Brandon Birdsell – Pic by Todd Johnson

Hitters of the Day: All the Hitting Awards Go to Iowa

Today saw one of the wackiest games of all time.

The Iowa Cubs won 18 to 16 over the Louisville Bats. It was not a good day to be an Iowa Cubs pitcher, but it was a great day to be a hitter in Des Moines. Matt Mervis hit his sixth home run and now has 23 RBI on the year. Christopher Morel hit two home runs today giving him 10. Jared Young, fresh off the IL, also hit two home runs and Sergio Alcantara hit another as did Jake Slaughter. Yes, that is 7 dingers in Des Moines.

Stats for the Iowa Cubs lineup are just crazy after today. Morel is now hitting .354 with an OPS over 1.200. Mervis is hitting .290 with a .990 OPS while Slaughter has rebounded from a poor start to the year and is now hitting .282 with an .822 OPS. Brennen Davis had the day off.

Even though Kyle Hendricks was making his first rehab start, I don’t think you want to hear the numbers unless you like an ERA over 32. Only two Cubs pitchers did not allow a run today. Riley Thompson pitched the fourth and fifth innings and struck out two while not allowing anything to come across. Tyler Duffy was the winning pitcher and he pitched 1.2 innings while striking out 2. It was just one of those wacky games.

The nightcap games were much more stingy when it came to runs.

At Myrtle Beach, they put up a five spot to take an early lead against Charleston. Cristian Hernandez started the scoring on a single to make it 1-1. Moises Ballesteros added another RBI single and then Felix Stevens drove in two with a double to make it 4-1 and Jefferson Encarnacion made it 5-1 with another RBI single.

After Charleston made it 5-4, the Birds tacked on two more as Felix Stevens singled plated two to make it 7-4. And then Charleston kept coming back and took the lead in the bottom of the 8th at 9-7. Next thing you know, there were two outs in the ninth and the Birds score three to take a 10-9 lead after Reivaj Garcia hit a 2 run single and Rafael Morel scored on a wild pitch. That was enough for a Pelicans victory.

I am still so excited to keep seeing Reivaj Garcia returning to form that we first saw when he was 17 in the old Arizona Rookie League. He is now hitting .333 with an .859 OPS. Good for him!

In South Bend, it was a simple story. Brandon Birdsell…NAILS! Kevin Alcantara….2 run dinger, a couple great catches, and is 7-for-13 this week with 6 RBI and 2 HRs. Frankie Scalzo is the most improved reliever at South Bend. He was a shut down guy tonight! He threw only 45 pitches in 4 innings. Cubs win 3-1.

In Tennessee, Ben Brown got the start and he looked good but he finally looked human. He was spotted a 2 run lead after a Bradlee Beesley home run. An unearned run in the third was all Brown surrendered while striking out 8 in 5 innings on 86 pitches. Chris Kachmar struck out 6 in three innings. That was easily his best outing of the year since coming back from an injury all last year. Miguel Amaya sent another dinger into the night. His bat is turning into something special this spring. Riley Martin came in to close out the 5-1 win.

A Transaction

I thought a move would be coming and it did to fill the spot vacated by Christian Franklin.