Jacob Wetzel – Picture by Stephanie Lynn
Of course, when I take my wife to get her nails done, things start happening. Today’s trade was a strict minor leaguer for minor leaguer as the Cubs sent Dixon Machado to San Francisco for reliever Raynel Espinal. Machado was in the game/starting lineup tonight for San Francisco as they were out of shortstops.
As for Espinal, he’s going to go to Iowa and odds are after the deadline he may get a look in Chicago. If you’re looking at his ERA, and how high it is, everybody’s ERA in the Pacific Coast League is high because of the altitude where they play. His ERA could be much better in the middle of the country.
All Right, Back to the Action
Things started off well for Tennessee as they won 8-5 to split their series with Birmingham. South Bend came from behind again and beat Lake County 9-8 on a double by Kevin Made in the bottom of the ninth inning. Iowa came back from a 3-1 deficit to take a 4 to 3 lead and then gave up a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth to lose it 8-4. Oops!
At this point in the day, I threw a ham in the oven, got the cornbread all mixed up and ready to stick in later and I started thinking about who was going to be in contention for today’s players of the day. Mind you, Myrtle Beach still had to play, but they were already winning 4 to 0 at that point.
Hitter of the Day
Jake Slaughter has now put together two really good months at Double-A. There’s no doubt anymore as the changes are real. This is not some lucky streak, but the Cubs have really shortened up his swing which makes him quicker to the ball. He is athletic enough that he can repeat that time after time after time. In fact, he leads the Smokies in stolen bases in just two months with 18, twice as much as the next guy at 9.
But today, Slaughter hit his third home run of the week as he drove in three on the day while going 2-for-5.
It was going to be hard for someone from Myrtle Beach to top that. Or would it?
Little did I know that Myrtle Beach would go double digits on runs. So the choice for Hitter of the Day became much, much tougher.
Felix Stevens had a good night as he went 2-for-6 with three RBI. Kevin Alcantara went 3-for-5 with two RBI. But Jacob Wetzel is not going to get denied again today, his second award this week. He went 4-for-5 and scored four times and also drove in 2 runs. He just is one of the hottest hitters in the organization right now. And all the Cubs did for him was to open up his stance a little bit more and he is getting to balls and getting them up in the air. He’s always had a good approach and good pitch recognition skills. He’s just never really squared up the ball on a regular basis until this month.
Starting Pitcher of the Day
Javier Assad gave up three runs In five innings work for struck out six for Iowa. Ryan Jensen only gave up two runs over five while striking out five. As for Richard Gallardo‘s debut in South Bend, he was pretty much pummeled for 10 hits and 5 runs in 4.2 innings. So, it came down to whether Luis Rodriguez of Myrtle Beach could put together a good enough start to top Ryan Jensen.
In just his second start of the year, and both were this week, Luis Rodriguez dominated Augusta tonight. He went five innings, gave up one hit, but walked three, and did not allow any runs as he struck out seven. I really liked him as a long man last year in Mesa and thought he might have a chance to start this year at Myrtle Beach. Considering who was in front of him in the rotation for the first half of the year, you can’t blame the Cubs. But it’s good to see him get back as a starter where he was also dominant in the Dominican in 2018 with a 0.73 ERA. The 22-year-old lefty should be fun to watch the next seven weeks
Strange Fact of the Day
I posted this early in the morning and little did I know he would have 2 more RBI later in the day.
Reliever of the Day
Cam Sanders made his Triple-A bullpen debut today and was fantastic sitting between 97 and 99. He pitched two scoreless frames and struck out two and I was pretty excited to see him produce in his first time pitching in over a week. As well, he filled up the zone. His stuff is nasty and if he can do that, he’s going to be fun to watch in Chicago very soon.
I will be back tomorrow with two posts. The first will be the weekly “Breakdown” that will have the players of the week. The July All-Star Team will be out around noon or 1.