Cubs Minor League Daily: Three Playoff Races Underway

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Cubs Minor League Daily: Three Playoff Races Underway

Chicago Cubs

For those teams that are not in Triple A, we are entering the final week of the first half of the season. For the most part, the first half ends one week from today. And since all three non-Iowa teams are still in contention, this promises to be a very interesting week.

Iowa (26-36), though, is going nowhere fast. They remain in fourth place, and right now they are sinking deeper rather than showing any signs of climbing back to .500. They will be home next weekend for four games, but other than that the Cubs remain on the road until the final week of the month.

The Smokies (35-26) have the best record in the Southern League, but they are clinging to a half game lead in their own division. Chattanooga is in second, and Montgomery is just a game behind Chattanooga. For the Smokies, their magic number is nine. Through Tuesday they will be playing in Jackson (another team not quite out of the division race), and on Wednesday they return home to face second place Chattanooga in five game set.

Myrtle Beach (36-26) is in a slightly more comfortable position; their division lead is still two and a half games over Carolina (with Buies Creek half a game further back). That gives the Pelicans a magic number of six. After wrapping up a homestand against Carolina today, the Pelicans will welcome in Frederick for three before heading to Down East to finish out the half.

The best record in the farm system still belongs to South Bend, but the Low A Cubs (37-24) are having a hard time turning their wins into a playoff ticket. After sitting in third for a long time, the Cubs finally clawed their way into a tie for second … and in the Midwest League second is good enough to secure a first half playoff slot. They are only tied for second, though, but since it looks like South Bend holds the tie-breaker against Dayton (head to head record, and it favors the Cubs 7-3) a tie should do the trick. If they want to win the division, they’ll have to make up a three game deficit in a week. After wrapping up a road trip Monday, the Cubs will return home for the rest of the half.

Triple A: Iowa Cubs
Colorado Springs 8, Iowa 1
As bad this game was, it got worse in Game Two.

Colorado Springs 11, Iowa 0
In total, the Cubs were outscored ninteen to one.

Double A: Tennessee Smokies
Tennessee 5, Jackson 3
It wasn’t the prettiest starting pitching line, but it got the job done.

High A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Myrtle Beach 3, Carolina 2
After a homer to lead off the bottom of the first, the Pelicans never trailed.

Low A: South Bend Cubs
South Bend 5, Great Lakes 3
Machin is making an early run a locking up Player of the Month for June.

Other Notes

  • Dakota Mekkes, a 2016 draftee, has been promoted to Myrtle Beach after basically shutting down the Midwest League in a relief capacity all season. He posted an ERA of just 0.58 through 31 innings in South Bend, struck out 47 in the process, and allowed just 14 hits.
  • In the month June, through nine games so far, South Bend infielder Vimael Machin is hitting .469/.486/.719 with two home runs, two doubles, two walks, and just three strikeouts. Going back to May 30 he has hit safely in ten of eleven games, and he had multiple hits in six of those. In that span his batting average has climbed from .271 to .318. His slugging, from .402 to .486. The Cubs are content to ride this hot streak for just a long as it will last, and to that end he’s been moved up to the No. 2 slot in the batting order.
  • In addition to the playoff chaces and the draft… you did remember that the draft starts tomorrow night, right?… this week also marks the start of the season for the short season teams. The Eugene Emeralds of the Northwest League will start the defensive of their championship on Thursday at home. We may not see the roster until Wednesday, but regardless of that, you’ll be able to read up on the Emeralds in the Minor League Daily starting Friday.
  • The AZL Cubs will also start up soon, probably this week even though the schdule isn’t on the website yet. There is a plausible roster online, but I would not assume it is final yet. It does have Jose Albertos on it, for what that’s worth. The AZL Cubs will also be part of the Daily, once their season gets underway.

Author: Luke Blaize

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