In the aftermath of the Jorge Soler incident, it's back to baseball and today it was three pitchers with whom Cubs fans are very familiar. Two of them, Brooks Raley and Alberto Cabrera, spent time with the Cubs. The third, Starlin Peralta made news when the Diamondbacks picked him in the Rule 5 Draft. All three pitchers lost but there were some silver linings.
By the way, if any of you are interested in seeing Kane County, they will be on MiLB.tv this weekend because they will be on the road to face the Wisconsin Rattlers, who are a participating team.
- Brooks Raley bounced back with a strong outing, going 7 innings and allowing just 2 runs. Most encouragingly, he did not walk a batter and struck out 7. This is Raley at his best, commanding all his pitches and keeping hitters off balance with that plus change. Unfortunately, the Iowa Cubs didn't support him with runs. Jensen Lewis finished up with a scoreless inning.
- Not much to report on offense. Iowa managed just 3 hits -- singles by Brett Jackson (who also walked and stole a base), veteran Ty Wright, and former Red Sox and A's OF'er Ryan Sweeney.
- Alberto Cabrera didn't have his best stuff today. His slider appeared to lack it's usual bite. He battled his way through, however. He had some good battles with red hot prospect Yasiel Puig. On the first AB Puig got him with a fluke bunt single. On the next at-bat, Cabrera quickly got ahead of him with fastballs and then tried to put him a way with the slider. Puig took the first one but Cabrera went right back to it and got him to ground out weakly. On the 3rd AB, Puig was ready for the slider, which got a bit too much of the plate and smacked it for a double in the gap. It was indicative of how Cabrera's day went. At times he was able to fight his way through but at others, his lack of pinpoint command or his best slider and change got the best of him. In all he pitched 6 innings and gave up 4 runs walking 2 and striking out 5.
- Marcus Hatley has good stuff (mid 90s fastball, hammer curve) but continues to get hit more than he should. My assumption here is simply that hitters pick up the ball really well when he's on the mound. Hatley went 2 innings and gave up 2 runs, walking one and striking out 3.
- Not much offense for the Smokies today. 2B Arismendy Alcantara showed off his wide skill set today. He has shown more patience this year, he worked the count on his first AB and also had a walk. He also showed off his speed with an infield single and a stolen base. On defense, Alcantara showed pretty good hops when he snared a line drive and then doubled off the runner for a double play.
- Justin Bour had his daily dose of RBI with a sac fly that reached the warning track.
- Christian Villanueva had an RBI double and scored a run.
- I listened to this game to see if there was any residual issues from the fracas yesterday. Curiously the 2B in the middle of the melee, Carlos Alonso, did not play. Perhaps because he didn't want to get drilled by a 97 mph Starlin Peralta fastball. Or it could be that he's hitting .200. Or maybe it was because he's 25 years old, still in Class A, and starts bench clearing incidents. All seem good reasons not to play him. As for Peralta, he was about as hit or miss as you can get as a pitcher. The good news is he threw strikes (no walks) and he missed a lot of bats, getting 7 strikeouts. Unfortunately, he hit a lot of bats too, right on the sweet spot, as he gave up a whopping 4 HRs, 2 doubles, and 8 hits overall. It all added up to 6 runs before he was taken out after 6 innings.
- Yeiper Castillo had even bigger problems, giving up 6 runs in 3 innings.
- Coming off a HR and 4 RBI day yesterday, LF Taiwan Easterling followed that up with a 2 hit day, including a double. He also threw out a runner for the second straight day, this time nailing Jonathan Roof at 3B.
- 2B Stephen Bruno had a two hit day, including a double, and scored a run. Bruno is picking up right where he left off last season when he hit a league leading .361 at Boise. So far this year, despite skipping Kane County, Bruno is hitting .370 in 30 PAs. He's also walked 3 times, which is a much better rate than last season.
- Slugging 3B Dustin Geiger is starting to heat up after a slow start. He had a double, single, and an RBI. Geiger is a bit of a streaky hitter and hopefully that's what's happening here. The Cubs could use his bat while Soler serves his 5 game suspension.
Kane County game was postponed...
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