Cubs Minor League Daily: Smokies Claim First Place

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Cubs Minor League Daily: Smokies Claim First Place

Chicago Cubs

For the Iowa Cubs (14-20), it was a long week. They played six games and lost five of them, three of those losses coming despite playing pretty well on the road. As a result, Iowa is now dead last in the division, eight games back of first. Given the amount of talent on this team (or at least prior to Jeimer Candelario and Ian Happ coming up to the big team), this actually surprises me quite a bit. I really thought this would be the year Iowa would challenge for the division title, even despite all the shuttles between Iowa and Chicago.

Thanks to a very successful trip to Jackson, the 22-14 Tennessee Smokies are now in sole possession of first place in their division byy half a game. This week, though, they should have the opportunity to improve on that record and perhaps widen that lead. First Montgomery, the fourth place team, comes to town for five games, and then the Smokies head out to Birmingham, far and away the worst team in the division.

The 19-16 Myrtle Beach Pelicans are still in second, trailing Buies Creek by 2.5 games. They have a chance, though, to make that deficit vanish this week. They wrap up a home set against Lynchburg with a double header today, and then Buies Creek comes into town for four games. And it just so happens that the Pelicans just got a major addition to their lineup in the form of the Cubs’ best prospect and one of the most dangerous hitters in the minors, Eloy Jimenez. The excellent feeds from Myrtle Beach might be must watch stuff the first part of the week.

At 23-12, the South Bend Cubs have the best record in the organization, but they are in third place in their own division. They trail Dayton by a game, and West Michigan by half a game. They can’t do anything about West Michigan for awhile, but Dayton comes into South Bend for three games starting Monday. Both Dayton and South Bend are playing very well right now, and South Bend offers a very good video feed of their own. Maybe that must watching will need to be split screen.

Triple A: Iowa Cubs
Salt Lake 5, Iowa 4 in 11 innings
This is the third straight very narrow loss in Salt Lake for the Cubs.

Double A: Tennessee Smokies
Montgomery 3, Tennessee 1
The Smokies did not get on the board until the bottom of the ninth.

High A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans

The Pelicans were rained out.

Low A: South Bend Cubs
South Bend 4, Peoria 0
Three Cubs pitchers scattered eight hits for the shutout.

Other Notes

  • Other than Ian Happ being called up, the big news from yesterday was that the Cubs top prospect, Eloy Jimenez, is off the disabled list and assigned to Myrtle Beach. The Pelicans, of course, were promptly rained out, so we are still awaiting the season debut for Jimenez.
  • As for Happ, this is basically the best possible way to get him a taste of the majors. I’m not convinced he is ready to stay in majors quite yet… there is some unsustainability to his Triple A numbers that suggests he has some adjustments to make… but there is no downside to bringing him up for a few games, letting him work with the major league coaches, getting a list of things to work on, and then heading back to Iowa for those finishing touches.
  • The best part of minor league baseball is, of course, the baseball. The food is pretty high on the list, though, and South Bend is rolling out some new promotional items for a limited time starting this week. On May 18 the 70s will be the theme, and some 70s inspired dishes will appear. On May 21 another set of promotional foods appear, and one of these sounds pretty good; say hello to the Poutine Dog. The concept is simple. Take a hot dog, and put poutine on it. Or, if you don’t speak Canadian, put french fries, cheese curds, and gravy on it. My doctor might object, but it sounds pretty tasty to me.
  • Ever wondered why Star Wars night is so popular around the minor leagues? It fills stadiums, that’s why. The Smokies (and their awesome Star Wars jerseys) just held their Star Wars night, and they set an attendance record in the process. Having a first place team on the field for that Star Wars night probably helped.
  • Daury Torrez has appeared in ten games for Tennessee, pitched 17.2 innings, and has allowed just one earned run while striking out 16 and walking 3. His ERA is 0.51, and batters are only hitting .155 off him. That is a very impressive set of numbers for the 23 year old right-hander.
  • Not only did Iowa lose another close game against a very good team on the road, they lost this one in extra innings on a walk off inside the park home run.

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Author: Luke Blaize

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