 – June 22.
- Barring a DL stint for Montero or Ross, I don’t see Contreras coming to the majors until Iowa’s season is winding down. But when his call does come, he intends to be ready. To that end, he’s studying Cubs’ games to learn how Cubs’ pitchers attack hitters. That’s… really smart, actually. Here’s hoping it pays off.