Cubs

Tennessee Puts On Another Hit Parade

Tennessee Puts On Another Hit Parade

Wednesday April 13, 2011
Posted: 11:10 p.m.
CUBSTennessee A
The Smokies used another big night at the plate, this time to offset a weak effort on the mound, to pound out 16 hits and out-slug visiting Montgomery, 12-10.

Brett Jackson three runs scored and an RBI, Marwin Gonzalez a homer and three RBIs and Matt Spencer a run scored and an RBI each had three hits. Blake Lalli, who had two hits and three runs scored, also had a homer and three RBIs. Tennessee continues to lead the Southern League in hitting, batting .360 through six as a group following Wednesday nights affair. Mobile was second at .302.

The Smokies needed another big offensive night. Starter Chris Rusin allowed six runs on nine hits in four innings while Marco Carillo gave up three runs on two hits and a pair of walks in his inning of work. Blake parker allowed a run in his two innings but earned his first victory of the season.
Daytona A
Clearwater knocked the Cubs from the ranks of the unbeaten Wednesday night, earning a 2-1 victory at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Joe Saverys RBI single in the eighth inning was the difference .

Nick Struck started for Daytona and had his second consecutive strong outing. He allowed a run on six hits in 5 23 innings. He fanned three and has a 1.63 ERA through two outings. Jordan Latham was tagged for the loss, allowing Saverys hit and three others in 1 23 innings.

Mike Brenly had a pair of hits for the Cubs while Logan Watkins drove in their run.
Peoria A
Austin Kirk did not enjoy the same success Wednesday night at Burlington that he did in his season-opening effort last week at OBrien Field. The Bees roughed up the former third-round pick, ran up his pitch count and chased him en route to an 8-7 victory.

Kirk 0-1, who allowed five first-inning runs three earned, gave up two homers and walked a pair before departing following a three-inning stint.

The Cubs eventually battled back, scoring in the top of the ninth to close to within 8-7. But it wasnt enough as a fine effort from Smaily Borges four hits, three runs scored went for naught. Fellow Cuban Rubio Silva had two hits and two RBIs, extending his hitting streak to a season-long seven games. Richard Jones missed his third straight game after being hit by a pitch in the right ankle on Sunday afternoon. The Chiefs allowed two stolen bases and they have not thrown out a base stealer in 12 attempts this season. Peoria has turned eight double plays in its last three games and lead the MWL with 11 turned.
Iowa AAA
The I-Cubs lost their third straight contest and for the fourth time in five games Wednesday night, this time dropping a 10-7 decision in Albuquerque.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx 0-1 got hit hard, allowing nine runs on nine hits three homers in four innings.
WHITE SOXKannapolis A
The Intimidators ran their winning streak to five games Wednesday night, downing Delmarva, 8-3, behind a strong effort from starter Ryan Buch.

Buch 1-1 fanned a career-high eight over six innings, during which he allowed two runs one earned. Addison Reed tossed two scoreless innings before Phil Negus closed things out.

Dan Black had a homer and two RBIs to pace the Intimidators. It was the first homer and RBIs of the season for the 2009 14th-round pick who has struggled thus far. He had three hits overall as did Brady Shoemaker.
Charlotte AAA
Jake Peavy made a rehab start for Charlotte Wednesday night and took the loss after an up and down outing in which Durham emerged with a 5-2 victory at Knights Field.

Peavy went six innings and allowed only two runs. But he scattered eight hits. Former Cub Brandon Guyer and Jose Lobaton each had three hits off Peavy while Russ Canzler launched a monstrous homer off the center-field scoreboard in the fifth inning to give the Bulls a 2-1 lead. Lucas Harrell then allowed three runs in three innings.

Jordan Danks had three hits and an RBI while Jim Gallagher had two hits, including a homer, and an RBI.
Winston-Salem A
The Dash split a doubleheader, taking the opener, 3-2, in 10 innings before dropping the nightcap, 3-2.

A trio of relievers tossed six shutout innings in the opener after starter Joe Serafin allowed two runs on two hits in four innings. One of the hits he allowed was a homer and he walked three. Orlando Santos struck out three over three shutout innings to pick up the victory before Taylor Thompson earned the save.

Daniel Wagners RBI single in the 10th proved to be the difference. Ian Gacs two-run homer in the sixth set the stage for Wagners 10th-inning heroics.

Terry Doyle 0-1 pitched a complete game in the nightcap, scattering eight hits and striking out two. The Dash managed just four hits in his support.
Birmingham AA
Dylan Axelrod tossed shutout ball in his first outing of the season but had no such effectiveness on Wednesday as Birmingham dropped a 6-2 decision to visiting Chattanooga.

Axelrod allowed four runs on eight hits in five innings before Kyle Cofield gave up two runs in 1 13 innings. Brandon Short had a double and an RBI.

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

Which player on the 2019 Cubs has the best redemption story so far?

Which player on the 2019 Cubs has the best redemption story so far?

The Cubs woke up Thursday morning 11 games over .500, 2 games up on the Brewers in the division and sporting the best run differential (+63) in the National League.

But they wouldn't be in that position without some strong comeback seasons from a host of players. 

In the series finale of Game of Thrones this week, Tyrion Lannister made an impassioned speech about how stories bind people and "there's nothing more powerful than a good story."

We already know who had the best redemption arc in Game of Thrones (*cough* Theon Greyjoy *cough*), but who has the best comeback on the 2019 Cubs roster?

There are plenty of worthy candidates — all of whom have been on display in this week's series with the Phillies at Wrigley Field.

Tyler Chatwood

The impetus behind this idea, Chatwood has a very strong case as the Cubs' Comeback Player of the Year. 

After leading Major League Baseball in walks allowed and finding his way out of the rotation by Aug. 1 last season, Chatwood has bounced back in a huge way in 2019. He posted another clutch performance out of the bullpen Wednesday night, throwing 4 innings in relief and allowing only 1 run on a solo shot by Andrew McCutchen.

Chatwood picked up the win in the process and is now 3-0 with a 2.86 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in 28.1 innings. He's been even better of late, posting a 1.82 ERA in 24.2 innings since April 7.

"If he's throwing strikes, he can do anything, absolutely," Joe Maddon said. "But he's been valuable with the length, like he showed today. We needed to have a length guy today. He came through. 

"As we rectify [the bullpen] maybe you get other people that can provide those jobs, maybe you can spot him up a little bit. It's all about him, man. If he wants to go out there and do that, you can put him in anywhere, anytime."

Chatwood has been clutch for the Cubs in so many different roles, including tossing 6 shutout innings in a spot start on April 21, 4 shutout frames in extra innings against the Brewers on May 11 and then Wednesday night's performance to help pick up some of the slack after starter Cole Hamels was forced out of the game by the fifth inning.

"It was awesome," Hamels said. " ... You have him and he's got electric stuff and he's been able to come in after me a few times and just absolutely dominate. That's just great to see. To have that type of caliber guy coming out of the bullpen, it's a big sigh of relief because he can go multiple innings. 

"It definitely alleviates the amount of innings that the relievers are getting and the up-downs because myself not being able to go deep into 2 ballgames within a week is not helpful. So to see what Tyler was able to do, that was outstanding."

Kris Bryant

It took a while for the former MVP to really state his #ComebackSZN case, but he's certainly done that over the last month. 

Bryant has re-emerged as a viable candidate to take the crown as the Cubs' best player and has left no doubt that he's fully over his shoulder injury. 

After another multi-hit game Wednesday night, Bryant is now slashing .280/.404/.560 on the season (.964 OPS) and is on pace for 38 homers, 110 RBI and 138 runs scored.

Of all the guys on this list, Bryant's return to form might be the most important to the Cubs' overall success. 

It's not unheard of for teams to turn in successful seasons without their stars performing up to par or staying healthy, but it's so much easier to have a special season when your studs put up studly numbers.

Albert Almora Jr.

Almora smacked his first career grand slam Wednesday night and was rewarded with a chill-inducing curtain call by nearly 40,000 Cubs fans after the game-winning blast.

"Those are the things you dream about as a kid," Almora said. "That curtain call, all of that went by so quick. I wish I could've enjoyed it a little bit more, but it's something I'll never forget."

But what's even more impressive about the grand slam is that it was Almora's fifth homer of 2019 — the same total he had in all of 2018 when his power cratered in the second half. And we still have more than 2/3 of the season remaining.

Almora has always been a streaky hitter and he got off to a wicked cold stretch to begin this year, but he's been one of the most productive hitters in this Cubs lineup for the last month. 

He's also taken some major steps forward against right-handed pitchers, sporting a .312 average and .827 OPS in an area that was his biggest weakness coming into the season.

Willson Contreras

Speaking of last year's homer total, Contreras has already blown by his 2018 mark, drilling his 11th dinger in Washington D.C. last weekend. 

He once again looks like arguably the best offensive catcher in the game and leads the Cubs in on-base percentage (.421) and OPS (1.024) and is second in slugging percentage (.603).

Contreras is on pace for 38 homers and 103 RBI out of the catcher's spot and has helped solidify the lineup by lending protection for Javy Baez in the middle of the order.

Brandon Kintzler

The 34-year-old reliever has struggled a bit of late, but it's still safe to say Kintzler has been the MVP of the Cubs bullpen all season. 

After coming over to the Cubs in a midseason trade from the Nationals, Kintzler never found his form last year, posting a 7.00 ERA and 2.00 WHIP in 25 appearances. The Cubs declined their team option on the veteran, but he exercised his $5 million player option, much to the chagrin of a large contingent of the fanbase.

But where would the 2019 Cubs be without Kintzler? The bullpen has been a big point of contention for much of the season and the Cubs have been missing closer Brandon Morrow all season, interim closer Pedro Strop for the last few weeks and are still waiting on former top setup man Carl Edwards Jr. to get right.

Meanwhile, Kintzler has a 3.18 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 8 holds. He's walked just 4 batters in 22.2 innings and is squarely in Maddon's circle of trust.

Jose Quintana

Quintana didn't have a horrible 2018 season, but he underwhelmed pretty much from start to finish. 

So far this season, he's shown exactly why the Cubs gave up so much to acquire him in July 2017. 

The veteran southpaw is tied for the team lead in wins (4), second in innings pitched (57.1), third in strikeouts (54) and third among starters in ERA (3.30) after quietly tossing 6 shutout innings Tuesday night.

Quintana has also given the Cubs some much-needed consistency in the rotation in a season in which Jon Lester has already spent time on the injured list, Kyle Hendricks got off to a shaky start, Hamels has scuffled a bit lately and Yu Darvish is just now starting to turn a corner. 

Over his last 8 starts, Quintana has turned in 6 quality starts and he's allowed more than 3 runs in just one outing so far.

So who has the best redemption arc on the 2019 Cubs?

Maybe it's none of the above. 

One fan brought up a great point — maybe it's Theo Epstein who should get some credit for sticking with the guys the Cubs already had:

Of course, Epstein's hand was pretty much forced this winter due to the budget constraints and guys like Kintzler and Chatwood were both under contract for a pretty hefty guaranteed price tag with essentially no trade value...but you get the point. 

The Cubs could've blown this thing up as an overreaction to the way 2018 ended and they didn't and now they're in first place with the season nearly 1/3 of the way completed. 

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Expect the unexpected: A triple play, a Charlie Tilson grand slam and a White Sox win over the Astros

Expect the unexpected: A triple play, a Charlie Tilson grand slam and a White Sox win over the Astros

Expect the unexpected.

After the way the first two nights went for the White Sox during their four-game stay in Houston, the expectations weren't high going up against Gerrit Cole. Cole entered the game as baseball's strikeout leader, with 93 of them in his first 60.2 innings this season. After White Sox hitters struck out a combined 27 times in the games started by Brad Peacock and Justin Verlander, it figured to be more of the same.

But that's not how baseball works.

The White Sox got solo homers from Eloy Jimenez and Jose Abreu for an early lead on Cole, but it was what they did in the field that got the baseball world buzzing. They turned the first triple play of the 2019 season in slick fashion. It was the White Sox first triple play since the 2016 season, when they turned three of them.

Normally, a triple play would be hands down the highlight of the night. But after the Astros pushed three runs across against Ivan Nova in the bottom of the fourth inning, the White Sox staged a stunning comeback against the typically dominant Cole.

They started the sixth with four straight hits, with Yona Moncada's single tying the game and James McCann, with another successful moment in the cleanup spot, doubling in the go-ahead run. Four batters and two outs later, Charlie Tilson, not exactly known for his power, smacked a grand slam, his first career homer, to bust things open.

Tilson became the first White Sox hitter whose first career homer was a grand slam since Danny Richar back in 2007. It's been a very nice stretch for Tilson, who came up from Triple-A Charlotte early this month. He's slashing .304/.339/.393 in 2019, now with one home run.

So by the end of the evening, the White Sox got a triple play, a Tilson grand slam, not one but two Jimenez home runs and a win over the best team in baseball — in Houston, no less, where the White Sox last win came in September 2017. Outside of a mighty positive night from Jimenez, who has two two-homer nights in just 24 games in his career, these might be oddities with little big-picture applications for this rebuilding organization. But a fun, eventful night for the record books is surely welcome.

Mercy.

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