Cubs Minor League Daily: First Team Out

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Cubs Minor League Daily: First Team Out

Chicago Cubs

kane county cougarsIf you were still holding onto dim hopes that Kane County would stage the greatest comeback in sports history and storm into the playoffs, you will be saddened to hear that the Cougars have been eliminated.

However, they are the only Cubs’ organization to be eliminated from postseason contention altogether as we enter the final full week of competition. Sure, Iowa and Arizona are long shots, but they are still technically alive. Only Kane County is down for the count.

This is, of course, no surprise. The Kane County offense held up their end of the bargain and are currently fourth in the league in team OPS, but the pitching (particularly the bullpen) was a big problem for much of the year. The 2012 draft high school pitching class was largely in Arizona to start the season, and the season was essential a lost cause by the time the 2013 college pitchers started filtering in.  Kane County fell into that gap between those waves of pitching talent, and it cost them.  The Cougars consistently had one of the more prospect heavy lineups in the minors, but even that was not enough to overcome their problems on the mound.

Scores From The Weekend

Friday – The Cubs opened the weekend by shutting out the Redbirds 2-0.
Saturday – On Saturday they won again, 8-5.
Sunday – The dropped the Sunday game, though, by a final of 11-6.

Friday – The Smokies opened a bad weekend with a 3-2 loss.
Saturday – They followed that up with a 4-3 loss.
Sunday – And finished things off with a 2-0 loss.

Friday – The Cubs scored early and cruised to this 5-1 win.
Saturday – And Saturday they used a large sixth inning rally to pull away for a 7-3 win.
Sunday – Sunday marked their fourth straight triumph as they won easily, 11-2.

Kane County
Friday – Kane County scoured four time times in the seventh and won 5-2.
Saturday – They won again on Saturday, 5-3.
Sunday – They dropped Sunday’s game on the road to Wisconsin, 3-1.

Friday – In a wild slug fest the Hawks came away the 16-11 winners at Salem-Keizer.
Saturday – On Saturday they completed the sweep of the Volcanoes with this 8-1 win.
Sunday – The Hawks lost the opener of a crucial series at Hillsboro. The final in ten innings was 6-5.

Friday – The Cubs had Friday off.
Saturday – Arizona used a 3 run sixth inning to pick up this 4-2 win.
Sunday – They scored a run in the ninth but lost anyway 4-1.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] The best news to come of Iowa this weekend was the breakout of Mike Olt. After finishing 0 for 2 with a walk on Friday, Olt doubled and homered on his way to a 4 for 4 Saturday. On Sunday he singled and finished 1 for 4. That miniature hot stretch helped raise his OPS over his last ten games to a not-terrible .710.
  • [Iowa] Friday’s shutout was started by, not surprisingly, Kyle Hendricks. The almost-certain-to-be Minor League Pitcher of the Year for the Cubs pitched 7 innings, allowed 4 hits, and struck out 3. Zach Rosscup (with 2 strikeouts) and Eduardo Sanchez each tossed an inning to complete the game.
  • [Iowa] Chang-Yong Lim walked a batter and fanned two in his inning of work on Saturday.
  • [Tennessee] Despite the slump, Tennessee is getting some quality outings from their pitchers. Nick Struck and Yeiper Castillo combined to hold Mobile to just 2 runs on Sunday, and that despite allowing 5 walks between them.
  • [Tennessee] Rubi Silva tripled (his 9th) and homered (his 14th) on Friday. He followed that up with his 15th homer on Saturday, and on Sunday he drew his 18th walk. Believe it or not, Silva has walked 5 times in his last 10 games. His August line now reads .316/.373/.513.
  • [Daytona] Daytona has one of the best collections of starting pitchers I can remember seeing on a Cubs farm team. This weekend saw starts from C.J. Edwards (4 IP, 8 K), Corey Black (5 IP, 2 K), and Ivan Pineyro (6 IP, 6 K). And if that isn’t good enough, the bullpen this weekend got some great performances from Yao-Lin Wang (3 IP, 6 K), Kyler Burke (2 IP, 0 H), and Zach Cates (3 IP, 4 K). That streak of very good starters continues today when Pierce Johnson takes the mound.
  • [Daytona] The Cubs lineup is just as good. Kris Bryant has a Daytona OPS of 1.084, Dan Vogelbach is sitting at 0.918, and Anthony Giansanti is up to .893 in August (sample size alerts on those three). Remember this is supposed to be a pitchers league. Dustin Geiger is still there with an OPS of .809, and Zeke DeVoss is still at the top of the lineup with an OBP near .400 and 34 steals.
  • [Daytona] To give you an idea just how good this Daytona lineup is, consider this. On Saturday their first four hitters finished a combined 0-14 in the game, and the team still went on to score 7 times on 9 hits. Of course the 6 walks drawn by those first four hitters (including 3 by Vogelbach) certainly helped matters (the team finished with 9 walks for the game).
  • [Kane County] The Cougars got some quality innings in Friday’s win from Scott Baker (4 IP, 4 H, 3 K), Justin Amlung (3 IP, 2 H, 4 K), and Andrew McKirahan (2 IP, 2 H, 3 K).
  • [Hawks] In Friday’s scoring binge the best game was provided by Justin Marra. The catcher (DH’ing in this one) finished 4 for 5 with his 3rd and 4th home runs of the season. Jacob Rogers also homered, his 7th.
  • [Hawks] Paul Blackburn gave up a single hit in his 5 innings of work on Saturday, but he also walked 6. Sunday’s starter, Dillon Maples, also had some trouble with walks. Maples allowed 4 runs on 4 hits over 5 innings while walking 4.
  • [Hawks] Following his 3 walk day on Sunday, Shawon Dunston now has 26 walks against 23 strikeouts this season. He is hitting .293/.389/.371 with 10 steals.
  • [Arizona] Daury Torrez struck out 6 in 6 innings of work on Saturday. He allowed nothing but 3 hits along the way.
  • [Arizona] Tyler Ihrig had another good outing on Sunday. Through 2 innings of relief he gave up just one hit and struck out one. His Arizona ERA is now 0.78.

Other News

  • As far as the playoffs go Iowa is not dead yet, but they are very close. Their elimination number is down to three. Any combination of three Omaha wins or Iowa losses removes the Cubs from contention.
  • Despite losing their last four straight games, it remains almost impossible for the Smokies to miss the playoffs. Their magic number is down to two. If Birmingham loses twice it does not matter what Tennessee does the rest of the season, they will be playing in postseason. Given that Birmingham is just 3-7 in their last ten games, I don’t see them winning out. Jackson is also technically alive, but their elimination number is one, and they are 2-8 in their last ten. I’d rather see the Smokies go into the playoffs on a hot streak, but there is very little chance they will not be going to the playoffs regardless.
  • It seems like there is little chance of Daytona backing into the playoffs. They are firing on all cylinders right now, and their magic number is down to five. The Cubs are riding a four game winning streak and, weather permitting, play five games in the next three days. They could wrap up the division by the end of day Wednesday.
  • The Hawks sweep of Salem-Keizer on the road this weekend vaulted Boise into a tie for first place. They promptly fell a game back after losing the opener in Hillsboro, but they remain in good shape if they can just split the remaining games with the Hops.
  • Arizona’s loss last night eliminated them from the race for a second half division title, but I don’t think their postseason hopes are quite dead yet. Since the Giants are likely to win both the first and second half of the season in that division, the other team from the division in the playoffs will be the second best (to the Giants) overall record. In that race the Cubs trail by 3.5 with 4 games left to play. The odds are very much against them, but I don’t think they are quite out of it yet. Not technically, anyway.

Author: Luke Blaize

Luke Blaize is the Minor League Editor at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @ltblaize.