Well, not “back” but I have finished making my way to Seattle, where I will be looking for a condo. There will be some slight adjustments required to my writing schedule as I used to do the recaps before my workday, but now on Pacific time I have 5 am work meetings, so I’ll either need to write at night (which I’ve never been very good at) or take a short break during the day to complete it. There may be some bumps in the road, so please bear with me.
With Alec Mills and Kohl Stewart returning to Chicago the I-Cubs remain a starter short, so for the second consecutive time through the rotation they turned to hard throwing reliever Robert Stock to bail them out. And once again he delivered four solid innings and gave his team a chance to win. Despite working extended innings, Stock was able to hit 101 on the gun at least a couple of times. His slider and changeup also looked good. Should the Cubs need another experienced arm in Chicago before the year is out, Stock should be first in line at this point.
Iowa was up 4-1 when Stock exited, but the bullpen could not hold on, surrendering a much needed victory. Jake Jewell, who has been a reliable arm throughout the year, got rocked for five runs in 1+ innings, then Brad Wieck came on and allowed his first two runs of the season.
The I-Cubs did get a couple of good signs in the final two innings. Trevor Megill appears to be over his forearm strain as he punched out two in a scoreless 8th. And then new Iowa reliever Ben Leeper pitched a perfect 9th in his debut. Leeper is one to watch. He was Tennessee’s most impressive arm (even above Manny Rodriguez) to open the year.
The undrafted free agent from last season throws in the mid-to-upper-90s with excellent late life on his heater, and compliments it with a wipeout slider. In 15.1 total innings he has allowed just 2 earned runs on 9 hits and 4 walks while striking out 23. It may be surprising but along with Stock, Leeper could very well be the Cubs most MLB ready arm not already on the 40-man roster.
- Robert Stock: 4 IP, 4 H, R, BB, 5 K (4.12)
- Trevor Megill: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 2 K (9.00)
- Ben Leeper: IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, K (0.00)
- Trayce Thompson: 1-5, HR (4), R, 3 RBI (.266)
- Dee Strange-Gordon: 2-4, 2 R, BB (.288)
- Ian Miller: 2-4, 2B (.226)
- Andrew Romine: 2-4, RBI (.255)
- Nick Martini: 1-3, 2 R, BB (.211)
Injuries, Updates, and Trends
Nick Martini cleared waivers and accepted his assignment back to Iowa rather than pursuing free agency. He hasn’t really gotten a chance to get consistent at bats yet this season. He was added to the Chicago roster about a week after the Iowa season opened and then essentially sat on the bench and only received sporadic pinch hit opportunities. Not surprisingly, he struggled. No doubt he is looking forward to getting into a rhythm, likely as the I-Cubs everyday first baseman. He notched a hit and a walk in his first game back.
Cory Abbott was sent back to Iowa.
With Adbert Alzolay hitting the IL due to a blister problem, the Cubs were able to recall Kohl Stewart prior to the 10-day waiting period.
It was a rough night for the Smokies staff as al four pitchers allowed at least one run, with starter Javier Assad lasting just three innings.
The Smokies offense would make a game of it by the end though. Down 7-3 entering the bottom of the 8th, Tyler Payne blasted a two-run homer to close the gap, and then Darius Hill followed with a two-run homer of his own in the bottom of the 9th. Unfortunately, the Trash Pandas pushed across a run in the top of the 9th against Ethan Roberts, so the Smokies comeback attempt fell just short.
- Darius Hill: 2-5, HR (2), 2 R, 2 RBI (.315)
- Tyler Payne: 1-4, HR (3), R, 2 RBI (.247)
- Chase Strumpf: 0-2, 2 R, 3 BB (.182)
- Levi Jordan: 1-4, 2B, RBI, BB (.263)
- Christopher Morel: 0-2, 2 BB, SB (3) (.187)
Injuries, Updates, and Trends
While I was gone, an old friend returned to the Cubs organization. With the rash of injuries to middle infielders throughout all levels, the Cubs signed former farmhand Carlos Sepulveda, who had been released by the Dodgers earlier this year. Sepulveda is a classic undersized grinder who works the count, and sprays the ball to all fields. He lacks strength, and is almost never going to hit for power, but he gives you solid at bats and can field well at second base and get you by at short as well.
All nine Cubs batters contributed reached base or contributed to the scoring effort as the team pounded out 12 hits and drew a couple of walks. The biggest came off the bat of who else, but Nelson Velazquez. With the Cubs trailing 3-2 in the 5th, he took a hanging breaking ball and deposited it over the right center field wall to turn a one run deficit into a one run advantage.
On a breaking ball, albeit a fat one, but a good sign nonetheless https://t.co/bBNCHodYQ7— Michael Ernst (@mj_ernst) June 9, 2021
South Bend never looked back. They’d score via a sac fly, a single, and a wild pitch the next inning to stretch their lead to four. Wisconsin would claw back into it late, but the Cubs pen was solid enough in relief of Ryan Jensen (4 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 4 K, 4.15) to hang on to the victory.
- Edmond Americaan: 4-5, 3B, 2 R, SB (2) (.267)
- Nelson Velazquez: 1-4, HR (6), R, 2 RBI (.321)
- Tyler Durna: 1-2, RBI, 2 BB (.237)
- Matt Burch: 2-4, 2B, RBI (.200)
- Tanner Jesson-Dalton: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 4 K (W, 1-0, 13.97)
- Scott Kobos: IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 3 K (0.00)
Injuries, Updates, and Trends
That Scott Kobos guy still hasn’t allowed a run. Appearing in 10 games and throwing 13.1 innings between Myrtle Beach and South Bend, the undrafted free agent lefty has scattered 7 hits and 6 walks, while always seemingly able to come up with the big strikeout when he needs it. In all he has punched out 24 of the 53 batters he’s faced. I haven’t had a chance to really dig into any video of him yet. Hopefully I will soon.
Myrtle Beach PPD
Filed under: Daily Cubs Minors Recap