Being a fan a Cubs fan the last five years has not been easy. That’s why the past two weeks have been very gratifying! The Cubs’ have reeled off wins in 12 out of their last 13 games. Currently, they have won eight in a row. Yesterday’s exciting 6 to 5 victory over the White Sox saw impressive performances by Chris Coghlan, Anthony Rizzo, Justin Grimm, Clayton Richard, and Hector Rondon. Today, I hope that Jake Arrieta has another impressive performance. For me, that’s what I have seen day after day in this streak, impressive performances. From the pitching to the hitting, all 25 players have contributed in one way or another.
The major league team is not the only team in the organization that put up some impressive performances this week. In the minor leagues, I got to see some impressive performances in person, some I saw on MiLB.TV, and some I just read about the next day.
Albert Almora has been a different player since his return from the Pan-Am games. In his last ten games, he is hitting .500!!! Jeimer Candelario is hitting around .300 after a month in Tennessee, that’s pretty impressive for a 21 year old. In fact, the Tennessee bats seemed to have awakened the past two weeks. Billy McKinney (up to .285) is one of several Smokies who have broken out of a slump.
Paul Blackburn, Johnathan Martinez, Brad Markey, and Jeremy Null continue to put zeroes on the board when they start. Last night, Null went five scoreless. Earlier this week Martinez went five scoreless, Blackburn went six scoreless, while Markey allowed one run in six. That’s some pretty good pitching! In addition, Jason Vosler has been impressive with the bat. Since his promotion from South Bend, the left handed hitter has cranked 5 HRs in 20 games for the Pelicans!
Since I went and saw the Cubs play two games in Beloit this week, and then watched last night’s game on MiLB.TV, the list will be a little bit longer. First, the pitching by James Norwood, who went last night, was just outstanding. Norwood went six strong, gave up 2 unearned runs and struck out seven. Trevor Clifton’s start was profiled on Thursday, and Tommy Thorpe’s start on Thursday was impressive as well. Thorpe went 5 and 2/3 innings, gave up a run, and struck out 5. He has been very impressive since his move to the starting rotation. The South Bend Cubs have now crept above .500 at 24-23 in the second half and have three weeks to earn a playoff spot.
In addition to those pitchers, I came away impressed by the performances of these South Bend hitters this week. David Bote has always had a good glove. I saw it last year at Kane County and I see it again this year at South Bend. At the plate, he has struggled some. Lately, he seems to be putting it together. In his last ten games Bote hit .389 with 8 RBIs. His average has gone from .227 to .251 in that period!
Two new players, who I also profiled on Wednesday’s post, Matt Rose and Ian Happ, both homered this week (Happ twice). Rose hasn’t gotten a lot of press but I really like his swing and the fact that he plays first and third base. Rose is currently hitting .300 in his first five games at South Bend.
Here is Happ’s monster shot from last night! He hit it completely out of the stadium!
The pitching continues to impress. Carson Sands has only allowed one run in his last two starts. Kyle Twomey, although on a pitch count and innings limit, has been equally impressive as Sands. But for my money, Preston Morrison looks like he could be a steal from this year’s draft. The Cubs’ eighth round pick has allowed only one run in five short appearances for an ERA of 0.82!!! I look forward to see what he can do next year in full season with no restrictions.
Eloy Jimenez returned from the missing in action list and hit like he never missed a game. His 6 for 18 in his return. Andrew Ely has been very impressive in his time at Eugene hitting .317 in 17 games.
In other news, MLB Pipeline released its updated farm system ranking this week. The Cubs have fallen from the top spot after graduating Bryant, Russell, Soler, and Schwarber to Chicago. However, the depth of the Cubs system gave them a number four ranking. That’s pretty impressive! You can read the article here.
It has been a lot of fun to cover the teams in the organization this summer, interview radio announcers Nathan Barnett in Myrtle Beach and Darrin Pritchett of South Bend, make some connections with really cool people (parents and players), and to continue to make the baseball cards. As well it has been a lot of fun to bring Clark (@ClarkInChicago) aboard the site as a contributor. It has been fun to watch this site’s readership expand and its coverage grow! Thank you for reading!
Coming down the stretch, it should also be very exciting to watch the big league club try to earn a playoff spot! And it will be just as exciting to watch Myrtle Beach in the playoffs and to see if Iowa, Tennessee, South Bend, Eugene, and Arizona can try and join them.
However, this is my last weekend of summer vacation before I start back to teaching on Monday. I will continue to write and post as best as I can the last 3 weeks in the minor league season and the next 6 weeks in the major league season. It might just be on the weekends or shorter posts during the week as it usually is during school year. I will be there watching every day with you and writing when I can! Go Cubs!