Manny Espinoza – Picture by Todd Johnson
There were six games on tap today as both Iowa and Myrtle Beach had doubleheaders. I’m not really sure how to tell you this, so I will be just as blunt as possible. The Cubs system kicked some ass today!
South Bend got things started in the day game and saw the Cubs win 3 to 2 and move into first place. But that wasn’t the top story of that game. James Triantos hit his first home run as a South Bend Cubs. But that wasn’t the top story of the game. David Avitia got his first minor league hit today and that was the game-winning RBI. But that wasn’t the top story of that game.
Starting Pitcher of the Day 1
This first honor goes to Manny Espinoza, who threw four no-hit and scoreless innings. It was his longest outing since returning from extended spring training. After the top of the second, I went and sat behind home plate, just to see how his pitches were moving. Let’s just say they didn’t sit still, but they were mostly in the strike zone. Espinoza did not allow a hit all day nor a run and he struck out nine Beloit Sky Carp. He was sitting 94 to 95 and his change up, which was vicious, was coming in at 85. I also saw him throw a slider a few times, and a couple of curveballs. I don’t see the need for him being in South Bend much longer unless it is to just stretch him out.
Starting Pitcher of the Day 2
Nick Hull is really starting to put things together. Today, he went five scoreless innings and did not allow a hit or a run, but he did allow two base runners via the walk. He struck out eight to lower his season ERA to 3.14. Didier Vargas, who was just sent down from South Bend to help the Pelican’s pen, threw two innings and struck out three to seal the deal as the Pelicans won 3 to 1.
In the night cap, Erian Rodriguez started and was relieved by the newly sent up Starlyn Pichado, who went three scoreless innings and struck out two. José Oquendo went two innings in relieve to get the win as the Birds came from behind to win 6-3 in seven innings. Felix Stevens went to for two with a home run into RBI. As well one Maura, who came down from1 South and Bend, is now heading .401 in Myrtle Beach.
Picture of the Day
This is one I took of the bullpen celebrating Triantos’ home run. Ethan Hearn was in the middle of doing a cartwheel.
BP Team of the Day
As for the Smokies, their bats were on fire today as they scored 13 runs on 11 hits. They scored six runs in the first three innings, then one in the fifth, and added six more in the eighth. Hayden McGeary and Bradlee Beesley both hit home runs, but it was good to see Cole Roederer back in action.
DJ Herz started and gave up three runs in 4.2 innings. Ryan Jensen gave up three runs in 1.1 innings of relief as the Smokies won 13-6.
BJ Murray walked today to extend his on base streak to 28 games.
Hitter of the Day
The was none other than Haydn McGeary, who went 3-for-5 with four RBI.
As for Iowa…
Both their doubleheaders were both started by guys who have no prospect status. Kyle Hendricks went six frames, gave up 1 run, and struck out six while Hayden Wesneski went five scoreless and hitless in the nightcap. Iowa won the first game 2 to 1. So, a system sweep came down to the nightcap in bottom of the seventh with Iowa owning a 1-0. Chris Clarke got a 1-2-3 inning to clicnh the system sweep!