Tonight, the Iowa Cubs start the second half by taking on one of their traditional rivals, the Memphis Redbirds, in a game at Principal Park in Des Moines. The Redbirds and the I-Cubs may be in different divisions starting this season, but the rivalry between the two franchises' longtime parent clubs spills over into these two teams. The Cardinals have had their top farm club in Memphis since 1998 and the Cubs have been in Iowa since 1981.
This game will be televised nationwide on the CBS Sports Network, so the I-Cubs will be in the spotlight tonight. Why should you tune in? Well, it's not going to be because Kyle Schwarber is there, like I originally wrote in this piece. But there are still several good reasons.
- It's the Cubs versus the Cardinals
- Tsuyoshi Wada will be making a rehab start. It's a good chance to see how close he is to returning.
- Rafael Soriano has joined Iowa, along with Carl Edwards Jr. makes for some interesting bullpen options.
- A chance to see how Arismendy Alcantara, Mike Olt and Junior Lake are doing on the farm.
- The Famous Chicken will be there!
- It's the only game on tonight!
If the first five reasons don't do it for you, the last one should. While MLB is still in their All-Star Break, minor league baseball is playing already after yesterday's Triple-A All-Star Game in Omaha. It's been since Sunday that there has been a real baseball game on TV and so tonight, you get a chance to get a one-day head start on the major leagues.
It's been a good season for Iowa this year and they are four games above .500 at 47-43. Unfortunately, the new Dodgers affiliate, the newly-renamed Oklahoma City Dodgers, have torn up the Pacific Coast League to the tune of a 56-32 record, which puts Iowa 10 games back in their division.
Memphis sports a nearly-identical 48-43 record, which puts them only five games in back of Round Rock in their division.
If you don't know what channel the CBS Sports Network is in your area, you can go to their channel finder here. For Chicago Comcast customers, it's in HD on channel 232. On Mediacom in Des Moines, the HD channel is 762. For DirecTV, the game will be on channel 221 and Dish Network customers can find it on channel 158.
If you're an milb.tv subscriber, you can watch the regular I-Cubs feed with Randy Weihofer and Deene Ellis. If you don't have any of those, you can listen to the I-Cubs radio feed for free on milb.com.
Tonight's starting lineup for the Iowa Cubs
Sczcur CF, Alcantara 2B, Lake LF, Villanueva 3B, Baxter RF, Olt 1B, Davis C, Mota SS, Wada P
And for the Redbirds
Ortega CF, Easley C, Garcia 3B, Piscotty 1B, Scruggs LF, Hazelbaker, Anna 2B, Williams SS, Lee P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Wada is making his third rehab start and second for the I-Cubs. He's gone four innings in the first two and if the Cubs stretch him out much longer than that, it should be a sign that he's close to returning to Wrigley.
Lee is a 25 year-old undrafted free agent out of Sonoma State University. So far, he's exceeded expectations by keeping the ball in play and not walking anyone. He's bounced between Double-A Springfield and Memphis this season and is making his fourth start this year for the Redbirds and second since his recall to Triple-A. It's a small sample size, but his three previous starts for Memphis were better than his 13 starts for Springfield.
Here's the Iowa Cubs website that has Gameday and links to the radio and milb.tv feed.
And if you're a lost Cardinals fan, here's where you can find the Memphis Redbirds website and broadcast information.
Use this thread as you would any other game thread. There are no overflow threads planned unless you guys and gals get unusually chatty.