Kohl Franklin – Picture by Todd Johnson
Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow!
And that pretty much sums up tonight’s action.
I spent most of the day thinking about the organizational debut of one Cade Horton. I was also looking forward to the 2023 debuts of Kohl Franklin and Daniel Palencia. I had no doubt that tonight would be a special night long before it even happened. I was not wrong, and I was not disappointed.
Organizational Debut of the Day
Simply put, Cade Horton sat in the middle 90s with his fastball and occasionally flashed his world famous slider. He threw 47 pitches in 2.1 innings, 30 of which were for strikes. He struck out five and gave up two hits along the way and he did not hit anybody. Considering that his arm is still young, the Cubs are going to be very cautious with him throughout the year. I would expect him to only throw 50 to 60 pitches in April and then that gets bumped up to 70 in May. That seems pretty reasonable to stretch him out slowly. If he’s going to be like this every night, it’s going to be a very, very fun spring for Myrtle Beach fans.
Starting Pitcher of the Day
Yeah, this one goes to Kohl and Kohl alone. He gave up just one hit and allowed two walks, but did not allow a run in four innings of work against the Beloit Sky Carp. Along the way, he looked pretty unhittable as he struck out seven on the night, five of which were in the first two frames. The fact that he went four innings is very positive, and he only threw 65 pitches, 45 of which were strikes. He didn’t really seem to have too many control problems until later in the start, but he looked like the Kohl Franklin we saw in Eugene except with a slider.
The Hitter of the Day – <drink>
When you hit three home runs and drive in six, you are pretty much gonna take home that award every day of the week and twice on Sundays. That’s what Owen Caissie did tonight as he had a grand slam and two solo shots for the Smokies down in Montgomery.
Kevin Made Web Gem of the Day
This looks like it could be a daily feature this year four or five days a week. Here he gets a double play by coming across the middle, and then rifling a throw to first.
Scores of the Day
The Iowa Cubs put up six runs again today, but it was not enough as they gave up 10. And the only highlights were Jeremiah Estrada, who struck out the side in the seventh, while Christopher Morel and Seiya Suzuki had two hits along with Levi Jordan, who returned to action after coming off the development list.
The Smokies improved to 4-2 on the year with a win behind the bat of Owen Caissie. The good sign of the day…Cayne Ueckert went 2 scoreless innings and struck out five. Hopefully, he is getting back to 2021 Cayne.
As for the South Bend Cubs, they shutout Beloit behind Franklin, Joe Nahas, and Carlos Guzman as the trio scattered four hits. Yohendrick Pinango drove in two as did Jacob Wetzel, and Casey Opitz hit a two run dinger as the Cubs improved to 4–1.
In Myrtle Beach, the Pelicans jumped out to a five to nothing lead and held on through a shaky bullpen to win 6 to 4. Parker Chavers went 2-for-6 while Rafael Morel went 2-for-5. Jefferson Encarnacion went 3-for-4 on the night to improve to a .500 average. Felix Stevens was the man of the night going 2-for-4 with three RBI, which probably would’ve gotten a hitter of the day on any other night. Lefty Jack Aldrich made his Cubs debut and pitched at one point to 1.2 scoreless despite walking three guys. The Pelican are now 2-2 on the year.
Tomorrow, Tennessee, South Bend, and Myrtle Beach will begin their second time through the starting rotation and that will be exciting to see Ryan Jensen, Grant Kipp, and Richard Gallardo.