Omaha 12, Iowa 4 (Game 1)
Iowa 8, Omaha 5 (Game 2)
It wasn’t a great day for the pitching staff in Iowa, but Matt Swarmer stuck with it enough despite allowing nine runs in game one to absorb five innings and not burn out the pen, and then Adrian Sampson did just enough to earn the win in game two to salvage a split. The offense was much better. They hit three homers between the two games and pretty much everyone who had multiple at bats was able to contribute in some manner.
- Taylor Gushue: 1-1, HR (4), R, RBI, 2 BB (.245)
- Nick Martini: 2-6, HR (3), 2 R, 3 RBI (.254)
- Trayce Thompson: 1-4, HR (8), 2 R, 2 RBI, BB (.240)
- Michael Hermosillo: 3-6, 2B, 2 R, RBI (.352)
- Ian Miller: 2-3 (.246)
- Edwin Figuera: 1-3, 2B, R, RBI (.333)
- Tyler Ladendorf: 1-3, R, RBI (.186)
- Erick Castillo: 1-2, RBI (.400)
- Tony Wolters: 0-1, R, 2 BB (.240)
- Vance Vizcaino: 1-3, SAC (.196)
- Adrian Sampson: 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 5 BB, 3 K (W, 2-2, 5.92)
- Jake Jewell: IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 2 K (S, 2, 3.74)
Tennessee actually doubled the hit total of Mississippi (6-to-3), but the Braves took advantage of three walks by Cam Sanders in the 3rd to push across the only three runs of the game. Sanders and the Smokies pen were really good in the other seven innings they pitched, but the offense just wasn’t able to string enough together to ever pose a serious threat.
It continues to be an inconsistent season for the Smokies top starter Cam Sanders. In 2019, the former LSU hurler turned in fairly consistent results with South Bend, despite his velo (up to about 98), stuff, and control showing wide variance throughout the year. He used the time off in 2020 to improve his strength and velocity. His stuff is also showing greater consistency and so is his confidence in it. However, he is now seeing inconsistent results on the mound.
The main culprit is his control still comes and goes between and within starts. Sanders possesses the size, and should have the stamina necessary to start at the big league level, but if he will continue to be prone to big innings if he doesn’t tighten up his command and control over the next year or two. His power arm would work well in a multi-inning or short relief role should he failed to make progress. There are some parallels with Duane Underwood, Jr.’s development.
- Cam Sanders: 5 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 5 BB, 5 K (L, 0-3, 5.66)
- Brendon Little : IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K (0.00)
- Ethan Roberts: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 4 K (2.29)
- Carlos Sepulveda: 1-2, 2 BB (.317)
- Darius Hill: 2-4, 2B (.312)
Injuries, Updates, and Trends
Christopher Morel exited the game in the 3rd after fielding a triple out in right field. Morel did judge the ball well and also did not appear to be running very well on the play, so an injury or benching are both possibilities.
You may already know D.J. Herz and the Myrtle Beach pen completed a combined no-hitter last night, but what may surprise you, especially considering the final score, is that that Max Bain set up his bullpen to potentially close out a second no-hitter.
Bain was dominant, striking out eight over a career high six innings. His control (3 BB, 2 HBP) remains inconsistent, but for a big guy (6’5″) with a big arm (mid-to-upper-90s) that is to be expected to some extent, especially considering the changes his body has gone through (lost a lot of weight while adding muscle). This is also his first season of affiliated pro ball for the 23-year old. The Cubs have definitely uncovered a diamond arm in the rough.
Like Sanders, Bain has the size and stamina (he held his velo throughout last night), but the command/control needs to take a step forward before he can be considered a legitimate MLB starter. This season has been a good first step for Bain along that path however. The team is still working with him on his pitch mix (experimenting with two seamer and cutter) while he leans on his four seamer, slider, curve and change.
Unfortunately for Bain and the Cubs, the floundering South Bend pen continued to struggle. The team has a number of talented arms at its disposal, but I would classify all of them as throwers rather than pitchers at this point in time. Hunter Bigge, making his 2021 debut, and Eury Ramos both can hit the upper-90s, but neither could work around their lack of control last night. The two of them combined to walk four and hit two other batters in an eight-run 7th inning. Bigge retired just two batters, Ramos none.
- Max Bain: 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 8 K (4.89)
- Bryan King: 2.1 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 2 K (6.43)
- Josue Huma: 1-3
Injuries, Updates, and Trends
South Bend added another powerful (but inconsistent) arm to their arsenal as Joe Nahas was promoted from Myrtle Beach.
It wasn’t always pretty (7 BB, 1 HBP) but it was pretty dominant (16 K). D.J. Herz and Jeremiah Estrada struck out 14 while throwing 7.2 innings of a combined no-hitter. The two of them have good velocity in the mid-90s, but they seem to combine it with elite back spin, as they consistently throw their heaters by Low-A hitters. Their fastballs have that jump which gets on hitters quicker than they anticipate.
First of all, it is just great to see Jeremiah Estrada healthy and getting an opportunity to pitch. It won't take long before he heads up to South Bend. He can just throw his fastball by too many Low-A hitters. https://t.co/Uu23JMzQOx— Michael Ernst (@mj_ernst) June 24, 2021
Bailey Reid finished the 8th as Estrada hit his pitch limit and Danis Correa closed out the no-hitter in the 9th despite a walk and hit batter.
As with all no hitters, a shoutout also needs to be given to the catcher, Pablo Aliendo. He’s a very good athlete back there. Aliendo was active blocking balls in the dirt, throwing out an attempted base stealer, all while handling four talented, but erratic pitchers. The team’s most consistent batter all season, he also managed to reach base twice and score a run. Bravo.
Herz may need to bide his time in Myrtle Beach for a bit, as the Cubs no doubt want him to ramp up his pitch count and continue to work deeper into games, something he’d likely struggle doing in South Bend as more hitters would make him throw strikes. It’s only a matter of time for Estrada though. Now that he is throwing multiple innings, there isn’t much more he needs to accomplish in Myrtle Beach. His command is advanced enough for the challenge of High-A ball.
- D.J. Herz: 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 7 K (W, 1-2, 3.71)
- Jeremiah Estrada: 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 7 K (0.00)
- Bailey Reid: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 0 K (6.05)
- Danis Correa: IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, HBP, 2 K (2.70)
- Fabian Pertuz: 2-4, HR (1), R, 3 RBI, SB (1) (.217)
- Pablo Aliendo: 1-3, R, BB (.296)
- Jonathan Sierra: 1-3, RBI, SF (.250)
Filed under: Daily Cubs Minors Recap