[Brett: Because of the family travel schedule, the Bullets may be delayed or non-existent today. It depends on traffic.]
It doesn’t seem like all that long ago that the Iowa Cubs were in first, but now it is starting to look like they may be out of the race entirely. Their 42-52 record leaves them 12.5 games behind Oklahoma City, and they only have until approximately Labor Day to make up the gap. That Oklahoma City has the best record in the league doesn’t help matters any.
Tennessee isn’t in quite as bad of shape, but their five game losing streak dropped their record to 9-13, and that results in a 4.5 game deficit. Fortunately the Smokies have quite a few games left against division leading Chattanooga and Montgomery, but unfortunately their current skid has come against Chattanooga and Montgomery.
The Pelicans, on the other hand, are now in first place with a record of 12-11. They have a half a game lead over Salem and a game and a half over Winston-Salem. This week, starting today actually, we will get to watch the Pelicans on the road against Winston-Salem. It is too early in the second half to put too much weight on that particular series, but a sweep certainly would go a long way towards providing the Pelicans with a comfortable cushion as they head into the final month of the season.
South Bend remains in first, but they are now in a tie for first with Lansing and a game and a half ahead of Bowling Green. The Cubs, of course, have already ensured a postseason trip by way of winning the first half division title. Staying in first place is not as important for South Bend, but continuing to play well and consistently beat the better teams in the league would be a nice way to head into postseason play.
The first half for Eugene wraps up on July 25, but the Emeralds might just clinch first place this week. At 20-9 they have a 5 game lead over second place Hillsboro, and their magic number is down to five. Considering that Eugene has won three straight and is about to start a series against Hillsboro at home beginning Monday, it is very possible that the Emeralds could knock the Hops out of contention by mid-week.
And finally, we have Arizona. The Cubs (11-10) have slipped into a second place tie with the Diamondbacks, but they remain just one game behind the Athletics. I believe the Cubs will have two shots at the Athletics before the first half of the season ends, so they are very much alive.
- Pierce Johnson: 4.1 IP, 6 R, 6 H, 2 BB, 1 K
- Joe Nathan: 0.1 IP, 1 BB
- Armando Rivero: 1 IP, 1 BB, 2 K
- Logan Watkins: 2 for 4, 2B
- Munenori Kawasaki: 2 for 2, 2B, BB
- Pierce Johnson: 1 for 1
- Jen-Ho Tseng: 6 IP, 2 R, 6 H, 2 BB, 4 K.
- David Berg: 2 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 2 K
- Chesny Young: 1 for 3, 2B, 2 BB
- Bijan Rademacher: 3 for 4, 2B, BB
- Victor Caratini: 2 for 4, HR, BB
- Jake Stinnett: 5.1 IP, 7 R (5 ER), 11 H, 2 BB, 1 K
- Daniel Lewis: 3 IP, 4 H, 4 K
- Charcer Burks: 2 for 5, 2B, BB, SB
- Rashad Crawford: 3 for 6, 3B, BB, SB
- Gleyber Torres: 2 for 4, 2 2B, 3 BB, SB
- Ian Rice: 1 for 4, 3 BB
- Tyler Pearson: 3 for 5, BB
- Adbert Alzolay: 7 IP, 2 R, 7 H, 1 BB, 2 K
- Tommy Nance: 3 IP, 1 H, 3 K
- Andruw Monasterio: 2 for 5
- Donnie Dewees: 2 for 4, 3B
- Tyler Alamo: 2 for 4, 2B
- Pablo Ochoa: 5 IP, 1 R (0 ER), 6 H, 2 BB, 4 K
- Jack Leathersich: 1 IP, 3 K
- Luis Ayala: 2 for 5, 3B
- Gustavo Polanco: 2 for 5
- Michael Cruz: 2 for 3, BB
- Yohan Matos: 1 for 2, 2B, BB
- Baseball America has a nice subscriber-only write up on Ian Happ that says complimentary things about his work ethic and progress at second. Probably the most significant line, though, is this one: “Versatility is the ultimate goal for prospects as they try to integrate into manager Joe Maddon’s moving-pieces lineup.”
- This is not the first time we have seen comments like this emerging from the Cubs’ organization, and it is interesting in that it implies that the Cubs’ commitment to a highly flexible roster might go beyond Maddon’s contract. That will make their next managerial hunt an interesting one, and it also adds another element to prospect evaluations as we head into the thick of trade season.