I know this is going to sound strange but they’re only nine games left in the first half for Myrtle Beach and South Bend. Tennessee has 12 games left while Iowa plays a full season to determine if it gets in the playoffs. The strangest thing about the first half ending Class-A is it happens on a Thursday and then the second half starts Friday the 24th.Tennessee ends it half on a Sunday and begins the second half on Tuesday th e28th.

Here is where all Myrtle Beach, South Bend, and Tennessee stand heading into the homestretch of the first half:

Tennessee is two games back of Rocket City in the Southern League North after going 3-3 this week. The Smokies somehow have cobbled together a starting rotation this last month with Riley Thompson and Ryan Jensen on the development list. Unfortunately, Max Bain went on the IL on Thursday (not arm related). What’s made all the difference for Tennessee has been the offense which puts up runs in a hurry. They are never out of any game and can come back from six or seven runs down and they don’t even blink to do it. The Smokies go on the road to the first place team in the South Division at Pensacola this week and then finish out the first half at home against Chattanooga. This should be a fun sprint to the finish.

South Bend is eight games back of Cedar Rapids with 9 games left after going 2-4 against the Kernels this week. It does not look good for the Cubs. Still, they play two of the poorer teams in Quad Cities and Peoria the next couple of weeks while Cedar Rapids plays an excellent Dayton team. However, if you consider that Cedar Rapids has rarely lost all season and are at home the next 9 games, the odds are extremely slim. But there’s a chance. You are in it until you are out of it.

The Pelicans have had to do a lot of adjusting with promotions of several key players to South Bend. However, Myrtle Beach still has a lot of players that played big roles in jumping out to a 36-15 record. When you have a good team, players get promoted and you have to deal with it. Right now, the Pelicans are tied with Charleston at 40-17 after going 4-2 on the week. The Birds play Fredericksburg and Kannapolis (both about .500) the next 9 games, while Charleston plays Columbia, who is not good, and Augusta, who is not bad. We’ll see what happens.

Iowa, meanwhile, is in a season-long marathon and they are 11 games already and falling fast. This past week saw them go 1-5. They are using smoke and mirrors to find rotation arms as the big league club has raided half their staff. More will be leaving soon as injuries seem to be piling up in Wrigley.

Tuesday Transactions Preview

Don’t be surprised to see Yovanny Cruz get called up to a full season affiliate for the first time this week as he saw action in two games in Mesa last week. We should also see Jeremiah Estrada turn into a Smokie. My fingers are crossed. Reliever Gabriel Jaramillo also posted pictures on his Instagram of him being in South Bend. Whether he’s ready or not is a different story, we will find out tomorrow.

Poll of the Week

Card of the Week

Made from a pic by the Chicago Cubs

Team of the Week

This is getting to be a regular thing but the pitching was starting to carry the team for a while. Between Porter Hodge, Luis Devers, Luke Little, and an amazing bullpen, the team put together 4 wins this week when they didn’t score a lot of runs. And then on Sunday, they burst out for 15 runs thanks in part to Kevin Alcantara and his eight RBI.

Reliever of the Week

This was pretty close. I’m going to give it to Jeremiah Estrada who pitched three innings this week and struck out six. The runner-up was Adam Laskey who had two saves and five strikeouts three innings.

Starting Pitcher of the Week

Luis Devers high pitched extremely well on Saturday as he struck out six in five innings and did not allow a run. He is almost looking to go back-to-back for Pitcher of the Month. I don’t think we’ve seen that happen for quite a while.

Hitter of the Week

This, too, was a close one as a Darius Hill had himself a week hitting close to .500. Alexander Canario and Jake Slaughter had very similar stats. But it all came down to Sunday when Kevin Alcantara leapfrogged everybody. He’s been feeling it for a little bit but he had himself a week in one day. However if you hit .417 with three home runs and 11 RBI, that will get you the award. He also had an OPS of 1.439.