Iowa won a marathon 4+ hour 9 inning game as their bullpen was able to work through some traffic on the bases and their offense was able to deliver in two big innings. Nick Martini hit a solo homer in the 3rd, his third homer in five games, and then capped off a six-run 4th with a bases loaded double which brought home two runs. He was also a part of the Cubs four-insurance-run-rally in the top of the 9th, by driving in a fourth run on a groundout.
- Nick Martini: 2-5, 2B, HR (10), R, 4 RBI, BB (.286)
- Alfonso Rivas: 3-5, R, 3 RBI, BB (.271)
- Abiatal Avelino: 2-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB (.276)
- Zach Davis: 2-5, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB, CS (1) (.278)
- Trayce Thompson: 1-3, 3 BB (.242)
- Erick Castillo: 1-4, 2 R, RBI, BB (.239)
- Ethan Roberts: 1.2 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (W, 2-0, 5.40)
- Dillon Maples: IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, K (3.38)
Injuries, Updates, and Trends
Nick Martini (.286/.407/.505, 145 wRC+) struggled in his stint in Chicago early this season. He was called up due to injuries but he received very inconsistent at bats (14 PA over a 4 week span), mostly just a few pinch hit appearances each week, so he can be excused for not finding a rhythm. It took him a bit to find his footing when he returned to Iowa and received regular at bats (although he has been drawing walks all along). Since the beginning of July he’s been a consistent threat to not just reach base, but do a little damage with the bat too. He batted .273/.404/.416 in July, and has followed up with a .417/.512/.833 line so far in August.
Dillon Maples pitched a scoreless inning of relief while on his rehab assignment.
The struggles continued for Cory Abbott (1-5, 7.34). He allowed 4 runs over 4.1 innings. It was the 11th time in 12 starts that Abbott has allowed at least 3 runs.
It’s been a slow climb up the ladder for 26-year old utility man Cam Balego (.317/.425/.550 in 17 combined games between ACL/High-A/AA), in part due to injury, but also because he went through the catcher conversion program. He still spends the majority of his time at the corner infield spots, but the catcher versatility will no doubt help him down the road. He added a huge amount of strength and mass prior to 2019, which helped him increase his power (1 combined HR in 2017-18, he hit 12 in 2019). His offensive ceiling doesn’t really jump out at you, but the guy grinds at bats really well and continues to improve. He showed that last night as he drove home three runs and reached base four times, including his first homer with Tennessee.
I know I say it every five days, but Luis Lugo had another good outing that I didn’t watch. He deserves a deep dive into his turnaround this year.
- Cam Balego: 2-3, HR (1), 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB (.258)
- Tyler Payne: 1-3, 2B, R, RBI, 2 BB (.225)
- Chase Strumpf: 2-4, R, BB (.189)
- Nelson Velazquez: 1-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, HBP (.286)
- Brennen Davis: 1-3, R, BB, HBP (.275)
- Luis Lugo: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB< 8 K (W, 5-4, 3.90)
Injuries, Updates, and Trends
Luis Lugo over his last 10 outings (7 GS): 41 IP, 25 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 15 BB, 53 K (0.98 WHIP, 1.10 ERA)
The new and improved Max Bain was the big story in the early going of this one. Now pitching out of the stretch exclusively, and with a simplified pitch mix: fastball (looks like he is sacrificing some of the high-90s velo for command in the mid-90s), along with an improving changeup (which is flashing plus), and a breaking ball. It has allowed him to attack the strike zone more consistently and he just looks far more comfortable and fluid out on the mound. Bain turned in perhaps his best professional outing, with six shutout innings.
Max Bain has been throwing his fastball 94 all night and his changeup was coming in somewhere around 84 to 86. The change has been his best pitch as he struck out five through six scoreless innings on 73 pitches, 47 for strikes. pic.twitter.com/rh7GVLyl9V— Todd (@CubsCentral08) August 12, 2021
It took a while for the Cubs to grab a lead, but once they did, they never surrendered it. Fort Wayne did narrow the advantage to 2-1 in the bottom of the 8th, but then Alexander Canario stole some of the spotlight from Bain, when he blasted a three-run homer in the top of the 9th, his fourth straight game with a homer.
- Max Bain: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, BB, 5 K (W, 3-6, 5.82)
- Eduarniel Nunez: 2 IP, H, R, 0 ER, BB, 3 K (S, 1, 5.55)
- Alexander Canario: 1-5, HR (4), R, 3 RBI (.308)
- Edmond Americaan: 1-3, 2B, R, BB, HBP (.204)
- Tyler Durna: 1-3, 2B, 2 BB (.229)
- Liam Spence: 2-4, 2 RBI (.500)
- Yonathan Perlaza: 1-4, 2 R, SB (4) (.254)
Injuries, Updates, and Trends
Yonathan Perlaza (.254/.332/.440) extended his on-base streak to 18 games.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Alexander Canario’s defense so far. He looks solid in RF, with enough arm, and has even made some plays when given a chance in CF. At the plate, obviously the power jumps out, but he also seems to identify breaking pitches pretty well. Canario hasn’t been expanding outside the zone much, and while it isn’t really leading to walks, he is working counts. That has no doubt helped do some damage when he gets pitches in the zone. And when this dude gets his arm extended there is some serious pop. He takes a violent swing, engaging his entire body, but it is well under control.
Our power was out for two hours tonight. Good thing Alexander Canario kept his power going. pic.twitter.com/9PRALFuH2S— Todd (@CubsCentral08) August 12, 2021
Got my first look at 5th round shortstop Liam Spence. A wiry frame and contact oriented swing (he even choked up with two strikes) are not going to generate power, but he seems to have some bat control, and his SEC-leading OBP this year indicate he’s got a pretty good eye. Only saw a couple of defensive plays, but he seemed to have smooth actions at short. He’s older for a draft pick, so the Cubs being aggressive with their assignment of him to High-A shouldn’t be a total shock. It also makes sense from an organizational point of view as the Cubs have a ton of 17-20 year old middle infielders who need playing time in ACL/MB, so getting the 23-year old Spence ahead of them on the ladder will keep him from muddying the waters there.
Command and control are still an issue, but Eduarniel Nunez continues to be an intriguing arm strength upside guy as a reliever. He can touch as high as 98 or 99 and has posted a high ground ball rate this year. Nunez earned his first High-A save last night.
- Matt Warkentin: 2-4, 3B, 2 R (.213)
- Kevin Made: 2-4 (.255)
- Yohendrick Pinango: 1-2 (.262)
- Alberto Sojo: 2.2 IP, 2 H, R, 0 ER, BB, 2 K (4.34)
Filed under: Daily Cubs Minors Recap