Luis Devers – Picture by Todd Johnson
So, let’s just say I had a fun day as both Iowa and South Bend played early afternoon games while Tennessee and Myrtle Beach played at night. In addition, Baseball America released their midseason top Cubs prospect list and we reviewed on this little website this morning.
Let’s do the day games first.
Starting Devers of the Day
When I first got to see Luis Devers pitch in person last year, it was only for a couple of innings at a time as he was being used as a piggyback starter in relief. This afternoon I got to see him up close and personal and it was a unique experience. When he was warming up in the bullpen, it seemed like it took him a little bit of time to get loose. That showed up in the first couple innings as he gave up two walks and hit two batters.
But once the third inning started, he really settled down and the Kernels’ hitters had a hard time squaring anything up. I can recall only a couple of well hit balls as he got six ground outs on the day and three fly outs in four innings worth of work. He struck out two and did not allow any hits over those four frames. What impressed me most today was that once his changeup clicked in, everything else fell in line immediately.
Unfortunately, as soon as Devers left the game, a throwing error in the next inning lead to four Kernels runs just after South Bend had taken a 1 to 0 lead in the top of the inning. Cedar Rapids added on as they went on to win 7 to 2. Only Kevin Made had a decent day at the plate as he went one for two with a walk. That offense just continues to scuffle.
Stud of the Day
At the same time Devers was dealing, the Iowa Cubs were pummeling, Indianapolis. Pitcher Ben Brown turned in the “Stud of the Day” performance as he went six innings and struck out a season high 11 batters, which is tops in the Cubs system this year. Brown scattered six hits and did not allow a run.
Meanwhile, the Iowa hitters used a series of singles and one double to score 8 runs, six of them in the third inning, Nelson Velasquez had two hits as did Chase Strumpf, and Bryce Windham, who is now hitting .306. I’ve always liked Bryce as he’s my kind of player. He’s athletic, smart, mature, and just has a high baseball IQ/makeup.
Affiliate Tweet of the Day
Blogger Tweet of the Day
I responded Horton, Brown, Ferris, and Wicks even though Ferris wasn’t an option. But Ferris’ ceiling is immense, much higher than Wicks.
Michael Arias of the Day
Well, the former shortstop continues to deal. Tonight, he went five scoreless innings….again. Along the way, he struck out ten. The dude gets some serious run on his fastball and his change has some nice sink to it..
When Arias left the game, it was knotted at zero. The Birds got on the board first in the bottom of the sixth when Cristian Hernandez came home on a grounder in the infield.
Reliever of the Day
Reliever Erian Rodriguez looked the best I have ever seen him. He went three soreless and struck out five. So, yeah, he can have an award. The Pelicans would go on to win 1-0 and keep a 2 game lead over Columbia with 7 games left in the first half.
Jefferson Rojas continues to impress. He had two hits tonight, both on hit and runs with Cristian Hernandez.
Caught Stealing of the Day
For those who you who believe that Moises Ballesteros can’t be a catcher…..”Nanner nanner, neener neener!”
Porther Hodge Shows Some Glimpses of His Past Self
The tall, lanky righty looked very good through four frames tonight. He allowed 1 run at that point but ran into some trouble in the fifth. He wound up striking out seven on the night as he allowed 3 runs in 5 innings.
The Smokies had plenty of chances to get back in the game. They were, after all, down just one run. However, they did not come through after 8 innings even though Luke LIttle rocked 4 Ks in 2 scoreless innings of work to keep them close.
Zac Leigh returned to Double-A action and gave up a run in 1 frame to make it 4-2 Birmingham and that’s how it look like it would end.
Clutch HIt of the Day
Welp, the Smokies came back to score 3 in the top of the ninth to take the lead thanks to this double by PCA.
That goes to Ben Hecht and his 3 Ks.