By Todd Johnson
It was a rough night in the Cubs’ system as the minor league season began. Only the Iowa Cubs came away with a victory. Errors and defensive miscues plagued Tennessee, Myrtle Beach, and South Bend while all four failed to push across runs in key situations.
Loss to Oklahoma City 2-1; Win vs Oklahoma City 3-2
Jen-Ho Tseng pitched well, but one mistake resulted in a home run for the AAA Dodgers’ affiliate in the openener. In the nightcap, David Bote’s solo home run looked like it would hold up as the game winning RBI until Anthony Bass struggled to find the zone and gave up two runs. The Cubs gained a split of the opening day double-header thanks to the new extra inning rule. Pitcher Duane Underwood got some base running in and scored the game winner on a single by Efren Navarro.
Loss to Mississippi 3-0
Trevor Clifton looked very good through five innings and 67 pitches. In the 7th, the wheels fell off and he wound up being charged with three runs. Still, there was a lot to like about his start as he was very efficient for five innings. The Smokies struggled to put the bat on the ball with men in scoring position, a common theme from last night. The Smokies actually out hit the Braves 5-4 but were shutout. Jake Stinnett looked very good in relief despite giving up a hit that lead to two runs, both charged to Clifton. He struck out 2 in 1.2 IP.
Loss to Frederick 6-2
Initially, the Pelicans made three errors in the first inning leading to three runs by Frederick. Two of them were later changed to hits but the Keys scored three runs off Pelicans’ starter Keegan Thompson in the first and three runs later. The birds also had trouble hitting. PJ Higgins went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI in the 6-2 loss. Andruw Monasterio also did well going 2 for 3.
Loss to West Michigan 6-2
After taking a 1-0 lead in the first, South Bend struggled to keep up with the Whitecaps. Tyler Thomas (formerly Ricky Tyler Thomas) gave up 2 unearned runs and an earned run. Bailey Clark came on in relief later and struggled mightily in his first inning with 2 WPs and 3 runs, 1 of them earned. Outfielder Brandon Hughes was the only offensive highlight of the night. He went 2 for 2 with 2 walks, a stolen base, and he also scored a run.
It is rare for me to do a nightly recap. However, on most nights, I usually just focus in on one or two games or key performances. Everyday, though, I do pick the best performances of the day. Opening Day is no exception.
Hopefully, day two brings some better results in the Cubs’ system. Iowa is off due to inclement weather. Meanwhile, in the rest of the system, Duncan Robinson will be on the hill for the Smokies, Jose Paulino gets the nod for the Pelicans, and Javier Assad goes for South Bend.
Come back on Sunday for “The Weekly” as I recap the beginning weekend of MiLB baseball and select the Players of the Week along with the Baseball Card of the Week and the Team of the Week.