First of all, I want to apologize for not having a MLW yesterday. AT&T was supposed to turn on my phone and internet service yesterday, but I wasn't confident that they would and sure enough, there was a problem. After initially telling us that it wouldn't be fixed until tomorrow or possibly even Monday (and even that wasn't until after they asked my wife "Are you sure you're not a moron?" half a dozen times before agreeing to send someone out), a technician actually called back later and said he could come out this afternoon. He fixed the problem in about a half an hour. I've never had anything but great service from AT&T technicians who get sent out. The people who you have to deal with to actually get one of those technicians to come out, on the other hand. . . Dealing with any major faceless corporation is a problem, but the AT&T call centers are a special level of hell.
As far as the trade goes today, I think the Pirates got some interesting parts, but little that the Cubs can't afford to lose. I like Kevin Hart the best of all of the players the Pirates got. Hart's a bit of an overachiever who turned his career around by learning the cut fastball. I think he should to continue to "overachieve" for a while, but he's really a #4-5 starter. He was a nice return for Freddy Bynum no matter what.
Despite the Cubs moving Jose Ascanio into the rotation in Iowa, I think that if he has a major league future, it's as a middle reliever. He's had control problems in the majors, as most of you know, although his walk rates haven't been bad in the minors the last couple of seasons. If he can pitch in the majors with the talent he's shown in the minors, he's a decent right-handed middle reliever. There are a lot of those guys out there and since we got a decent left-handed middle-reliever for him, I'm not going to cry over his loss.
The interesting player we gave up was Josh Harrison. Harrison, the nephew of former major leaguer John Shelby, is a guy who doesn't have a lot of raw tools but has done nothing but hit since the Cubs drafted him in the sixth round out of Cincinnati. At 5'8", he's not likely to ever hit for power and despite his stolen base totals, his speed isn't that impressive, as his SB% indicates. Still, he's hit over .300 in both seasons in the Cub system and while batting average is one of my least favorite stats to evaluate minor league hitters, it's hard to ignore the evidence that Harrison appears to be pretty good at putting wood on the ball. Because of my moving I haven't finished my mid-season prospect lists yet, but I was planning on including Harrison somewhere in the high-teens. If this trade comes back to bite us, it's going to be Harrison that is going to do the biting. However, I think the odds are very much against it. He could end up as a poor-man's Howie Kendrick, and we've all seen how many problems the real Kendrick has had in the major leagues.
Now, on to the games. Everyone who played, won.
The Iowa Cubs dethroned the Omaha Royals, 6-1.
J.R. Mathes had a great start tonight, throwing seven innings and allowing only four hits and one unearned run. Hart walked one and struck out four.
B.J. Ryan faced six batters tonight. He retired the first five and then walked the sixth one before exiting the game. He had one strikeout. Ryan did have some problems finding the plate, however, as of the 25 pitches he threw, only 11 were for strikes.
Left fielder J.F. Griffin (it's all-initials day for the I-Cubs) was 3 for 4 with a double. He scored once and had one RBI. Right fielder S.O. Taguchi had a triple in a 2 for 5 game. Taguchi had two RBI and scored once.
The Smokies beat the Mobile BayBears, 5-2.
Starter Casey Coleman improved his record to 10-5 with six solid innings tonight. Coleman allowed only one run on five hits. He walked two and struck out two.
Brian Schlitter got his 14th save tonight, although he did allow a run on two hits in 1.2 innings.
Third baseman Marquez Smith hit his eighth home run tonight, a two-run homer off top D-Backs prospect Jarrod Parker in the third inning. Smith was 1 for 5. Then first baseman Blake Lalli went deep back-to-back for his fifth home run. Lalli was 2 for 4.
Left fielder Ty Wright was 2 for 3 with a walk. Catcher Welington Castillo scored once in a 2 for 4 effort.
Starter Jay Jackson picked up where he left off in Daytona, allowing only one unearned run in 5.2 innings tonight. Jackson gave up four hits, walked only one and struck out nine. (Oh, and thanks to the people on the board who announced his demotion. It's been a rough week for me, and it's good to know others can cover for you.)
David Cales tossed three shutout innings of relief. He gave up one hit and walked two. Cales fanned one.
Henry Williamson got the win. He gave up a walk and a single, but no runs. Williamson fanned two.
Right fielder Brandon Guyer was 2 for 6 and drove home the winning run in the bottom of the 12th. Shortstop Starlin Castro went 2 for 5 with a walk. Third baseman Jake Opitz went 2 for 4 with a walk.
They were winning 3-0 when they were rained out in Dayton. The game will not be made up.
The Hawks sunk the Vancouver Canadians, 12-9.
Ryan Sontag retired the final four Canadian hitters without incident for his third save. The rest of the Boise pitchers wish to remain anonymous, although one of them did get the win.
Right fielder Jae-Hoon Ha hit his first home run of the year tonight, a three-run home run as part of a seven-run third inning for the Hawks. Ha also doubled and scored twice in a 2 for 5 game.
First baseman Justin Bour went 3 for 4 with a walk. He scored twice and had two RBI. DH Burundi Davis was a home run short of the cycle in a 3 for 4 game. Davis scored once and had two RBI.
Second baseman Logan Watkins went 2 for 4 with a stolen base an RBI and two runs scored.
Did not play.