Now it's time to vote for the Minor League Pitcher of the Month. As always, I pick one player to represent each team, although a couple of these players got promoted during the month, so they count for two teams. You vote for whom you think had the best month, not who is the best prospect. But you can vote for whomever you want.
The candidates are
Iowa Cubs/Tennessee Smokies Alberto Cabrera: Cabrera was promoted to Iowa from Tennessee on July 18 and moved from the starting rotation to the bullpen. But he succeeded in both roles in July. For Iowa, he made four relief appearances, threw 6.2 innings and allowed only one run. Add in his two starts for the Smokies, and Cabrera was 2-0 with a 1.25 ERA for July. In 21.2 innings, he struck out 14 and walked five.
Tennessee Smokies Kyle Hendricks: Hendricks is a strong candidate for minor league pitcher of the year, with yet another strong month in July that has earned him a promotion to Iowa. In five starts he was 2-1 with a 0.93 ERA. He did allow three unearned runs along with the three earned ones. In 29 innings, Hendricks struck out 26 and walked only four.
Tennessee Smokies/Daytona Cubs Matt Loosen: On June 1st, Loosen started for Tennessee and took the loss after allowing eight runs over 5.1 innings. He was demoted down to Daytona. Rather than pout, Loosen rededicated himself and excelled in Daytona. In the month of July, Loosen made five starts for the D-Cubs and went 3-0 with an 0.56 ERA. In 32 innings, he struck out 30 and walked ten. Oh yeah, and on July 8, he threw a nine-inning no-hitter. That excellence got him promoted back to Tennessee, where he made one start and got a no-decision after he allowed only two runs over 5.1 innings.
Kane County Cougars Michael Hamann: Hamann has been the Cougars main closer since his promotion from Boise at the end of June. In the month of July, Hamann pitched six times for the Cougars, totalling 7.2 innings. He didn't allow a run. Nada. Not even an unearned one. His record was 1-0 with three saves. He struck out five and walked two.
Boise Hawks James Pugliese: Pugliese is quietly having an excellent season in Boise. In July, Pugliese made six appearances and was 1-2 with a 2.53 ERA. He showed great command of the strike zone as he struck out 23 and walked only four over 32 inning this past month.
The Iowa Cubs lost their eighth straight game, 5-4 to the Salt Lake Bees (Angels).
Nick Struck tossed the first 5.1 innings and allowed three runs on six hits. He walked three (one intentional) and didn't strike anyone out.
Iowa had a 4-3 lead going to the bottom of the eighth but Chang-Yong Lim allowed a run in the eighth to blow the save and Brian Schlitter allowed another one in the ninth to take the loss. Schlitter retired only one batter and allowed the run on three hits. He didn't have a strikeout and he walked one batter intentionally.
Right fielder Ty Wright accounted for all of Iowa's runs with a pair of two-run home runs in the second and sixth innings. That gives him eight home runs on the season and five for Iowa. He also walked once.
After Wright hit his second home run, he was pulled from the game, leading to some speculation. If he did get a call to the majors, what a great reward for a loyal and hardworking organizational soldier.
The Tennessee Smokies were blinded by the Jacksonville Suns (Marlins), 1-0.
Eduardo Figueroa made his Tennessee debut and was the victim of non-support as he got the loss despite allowing only one run on four hits over five innings. He walked two and struck out two.
Following Figueroa, Dayan Diaz made his Smokies debut and he retired all six batters he faced, three of them by strikeout.
The Smokies couldn't score despite eight hits. With two outs in the ninth, third baseman Christian Villanueva singled and then right fielder Rubi Silva doubled to put runners on second and third. But while Brett Jackson hit the ball hard, the ball was caught on the line by the Suns second baseman to end the game.
Villanueva and Silva were both 2 for 4. Jackson was 0 for 3 with a walk. Center fielder Matt Szczur was 2 for 4.
The Daytona Cubs scored seven times in the fourth inning to sink the Bradenton Marauders (Pirates), 9-7.
Corey Black made his Cubs debut and he had some issues with Marauders DH Jose Osuna, who hit a solo home run and a three-run home run off of Black. To every other batter, he was pretty good over four innings. Black allowed the four runs on only three hits and three walks. He struck out eight in those four innings.
Ben Wells got his seventh win because Black didn't go five innings. Wells allowed three runs, but only one earned, over two innings. He surrendered two hits and he walked four. Wells did not strike anyone out.
Lendy Castillo got a three inning save, but he really earned it as he didn't allow a run or a hit. Castillo walked the first batter he faced, who immediately went to third on a steal and a throwing error by the catcher. He then retired the next nine batters. Castillo struck out four.
Catcher Chadd Krist hit three doubles in a 3 for 5 game. he scored one run.
Center fielder Zeke DeVoss was 3 for 4 with two doubles and a walk. He scored twice and had two batted in. Shortstop Elliot Soto was a perfect 1 for 1 with three walks. He scored once and had one RBI.
DH Bijan Rademacher was 2 for 5 with a bases-loaded double in the fourth that plated all three runners.
Right fielder Pin-Chieh Chen was 2 for 4 and scored two runs.
Kane County Cougars
The Kane County Cougars were snakebit by the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Brewers), 7-4.
The Cougars pitchers allowed 17 hits tonight. Michael Heesch came off the DL threw the first six innings and took his ninth loss. Heesch allowed five runs on twelve hits. He walked two and struck out two.
DH Rock Shoulders tied the game at three with a three-run double in the fifth inning. He was 1 for 4.
The Hawks were rained out at Everett. For a team that calls themselves the Aquasox, they're sure scared of a little rain.