Ask and you shall receive. I mentioned recently that Matt Szczur had effectively addressed concerns regarding his running game by stealing bases at a highly improbable rate this season. That, of course, leaves the other area of concern lingering from 2011: his power. When we realize that Szczur has now driven an extra base hit in five of his last six games, concerns over his power start to fade. Over his last ten games (39 AB), Szczur is hitting .308/.413/.487. In other words, he’s doing just fine. Message received, Matt. Now, about your inability to do back flips on the field…
AAA – Iowa Cubs. 9 – 13
Bad weather kept the Iowa Cubs off the diamond yet again. Iowa now heads on a small road trip hoping for nicer weather when they return
Dae-Eun Rhee lasted four and a third innings in a start that was far from his best. He was credited with all three of Jacksonville’s runs on six hits, four walks, and five strikeouts. Scott Weismann, Kevin Rhoderick, and Marcus Hatley all pitched well out of the bullpen, however. Hatley pitched the final three innings, struck out four, and got his first win of the season.
Tennessee had just eight hits in this game, but they put enough of those hits together to stage a three run rally in fifth. After that burst the bats were quiet until the tenth when Jonathan Mota, already the hero of one game this season, launched a two run bomb that put the Smokies ahead for good. Mota has now hit two home runs in 2012, and both proved to be game winners.
Zach Cates has struggled all season, so in that light his five inning performance is actually encouraging. He gave up three runs on five hits and a walk, striking out only two. That was enough for him to be dealt his fourth loss of the season. Hayden Simpson made his first appearance out of the bullpen, and it did not go well. Just like we have seen in recent starts, he could not consistently find the strike zone. Ty’relle Harris finished off the game with no further damage except a solo home run.
Szczur’s double was part of a two for four game. Nelson Perez was also two for four, but his extra base hit went for three bases. Richard Jones also doubled. Altogether the Cubs left only five on base and went two for six with runners in scoring position.
The two headed monster of Ben Wells and Kyler Burke were on the mound for Peoria, this time with Wells starting and getting the win. This was one of Wells’ best games of the year. He went five and a third with just two hits, three walks, and three strikeouts. Burke was not quite that effective in his innings, although he did strike out more than Wells (Burke had four). Regardless, Burke kept the Chiefs in the lead and that was enough for him to earn his first save of the season.
Peoria pounded out ten hits, so it comes as no surprise that there are plenty of players who had a good game. Even among that crowd Taylor Davis stands out. Going two for three with a walk is good. Seeing that one of those hits was a double is even better. Best of all, the other hit was Davis’s first home run of the season. Oh by the way, it was a grand slam.
The Chiefs also turned three double plays in this game, with second baseman Zeke DeVoss in the middle of two of them.