Tonight was about as good as it gets. All three Cub affiliates that played won and there was a lot of offense and good pitching to go around.
The day began with news from The Athletic that Nelson Velazquez had been promoted to Tennessee. I kept checking all day to see if there would be a corresponding move and there was not one as of yet.
The night started to unfold this afternoon when Myrtle Beach canceled their game due to rain. South Bend delayed their game a half an hour due to rain and started around 6:30. We were then treated to an outstanding outing from Daniel Palencia who looked really good. He went four innings and threw 61 pitches, 35 of them for strikes, and he struck out three and only gave up an unearned run. It was not enough to get him Starting Pitcher of the Day, but it was worthy of mention.
Palencia was relieved by Manny Espinoza who would go on to become the Reliever of the Day. Espinoza threw 76 pitches with 54 strikes, which is an amazing percentage (71%)! He gave up one run, struck out nine in four innings, and, surprisingly, his ERA actually went up today to 1.83 on the season. Espinoza used pinpoint control and outstanding command of his curveball and changeup to dominate the Peoria hitters.
South Bend would go on to win 4 to 2 as Fabian Pertuz went two-for-five with two RBI. They are now at .500 on the year.
Tennessee was visiting Birmingham and won behind Javier Assad who continued his remarkable season. He is today’s Starting Pitcher of the Day as he went six innings and only allowed one earned run while striking out nine. His ERA on the year now stands at 2.10. His curveball has been the key to his success this spring as he seems to be able to throw it in any count for a strike.
The Smokies scored 9 runs as Christopher Morel went 2-for-5 with two home runs and three RBI while Bryce Ball went 3-for-5 with two RBI and one home run. Neither of those two young men won today’s Hitter of the Day but Morel clearly is moving towards Iowa at a very fast pace as his average on the year is now up to .311. And Ball is probably the most improved player this year as he is now hitting .290 with a .824 OPS. That’s not too shabby!
The Iowa Cubs were in St. Paul, Minnesota today and they won their game handily 6 to 2. Matt Dermody went five innings and struck out five will giving up two runs. Reliever Brandon Hughes struck out four in two innings of relief while Ben Leeper closed it out with 2 Ks in one inning.
But the story of the day were the bats of Nelson Maldonado and Jared Young. Maldonado went 3-for-5 and is now hitting .333 in his 10 days in Triple-A. However, Young went 4-for-5 scored 3 runs, drove in 2, and hit his seventh home run of the season. That performance gets him the Hitter of the Day . His OPS on the year is now up to .824 and he is starting to draw some attention from Chicago after a short slump at the end of April.
Web Gem of the Day
Folks, Alexander Canario has a gun.
I will be back in the morning with a look at some picks the Cubs could be taking taking specifically in rounds two and three.