There were home runs a plenty in the minor leagues yesterday. Baez, Bryant, Soler, Russell, Villanueva, and Vogelbach all contributed to a powerful display of the high concentration of legitimate power the Cubs have gathered together in an era when power generally across baseball has become more scarce than in the past. Nights like last night are going to keep happening, and that is a very good thing for the Cubs, their fans, and their future.
But that wasn’t the only story.
The Cubs also had two shutouts in the minors last night. Neither of them were the complete game variety, but both featured excellent pitching from names you may recognize. And neither contained arguably the best pitching performance of the night.
For the Iowa Cubs, Beeler started and handed off the shutout to Hatley and Rivero. Between them they allowed just four hits and struck out seven. Meanwhile, down in Kane County, it was Underwood handing off to Fujikawa and Concepcion for the ten inning shutout. They collectively struck out eight and gave up just three hits.
But it was the Smokies who probably saw the best pitching of the night. There Black started and allowed just four hits over six innings while striking out eight. Black, by the way, has stayed healthy this year and has a season ERA of 2.63.
So while the homers will justifiably get the headlines, the Cubs awesome day in the minors yesterday did not stop with the long balls. The pitching was, arguably, equally impressive if not quite so laden with elite prospects.
Scores From Yesterday
Iowa – Home runs and great pitching resulted in a 7-0 Iowa win.
Tennessee – More home runs and more great pitching resulted in a 4-1 Smokies win.
Daytona – Daytona could not hang on to the lead in this 7-5 loss.
Kane County – It took ten innings for the offense to come to life, but when it did the Cougars came away 3-0 winners.
Boise Hawks – Boise tied this one up twice, but they could not stop Spokane. The Hawks lost 12-5.
Arizona – Two runs in the ninth were not enough in this 3-2 loss.
Performances of Note
- [Iowa] Javier Baez homered for the 15th time this season, doubled, and finished 2 for 4.
- [Iowa] Kris Bryant homered for the 10th time in Iowa, doubled, and finished 3 for 5.
- [Iowa] Brett Jackson, who hasn’t been playing badly this month, hit his 4th triple and finished 2 for 5.
- [Iowa] Dallas Beeler was very effective in this one. He needed just 78 pitches to mow through 7 scoreless innings. For the night he struck out 4 and allowed just 3 hits and 2 walks. Marcus Hatley and Armando Rivero completed the shutout.
- [Tennessee] Corey Black struck out 8 over 6 innings (94 pitches) while allowing a run on 4 hits and 2 walks.
- [Tennessee] Addison Russell homered for the first time as a Smokey and finished 2 for 4.
- [Tennessee] Jorge Soler walked twice and homered for the 6th time this season as he finished 1 for 2.
- [Tennessee] Christian Villanueva got in on the power show as well. He launched his 3rd Smokies homer.
- [Daytona] Dan Vogelbach homered for the 9th time this year and finished 2 for 3.
- [Daytona] Kyle Schwarber did not homer, but he did finish 2 for 4.
- [Daytona] Willson Contreras, the catcher, tripled for the second time this year.
- [Kane County] Duane Underwood struck out 3 over 6 scoreless innings. He allowed a walk and just 3 hits. Kyuji Fujikawa and Gerardo Concepcion completed the shutout.
- [Kane County] Jacob Rogers finished 3 for 5. Catcher Will Remillard doubled and finished 2 for 4.
- [Boise] A double from Justin Marra was the only extra base hit for Boise in this one. Marra finished with 2 hits.
- [Boise] Mark Zagunis, who was behind the plate in this game, also had 2 hits, as did Jesse Hodges. Jason Vosler had 3.
- [Arizona] Eloy Jimenez finished 2 for 4 and had the only multi-hit game for the AZL Cubs.
- [Arizona] Alberto Mineo, listed as a catcher, walked twice to raise his season line to .347/.448/.490.
- [Arizona] Justin Steele walked one in his hitless inning on the mound. Andin Diaz walked 2 and struck out 4 as he pitched the final 3 innings in shutout style.
- I am two weeks away from my visit to the Tennessee Smokies. Hopefully Soler is (a) still there, (b) healthy, and (c) still hitting everything in sight when I arrive. I’m also hoping Addison Russell has broken out of his post-trade slump and will be playing awesomely. Baez and Bryant were too stingy to homer when I was in Iowa, so I’m hoping Soler and Russell can help make up that lack.
- If you’re going to be in the east Tennessee area the weekend of August 1, be sure to make plans to stop by the ballpark. Meeting up to talk baseball with fellow fans is always a great time. I’ll be there both Thursday, July 31 and Friday, August 1.