If I've been rather quiet today, it's because today is my anniversary. Fifteen years. My wife likes baseball and we used to go to the Cedar Rapids Kernels and Quad City River Bandits games when we were dating. But spending the day watching minor league games and blogging about them would have been a bit much for her.
I kind of picked a bad day to have an anniversary. One of the newest Cubs had a heck of a debut tonight.
Congratulations to Peoria Chiefs shortstop Javier Baez, whom you voted as the BCB Minor League Player of the Month. There was no real surprise there, but Torreyes and Amaya also had really excellent months.
Now it's time to turn our attention to the pitchers. The candidates are:
Iowa Cubs Brooks Raley: Let's get the bad news out of the way first. In five starts for Iowa, Raley went 0-4. But I think you'd agree he was the victim of poor support when you hear he didn't give up more than two runs in any of those starts. In the no-decision, he pitched seven shutout innings. Raley's ERA for the month was 2.12. In 29.2 innings, he struck out 28 and walked only 12. He's not on the 40-man roster, but if he keeps pitching like this I wouldn't be surprised if he got a September call-up.
Tennessee Smokies Eric Jokisch: The Central Illinois left-hander has been impressive all season for both the Smokies and the D-Cubs. For the month of July, he went 4.1 with a 2.57 ERA. In 28 innings, he struck out 20 and walked only eight. Jokisch doesn't throw hard, but he's one of those guys who keeps the ball down, doesn't walk anyone and knows how to get a ground ball when he needs one. Jokisch has opened enough eyes this season to start showing up on some Cubs prospect lists in the off-season.
Daytona Cubs A.J. Morris: Morris recent string of success won the closer job in Daytona last month. The right-hander pitched in ten games in July and went 1-0 with four saves and he didn't become the closer until the middle of the month. In 15 innings, he struck out 15 and walked only four. Morris was one of the players the Cubs received from Washington in the Tom Gorzelanny trade.
Peoria Chiefs Michael Jensen: Jensen has emerged as Peoria's best starter this season. July wasn't even his best month, but it was a bounce-back from a subpar June that came after an excellent April and May. For the month, Jensen made six starts and went 2-1 with a 3.51 ERA. In 33.1 innings last month, the right-hander from Salinas, California struck out 28 and walked only nine.
Boise Hawks Tayler Scott: The late Gil Scott-Heron (no relation, I'm sure) would say "Tell me brother, have you heard from Johannesburg?" Scott has been making a name for himself up in Boise this summer. In three of his six starts in July, Scott didn't allow a run. In six starts, he went 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA. He held opposing hitters to a .198 batting average. He does need to work on his control a bit, as he walked 14 and struck out 20 in 30 innings.
Now on to the games:
The Iowa Cubs lost their luggage against the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Rockies), 7-4.
Brooks Raley's August didn't get off to the same start July did, and he took the loss after surrendering six runs on ten hits over six innings. Raley walked two and struck out five.
Third baseman Josh Vitters was 3 for 5 and scored a run. He also stole a base. Right fielder Dave Sappelt was 3 for 5.
First baseman Greg Rohan continues to get his Pacific Coast League career off to a good start as he went 2 for 4 with a double and a walk. He had two RBI. Left fielder Jim Adduci was 2 for 5 with a double. He scored one run and batted one in.
The Tennessee Smokies couldn't muster any enthusiasm against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Reds), 6-1.
Jacob Brigham made his Cubs debut tonight, but he picked up the loss. He pitched the first three innings and allowed three runs on five hits, although one of the three runs was unearned. Brigham walked three and struck out two.
The Smokies had two hits tonight, and both of them were by second baseman Logan Watkins. Watkins was 1 for 4 with a solo home run in the fourth inning. It was his fifth home run this year.
The Daytona Cubs swept the Fort Myers Miracle (Twins), 8-2.
Robert Whitenack threw the first 3.2 innings and allowed a run on two hits. He walked four and struck out three.
Ryan Searle got the win because Whitenack didn't go five. Searle allowed one run on a solo home run in the fifth inning. He pitched 3.1 innings and allowed two total hits. He walked one and struck out five.
Third baseman Christian Villanueva made sure no one would forget his Cubs debut. He hit a home run in his first two at-bats as a Cub. Both home runs were solo shots in the first and third innings. He finished the game 2 for 3 with a walk. He now has twelve home runs this season.
Second baseman Ronald Torreyes also homered just before Villanueva's second home run. It was with a man on and was his sixth of the season. Torreyes was 2 for 3 with a walk. He had three total RBI.
Left fielder John Andreoli went 2 for 5 with a double. He scored once. Catcher Rafael Lopez was 2 for 4 with a stolen base. He scored one run and batted one in. Shortstop Timothy Saunders was also 2 for 4 with a steal. He scored twice.
The Peoria Chiefs were robbed by the Quad City River Bandits (Cardinals), 6-4.
Starling Peralta started and pitched five innings. He allowed three runs on three hits. He walked three and struck out six. Peralta's record fell to 3-7.
Third baseman Dustin Geiger stayed red hot. He hit his third home run in two days in the second inning that tied the score at 1-1. Geiger now has fourteen home runs this season. He also doubled in a 3 for 4 night.
Center fielder Pin-Chieh Chen was 2 for 5 with a two-run double in the seventh inning. Left fielder Bijan Rademacher was 2 for 4 and scored once.
The Boise Hawks' five-game win streak ended in a big way tonight with a 15-1 loss to the Spokane Indians (Rangers).
James Pugliese started and took the loss. He allowed five runs over five innings, but all five of those runs were unearned as Boise made six errors tonight. Pugliese was touched for six hits. He didn't walk anyone and he struck out three.
Boise had only four hits compared to their six errors. Shortstop Marco Hernandez was 2 for 4 with a stolen base. He scored one run. DH Dan Vogelbach had the other two hits in a 2 for 4 game. He singled home Hernandez in the first inning to give Boise a short-lived 1-0 lead.