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Chicago Cubs Minor League Wrap: September 27

The Smokies fail to put the Blue Wahoos away. Iowa also loses.

Tennessee Smokies Tennessee Smokies

So the Smokies lost tonight, meaning there will be a decisive game 3 for the Southern League title. Iowa also has an afternoon game and then that will be the end of the 2022 Minor League season.

Really bad bullpen day.

Tennessee Smokies

The Tennessee Smokies were tranquilized by the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Marlins), 7-1.

The Smokies bullpen wasted a terrific start from Riley Thompson. Thompson kept the Blue Wahoos from scoring for five innings. Thompson gave up two hits and two walks. He struck out eight.

The Smokies scored first in the third inning when center fielder Zach Davis was hit by a pitch and then right fielder Yonathan Perlaza doubled him home from first. But that would be all the offense the Smokies could manage this evening.

Throughout the second half of the season, the bullpen has been a real source of weakness for the Smokies. But the relievers have been very good so far in the postseason. Unfortunately, the struggles resumed in the sixth inning when three pitchers combined to allow seven runs.

Dalton Stambaugh was first called upon to relieve Thompson after 91 pitches. He gave up a leadoff single and then a passed ball sent the runner to third. But Stambaugh got the next two batters out on a pop up and a ground out right at a pulled in infield. So it looked like the Smokies were going to escape with their lead intact.

Things immediately fell apart after that. Stambaugh exited and manager Michael Ryan brought in Michael McAvene to make his Double-A debut with a runner on third and two outs. McAvene gave up three straight singles and then he walked in another batter to make it 2-1.

It became 4-1 when a grounder to third base ended up being an infield single and a throwing error by Jake Slaughter.

McAvene then left without retiring a batter. Hunter Bigge came on and gave up a walk and two more singles to make it 7-1 before the damage ended.

Stambaugh’s final line was one run on one hit over two-thirds of an inning.

McAvene got the loss. In case you’ve lost count, he surrendered five runs on four hits and a walk without retiring a hitter.

Bigge was charged with one run on three hits over 1.1 innings. He struck out one and walked one.

The Smokies managed just five hits tonight and no one had more than one. Perlaza was 1 for 4 with the RBI double and a walk.

Left fielder Cole Roederer went 1 for 3 with a double and a walk.

Iowa Cubs

The Iowa Cubs got stuck by the Toledo Mud Hens (Tigers), 7-5.

The I-Cubs got another solid start from Wyatt Short, who held the Mud Hens scoreless until giving up a two-run home run to Brendon Davis (that’s confusing) in the fifth inning. Short’s final line was two runs on four hits over five innings. He struck out seven and walked just one.

Dakota Mekkes came on to relieve Short in the sixth and did not have a good time. Mekkes got knocked around for five runs on just one hit over one-third of an inning. Three of the five runs were unearned, but it was Mekkes’ own error that led to the unearned runs. Mekkes walked two, hit one batter and struck out one.

The I-Cubs broke out to a 5-0 lead by the fourth inning. First baseman John Hicks hit a two-run home run in the third inning, his 20th on the season. Hicks also doubled in a 2 for 5 game.

Left fielder Alexander Canario chipped in a two-run home run of his own in the fourth. It was Canario’s fifth home run for Iowa and 36th overall. Canario went 2 for 5 and scored twice.

DH Matt Mervis was 2 for 5 with a bloop double.

Catcher Tyler Payne was 2 for 5.