Tomorrow is Labor Day, which is the traditional end of the minor league season. But because the minor league season started late in 2021, we still have a few weeks left of the year, and almost a month in the case of Iowa. Also, there won’t be any Cubs minor league baseball (except the Arizona Complex League) on Labor Day because the new system has Monday as a universal off-day for travel.
The Iowa Cubs split a doubleheader with Indianapolis (Pirates), losing game one 4-3 and winning the second game 9-0.
Matt Swarmer was terrific in game one, allowing just one run on four hits over 5.2 innings. He struck out six and walked three.
Juan Gámez relieved Swarmer in the sixth and then immediately got into trouble in the bottom of the seventh. Gámez loaded the bases with one out on two walks and a single before giving way to Brendan Little. Little got the loss after walking in a run and then giving up a two-run single, allowing all three inherited runners to score. Little did not retire a batter.
In the third inning, second baseman Trent Giambrone had an RBI double and center fielder Ian Miller then hit a two-run triple for all of Iowa’s runs. Giambrone was 1 for 3 and scored on Miller’s triple and Miller was 1 for 3.
In game two, starter Joe Biagini came within one out of his first career complete game, but he tired in the seventh inning and had to be removed with the bases loaded and two out. The final line on Biagini was no runs on four hits over 6.2 innings. He struck out eight and walked four.
Catcher Taylor Gushue hit a two-run home run in the second inning, his eighth on the season. Gushue was a perfect 4 for 4 with a double and the home run in game two. He scored two runs and drove in the two.
Shortstop Abiatal Avelino hit a two-run home run as part of a six-run sixth inning for Iowa. Avelino now has four home runs in 2021. He was 2 for 4 with three total RBI.
Right fielder Trayce Thompson plated three runs with a bases-loaded double in the sixth inning. He was 1 for 3 with a walk and scored on Avelino’s home run.
Giambrone was 2 for 3 with a walk and one run scored in game two.
The Tennessee Smokies cleaned up the Rocket City Trash Pandas (Angels) 4-2 in ten innings. The win snapped a five-game losing streak for the Smokies and was their first win since August 22.
Anderson Espinoza made his Smokies and Double-A debut in this game and was not in the least bit intimidated. Espinoza held the Trash Pandas to one run on three hits over five innings. He walked four and struck out six.
Graham Lawson threw two innings of scoreless relief for the win. Lawson allowed just one single and issued only one walk. He struck out one.
Left fielder Brennen Davis hit a solo home run in the second inning. It was Davis’s 14th home run this year and 12th with the Smokies. He went 2 for 4 and was hit by a pitch.
Catcher Harrison Wenson dumped a two-run single into left field in the tenth inning that turned out to be the difference. Wenson was 1 for 3 with two walks and one run scored.
South Bend Cubs
The South Bend Cubs were sent to a watery grave by the Lake County Captains (Guardians), 1-0.
Jordan Wicks made his professional debut in this game and threw one inning, which was always the plan. He struck out the first batter he faced and then got the next two to hit fly balls to center and to left to retire the side in order.
Chris Clarke took over for Wicks and was the hard-luck loser. The only run of the game came on a solo home run in the seventh inning. Clarke pitched six innings and gave up one run on three hits. He struck out five and walked no one.
South Bend had two hits in this game, both singles. Left fielder Yohendrick Pinango went 1 for 3 with a walk.
Myrtle Beach Pelicans
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans were mauled by the Lynchburg Hillcats (Guardians), 10-2.
Starting pitcher Porter Hodge allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits over 4.2 innings. Hodge struck out four and walked two.
The loss went to Dawel Rodriguez, who got hammered four five runs on three hits over 2.2 innings. Rodriguez walked three and struck out just one.
Shortstop Kevin Made went 1 for 3 with a walk and an RBI double in the fourth inning, scoring Ed Howard. Made also committed two of the Pelicans four errors in this game.
Howard went 1 for 4 with a stolen base.
Center fielder Jordan Nwogu stayed hot, going 2 for 4.
They rest on Sundays.