Preps Talk

On The Farm: Iowa Inches Closer To Division Title

On The Farm: Iowa Inches Closer To Division Title

Friday Sept. 3, 2010
Posted: 10:15 p.m.
By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com

CUBSIowa AAA
The I-Cubs arent ready to give up first place just or their place in the Pacific Coast League playoffs. They made that much obvious Friday night at Principal Park by defeating Memphis, 4-2, in the opening game of a four-game series that will determine who wins the American North Division title.

Iowa took over sole possession of first and need to win two of the three remaining games to make the playoffs. Should the two teams split, Memphis would win on a tiebreaker. The I-Cubs have been in first or shared a piece of it for 47 consecutive days.

Brad Snyder continued his spectacular season, connecting for his career-best 25th homer in the seventh inning. The solo shot snapped a 2-2 tie and increased his career best RBI total to 103, second best in the PCL. Matt Camps RBI single in the eighth gave the I-Cubs a two-run cushion. Bobby Scales was 1-for-2, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. Hes batting .357 15-for-42 during the streak.

Luke Sommer pitched two scoreless innings for his first Triple-A victory before Jeff Stevens picked up his 10th save despite a shaky ninth inning.

In other action, Daytona was officially eliminated from the Florida State League playoff race after dropping a 3-2 decision at Lakeland. Luis Castillo bunted home Francisco Martinez in the 10th inning with the run that knocked the Cubs out of post-season contention. Brooks Raley started and allowed a run over 5 23 innings. Daytona managed only four hits, one of which was a Junior Lake two-out, two-run homer in the ninth that knotted the score at 2-2. Peoria lost 4-2 at Kane County. Brett Wallach allowed three runs in four innings to fall to 0-4 in seven starts as a Cub. Carolina edged Tennessee, 5-4, in 10 innings. Steve Clevenger had three doubles for the Smokies while Tony Thomas had a double, a triple and two RBIs. Esmailin Caridad took the loss. Trey McNutt started and allowed three runs in six innings. ... Eduardo Figueroa allowed an unearned run over five innings, picking up the victory as Boise defeated Yakima, 4-3.

Matt Szczur
Chicago prospect Matt Szczur, who left Peoria last month to return to Villanova to play football, made his season debut Friday night in a 31-24 loss to Temple. Szczur caught five passes for 17 yards, had five carries for 18 yards, completed his only pass attempt for 26 yards, returned a punt for one yard and returned seven kickoffs for 170 yards.
WHITE SOXWinston-Salem A
Terry Doyle had his final tune-up for the Carolina League playoffs on Friday and though he was a little shaky demonstrated that hes ready for the post-season in Winston-Salems 6-4 victory over Lynchburg at BB&T Ballpark.

Doyle 8-8 earned his third consecutive victory after scattering eight hits over five innings. He allowed four runs and surrendered a pair of homers in the process but still reached the .500 mark for the first time since July 20. Taylor Thompson and Brandon Kloess allowed two hits over the final four innings with the latter picking up his first save.

Andrew Garcia had two hits, including a homer, and three RBIs. Nick Ciolli extended his Carolina League hitting streak to six games while the Dash pushed their winning streak to eight.
In other action, Kannapolis began its last series of the season by dropping a 5-2 decision to Lakewood at FirstEnergy Park. The Intimidators managed only three hits. John Spatola had one of them and drove in two. Charlotte was bested at Norfolk, 4-2. Brandon Hynick allowed three runs over six innings and fell to 1-4. The Knights were without Brent Morel, who was promoted to Chicago earlier in the day. Mississippi bested Birmingham, 6-1. Chris Marrero was 1-for-3 with an RBI. ... Host Helena scored ninth-inning run and edged playoff-bound Great Falls, 5-4. Mike Earley had two hits and two RBIs for the Voyagers.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

High School Lites Week 9 football roundup

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High School Lites Week 9 football roundup

High School Lites featured plenty of great action on Friday night as NBC Sports Chicago had highlights of many of the area's top matchups. Some playoff dreams came to fruition while others crashed and burned. 

Watch tomorrow as the IHSA playoff brackets are revealed tomorrow on NBC Sports Chicago+ at 8 p.m. Be sure to also follow us on Twitter @NBCSPreps for all of the latest IHSA football scores and highlights. 

DRIVE: Prairie Ridge: Episode 10

Wintrust Athlete of the Week: Back of the Yards QB Jeremiah Harris

St. Xavier Team of the Week: De La Salle Meteors

Friday's Top 25 Games

No. 1 Lincoln-Way East 18, No. 19 Bolingbrook 14 

No. 2 Prairie Ridge 55, Dundee-Crown 14

No. 3 Maine South 56, Niles West 9

No. 4 Marist 42, Joliet Catholic 14

No. 5 Lake Zurich , Mundelein

No. 6 Phillips 53, Clark 0

No. 9 Homewood-Flossmoor 50, Sandburg 14

No. 10 Barrington 40, Conant 19

No. 11 Huntley 45, McHenry 7

No. 12 Naperville Central 35, Lake Park 21

No. 13 Hinsdale Central 42, Hinsdale South 14

No. 24 St. Charles North 35, No. 14 Batavia 28

No. 16 Wheaton North 20, Waubonsie Valley 10

No. 17 Crete-Monee 52, Cahokia 8

No. 18 St. Rita 47, Marmion 14

No. 20 Lyons 31, Oak Park-River Forest 14

No. 21 Nazareth 48, Marian Catholic 7

No. 22 Oswego 30, Plainfield Central 0

Mount Carmel 35, No. 23 Providence 34

Other Highlights

Tinley Park 29, Evergreen Park 0

T.F. South 21, Oak Forest 14

Glenbard North 24, Neuqua Valley 14

St. Edward 29, Wheaton Academy 28

Marian Central Catholic 44, St. Patrick 21

Saturday's Top 25 Games

No. 7 Loyola vs. Brother Rice

No. 8 Glenbard West vs. Proviso West

Cubs will be open for business as Theo Epstein weighs trading hitters for pitching

Cubs will be open for business as Theo Epstein weighs trading hitters for pitching

Theo Epstein answered questions from the Chicago media for more than an hour on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field, but the most interesting part might have been what the Cubs president didn’t say, something along the lines of: These are our guys.

Or at least Epstein didn’t give the same full-throated endorsement of The Core that he delivered after engineering the Jose Quintana trade with the White Sox this summer, getting an All-Star pitcher without giving up anyone from the big-league roster.

Whether it’s the way the Los Angeles Dodgers dominated the Cubs throughout the National League Championship Series that ended Thursday night, the inconsistencies and frustrations during a 43-45 first half of this season or the reality of losing 40 percent of the rotation, you walked out of that stadium club press conference thinking big changes could be coming.

“We’re going to pursue all avenues to get better,” Epstein said.

The Cubs already understood this would be a challenging time to dramatically reshape their pitching staff, with Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta, Big Boy John Lackey and All-Star closer Wade Davis about to become free agents.

The Cubs don’t really have many (any?) high-end, headliner prospects left to trade after borrowing heavily from their farm system to acquire Aroldis Chapman for last year’s World Series run and get Quintana to help solidify the rotation through 2020.

All of Major League Baseball is looking beyond this winter and preparing for the monster free-agent class that will hit the open market after the 2018 season.

Meaning it’s time for the Cubs to make some difficult decisions about all these young hitters they’ve collected.

“It may or may not be,” Epstein said. “Those choices, they’re not unilateral things. You can’t sit there and decide: ‘Hey, this guy, we’re moving him.’ Because you don’t know what the return might be. You don’t know how the different moving parts might fit together.

“I think going into the offseason prepared to make some tough choices and execute on them — and keeping an open mind to anything — is appropriate under the circumstances where we have some obvious deficits and we have some real surplus with talented players who are really desirable.”

Let’s assume All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo, MVP third baseman Kris Bryant and catcher Willson Contreras are essentially untouchable.

The Cubs used the ninth overall pick in the 2015 draft on Ian Happ with the explicit idea that the college hitter should be on a fast track and could be flipped for pitching later: Is it time to sell high after the rookie just put up 24 homers and an .842 OPS?

During an exit meeting with Albert Almora Jr., Epstein said he couldn’t promise an everyday job in 2018, though the expectation would be more responsibilities: Think anyone else would be interested in a potential Gold Glove center fielder who’s already playoff-tested?

Do you want Addison Russell or Javier Baez as your everyday shortstop for the next four years? Is there an American League team willing to bet big that Kyle Schwarber will crush 40 homers a year as a designated hitter?

The Cubs have to ask themselves those types of questions, which could mean getting outside of their comfort zone and taking on some riskier pitching investments and sapping the strength that has turned them into the dominant force in the NL Central.

“We’ve really benefitted from having two or three extra — and ‘extra’ in quotes because they’re not really extra — starting-caliber players on the roster,” Epstein said. “That helped us win 97 games in ’15, 103 last year, 92 this year. That’s as big a part of the club as anything.

“Having an Addison Russell go down and being able to move Javy Baez to shortstop — that’s an obvious example of it. But those things show up every week for us. There’s a day where someone can’t make the lineup and someone else slides in and you’re still starting eight quality guys. That’s huge.

“Sooner or later, you reach a point where you have to strongly consider sacrificing some of that depth to address needs elsewhere on the club. There’s no sort of deadline to do that. But I think we’re entering the phase where we have to be really open-minded to that if it makes the overall outlook of the team and organization better.”

Translation: The Cubs are open for business. Make your best offer.