Starlin Castro hit his first home run in forever. He was 2-5 on the day. Alfonso Soriano hit a 2 run, game winning homer in the top of the 11th and was 3-5, pretty much begging AL clubs in need of a DH to take a look at him. Ryan Sweeney was 0-1 and was taken out for Julio Borbon after breaking his rib. He'll be out 4-6 weeks. Cubes.
Jeff Samardzija was very solid, allowing 2 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks in 7 strong innings, striking out 5. James Russell got out of the 8th without allowing a run despite giving up 3 hits. Kevin Gregg blew the save, and has been a lot more Kevin Greggy of late, giving up a run in his last three appearances and increasing his ERA by a full run over that span. Carlos Villanueva worked a clean tenth, striking out 1, and Blake Parker did the same in the 11th to get the save, earning the lofty "He showed me something out there today" from manager and would-be distant father-figure Dale Sveum.
Logan Watkins had the game of the day, going 2-5 with a homer, and has been on a decent little run lately, OPSing .850 with 3 homers over his last ten games. Darnell McDonald was right behind him, going 2-5 as well with a triple and a double. Junior Lake was 2-5 with a double, and had a rough day on the basepaths, getting picked off and caught stealing. Jae-Hoon Ha was 1-4 with a walk and a SB. Donnie Murphy was 1-4 with a triple. Ty Wright was 2-4 with a double. J.C. Boscan was 2-4. Today in "This is Why Your Team Is Mediocre": Of players currently on the roster with more than 20 games played in Iowa, only 3 of them have an OPS over .800, and nobody has an OPS over .850. And this is in a hitter's league.
Nick Struck tossed 6 innings of 8 hit ball, giving up 3 runs on three walks and a strikeout. Casey Coleman gave up 2 runs on 5 hits and a walk in 1.1 innings. Brian Schlitter worked the last 1.2, giving up a hit and striking out 2. He now has 14 strikeouts, 3 walks, 3 runs allowed, and a 9.67 GO/AO in 15.1 AAA innings, and I'm wondering what it could hurt to give him a shot in the big club bullpen. He's 27 and will probably suck, but how much worse than everybody else can he be, and what can it hurt at this point? I'd be content to bench the regulars after the trade deadline, let the I-Cubs play the major league games, and actively try not to win a game in August or September, really make a run at Rodon next year.
The Smokies really ate up the Biscuits in this one. Rubi Silva had the game of the day, going 3-5 with a double and a homer. Arismendy Alcantara was 2-6 with two doubles. Ronald Torreyes was 2-5 with a walk. John Andreoli had a 3-5 day with a double in his Smokies debut. Jonathan Mota was 3-4. Christian Villanueva was 0-4 and is slumping badly again, with a .233/.227/.442/.669 line in his last 10 and a .312 OBP on the season. If there's a reason for the cognitive dissonance dmick was discussing yesterday between the current state of the organization and the desire to be a fringe contender next year, it's because of guys like Villanueva, who the organization really needed big, breakout years from and who just can't seem to put any sustained success together. A lot of guys on this Smokies roster were going to have to put it together this season to make contending a realistic possibility in 2014, and other than Alcantara, nobody's even come close to doing so. Tim Torres leads the roster in OPS and he's thirty.
Erik Jokisch was dominant, allowing only 3 hits in 6.1 scoreless innings. He did walk 4, but struck out 7. Yeiper Castillo allowed a hit and a walk and struck out 4 in 1.2 innings. And Tony Zych closed it out with a clean 9th, striking out 1.
Pretty mediocre day for D-Cubs bats today. Only Chadd Krist and Wes Darvill went without hits, both going 0-4, but nobody had more than 1, and only Ben Carhart had an XBH (1-4, 2B). Zeke DeVoss and Taiwan Easterling were the only D-Cubs to get on base twice, DeVoss going 1-3 with a BB and a SB, and Easterling going 1-3 with a HBP. Javier Baez was 1-4 with a K and a SB, and made his 31st error. He's rapidly approaching half an error a game. Yikes.
Pierce Johnson was okay in his 2nd FSL start. He worked 5 innings, gave up 5 hits, 4 walks, and three runs, striking out 3. Jeffrey Lorick threw 2.2 scoreless, allowing a hit and 2 walks, striking out 3. Luis Liria finished it off with a perfect 1.1, striking out 2.
Dan Vogelbach hit his first homer in awhile in a 2-5 day with a walk. Albert Almora was 0-5, and the only Cougar not to get on base. Reggie Golden had a 3-4 day with a double. Gioskar Amaya was 3-5 with 3-5 with a 2B, and after being ice cold seemingly all year, is finally showing some life, with a .308/.357/.513 line over his last ten. Jeimer Candelario had a 2-6 day with a double. Kevin Encarnacion had a 2-4, 1 BB day in his Kane County debut.
Felix Pena tossed 6 innings of 4 hit, 4 run ball with 2 walks, striking out 2. Dillon Maples continues to have trouble finding the zone, walking 4 in 3 innings, allowing 2 runs while striking out 1. Nathan Dorris got slapped around to blow the save and lose the game, allowing 4 runs (3 earned) in 1.2 innings, allowing 5 hits and 2 walks, punching out 1.
Shawon Dunston had a 2-3 day with a double, and is destroying the NWL in the early going, hitting .362/.434/.511. I would think, given the way Encarnacion was moved out of Boise fairly quickly, that Dunston will see Kane County as soon as Almora gets moved up. Yasiel Balaguert was 2-5 with a homer.
2013 Draftee Trey Masek worked a scoreless inning, giving up a hit. That's about all the notable excitement from this one.
Roney Alcala was 2-4 with a homer.