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Chicago Cubs Minor League Wrap: Opening Night!

The other three full season teams took the field for the first time tonight.

Cam Sanders
Cam Sanders
Tennessee Smokies

Welcome to the Minor League Wrap. You got two nights of previews with the I-Cubs games earlier this week, but we start for real tonight.

Every night, I give you the scores and the top performers from each Cubs minor league game. I don’t do a full recap for each game, but I do try to point out any crucial, game-turning plays.

I also list the stats for all the top players in each game. I usually define “top players” as any hitter who hit a home run or had two hits, but there are exceptions for things like three walks or three steals or some big play. For pitchers, it’s generally the starter, whomever got the decision or who got the save. If a middle reliever strikes out five over two perfect innings, he’ll probably get a mention too. These aren’t hard and fast rules, but they manage to keep my workload under control.

One thing I don’t do is turn this into a daily top prospect wrap. I’m not going to tell you how Brennen Davis did every night. I have two reasons for this. For one, it’s unhealthy to obsess over every game for any of these players. Certainly if Davis is in an extended slump, I’ll say something, but just saying he went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts one day and 1 for 4 the next doesn’t tell anyone anything. If you want to know how any particular player did that evening, I always provide a link to the box score.

The other reason I don’t do that is that it serves as a distraction from the other players on the team. Every single player in the minor leagues is trying to get to the majors and they deserve to have their accomplishments recognized just as much. For example, few considered Patrick Wisdom to be anything more than a warm body in Triple-A at the start of last season. If I didn’t mention how Wisdom was tearing up Triple-A last May, you might have questioned why someone who wasn’t a prospect anymore got called up to the majors. And that would have been my fault.

Also, I do puns on team names in the recaps. I started doing it just to keep myself from getting bored and it’s become a schtick. Sorry if you don’t like it. You’re welcome if you do. But I do it for myself and not for you.

And here’s my annual appeal to follow me on Twitter at @JoshFTimmers. On nights when I’m watching minor league games (which is most nights), I will provide updates to the games on Twitter. You’re invited to follow along. Or not. Your call.

With that said, here are tonight’s games!

Iowa Cubs

The Iowa Cubs got swept in a doubleheader by the Buffalo Bison (Blue Jays), 7-2 and 1-0.

Adrian Sampson started game one and took the loss. The Bison jumped on Sampson for two runs in the first inning and solo home runs in the second and third innings. Sampson’s final line was four runs on six hits over 2+ innings. He walked one and struck out two.

Stephen Gonsalves relieved Sampson and tossed two scoreless innings. The first one wasn’t so good as he walked a batter and hit a batter which, combined with the runner he inherited from Sampson, loaded the bases with one out. But he pitched out of that jam without allowing a run to score and then struck out the side in order in the fourth. Gonslaves struck out five in two innings of hitless and scoreless relief.

The I-Cubs had four hits in this game, all singles. Third baseman Robel Garcia was 1 for 3 with an RBI ground out in the first inning.

Left fielder Donnie Dewees stole home in the sixth inning for Iowa’s other run. It was a heads-up play where the catcher lost track of the count and threw to second trying to get Ildemaro Vargas walking to second base after Brennen Davis walked. Dewees saw the throw go through to second base and broke for home.

Dewees was 1 for 3.

In game two, Mark Leiter Jr. was the hard-luck loser. Leiter allowed just one run on four hits over four innings. He struck out seven and walked one.

The I-Cubs only had four hits in game two as well. Third baseman Trent Giambrone was 1 for 3 with a double.

Tennessee Smokies

The Tennessee Smokies blinded the Chattanooga Lookouts (Reds), 8-0.

Four Smokies pitchers combined for a three-hit shutout. Starter Cam Sanders allowed just two hits and two walks over four innings. Sanders also hit one batter. He struck out eight.

Bryan Hudson relieved Sanders and got the win because Sanders didn’t go five innings. Hudson pitched two innings and retired all six batters he faced, striking out four of them.

Javier Assad pitched the next two innings and allowed one hit and issued one walk. Assad recorded two strike outs.

Finally, Brandon Hughes pitched a perfect ninth inning. He did not strike anyone out.

The Smokies scored their eight runs on only six hits—five singles and a double—but they were helped out by drawing eight walks and getting hit by a pitch once.

First baseman Bryce Ball drove in the first run of the game with an RBI single in the bottom of the first inning. He was 2 for 4 and scored a run in the eighth inning.

South Bend Cubs

The South Bend Cubs got robbed by the Quad Cities River Bandits (Royals), 4-3 in ten innings.

Starter Chris Clarke gave up three runs on five hits over 3.2 innings. He walked two and struck out four.

After the Cubs tied the game in the bottom of the ninth, Bailey Reid came on to pitch the tenth inning and took the loss after he allowed the runner on second to score and the Cubs failed to score in the bottom of the inning. Reid allowed one unearned run on two hits over one inning. He walked one and did not strike anyone out.

Second baseman Fabian Pertuz hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning for South Bend’s first runs of the season. Pertuz was 2 for 3 with a walk.

DH Yohendrick Pinango was 2 for 4.

Left fielder Bradlee Beasley was 2 for 4.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans were bitten by the Charleston RiverDogs (Rays), 5-2.

Starter Tyler Schlaffer gave up a two-run home run in the first inning and another run in the third. Schlaffer allowed three runs one three hits over 2.2 innings. Schlaffer struck out five and waked just one, so that’s a positive.

The Pelicans had just five hits in this game. Second baseman Yeison Santana was 1 for 4 with the lone Pelicans RBI in this game. Left fielder Peter Matt was 1 for 4 with a double and reached on an error, which scored the Pelicans’ other run.