Cubs

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.

Why Cubs might not lose again and other musings in strange, short season

Why Cubs might not lose again and other musings in strange, short season

As if things weren’t already going well enough for the Cubs during this strange, short season of baseball in a pandemic, now the baseball gods are dropping gifts into their laps.

The Cardinals’ lengthy shutdown because of a coronavirus outbreak has the Cubs’ arch rivals restarting their season Saturday in Chicago with a patched-up roster and eight games over the next five days, including five games against the Cubs.

And although that means the relative hardship of two doubleheaders for the Cubs in three days, all five of those games Monday through Wednesday are against a decimated Cards roster that won’t have the front end of its rotation for any of the games.

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They catch the Cardinals at their weakest point of the early season a week after catching an otherwise formidable Cleveland team at a moment of clubhouse crisis involving protocol perps Zach Plesac and Mike Clevinger.

That one resulted in a two-game sweep by a combined score of 14-3.

This one already has resulted in all 10 games against the Cardinals now being scheduled for Wrigley Field.

Combine that with the three road games against the White Sox next month, and it means that the team with baseball’s best record on the field, the perfect record in player COVID-19 testing and no significant injuries to key players so far will play 60 percent of its games within its Chicago bubble if the Cubs and MLB pull off the full 60-game season.

If the Cubs were positioned any better to make the playoffs, they’d already be there.

“You can look at it that way if you want,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “We’re just doing our thing.”

No other way to look at it from here. Have you seen the rest of the schedule?

The Cubs have 43 games left, including 29 within a National League Central Division that doesn’t include another .500 team three weeks into a nine-week season. Nine more games are against the Tigers and White Sox.

The best team on the schedule is the Twins, and all three of those games are at home and not until the second-to-last weekend of the season.

With all due respect to Ross and his fear of “bad juju,” the Cubs can’t lose.

“It’s still early on,” the manager said.

Nothing’s early in a 60-game season. And the Cubs already have matched the hot starts of their 2016 and 1908 World Series champions.

“We’ve still got a long ways to go in the season,” Ross said.

The Cubs did have to scratch Tyler Chatwood from his scheduled start Friday night because of back tightness. And Kris Bryant has missed the last two games because of a sore finger after rolling his wrist trying to make a diving catch in left field in Cleveland Wednesday.

But Alec Mills looked good in short-notice replacement duty Friday until a rough four-pitch (and three-run) sequence in the sixth. And Chatwood might be ready for one of Monday’s games — or possibly one of Wednesday’s.

“Things falling in our favor?” Ross said. “We’re playing good baseball, and that should be the focus for me and not the other stuff.”

Granted, they still have to play the games. Granted, Bryant wasn’t available off the bench with the bases loaded in the eighth Friday, and Josh Phegley struck out instead.

And, yes, they actually lost a game to the Brewers Friday night.

But if you still don’t believe the baseball gods are stirring the Cubs’ pot so far this season, you weren’t paying attention in the ninth inning when Craig Kimbrel struck out Avisail Garcia swinging at a 98-mph fastball to start the scoreless inning and Manny Piña swinging at a 96-mph fastball to end it.

What closer problem? Bring on the Cardinals, right?

These guys might not lose another game.

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Cubs' Colin Rea to start on Saturday, Tyler Chatwood possibly Monday

Cubs' Colin Rea to start on Saturday, Tyler Chatwood possibly Monday

The Cubs plan to start swingman Colin Rea on Saturday against the Brewers, manager David Ross said after Friday's game.

Alec Mills was originally slated to pitch Saturday but was bumped up to Friday because Tyler Chatwood was scratched with mid-back tightness. The Cubs will evaluate Chatwood to see if he's an option to pitch on Monday, when they're scheduled to play a doubleheader against the Cardinals.

Rea, 30, has made two appearances this season, allowing no runs and one hit while striking out three in three innings. He was named the 2019 Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year, sporting a 3.95 ERA in 26 starts.

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Rea's last big league start was July 30, 2016 with the Marlins. He allowed one hit in 3 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out four with no walks.

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