Cubs Minor League News: Brown impressive, McGeary homers, Alcantara raking, more
Brown is close to reaching the majors at this rate

Cubs Minor League News: Brown impressive, McGeary homers, Alcantara raking, more

by - Senior Writer -

This week has been one of the better weeks for the Cubs system in a while, as there have been a ton of wins. Not only has Myrtle Beach started the week with three wins, but outside of South Bend, every team in the system has an opportunity to win the series.

That trend continued on Saturday as things were slightly lighter with one rain out. Still, with three games taking place, anytime you can go 2-1, you are doing what the fans want: to win more than you lose.


Don't look now, but the Iowa pitching staff is starting to come around, which could be bad news for AAA. Led by another strong Ben Brown start, the Iowa offense gave him more than enough support and used one-big inning to take off. Brown was not only lights out but was about as dominant as you can be.

The right-hander lasted 5 1/3 innings and struck out 11 as the Nashville offense couldn't square him up.

Most of the damage from the Cubs offense came in the fourth inning when they pushed four runs across to take a 4-0 lead. David Bote and Yonathan Perlaza picked up bases-loaded walks, but the Nick Madrigal single broke the game open and made things 4-0. That would be all the offense the Cubs would need as Nashville scored their lone run in the bottom of the fourth on a Jon Singleton homer.

That 4-1 score lasted until the eighth, when Bryce Windham capped off the scoring with an RBI single. The Cubs had seven hits as Madrigal led the way with two hits and two RBIs.


For the most part, this was the get-right series that most expected, as the Smokies have played very well this week. Led by two crooked innings offensively and great pitching across the board, the Smokies made quick work of Birmingham for another win.

Porter Hodge has had an up-and-down season but has been improving in each of his last several starts. Hodger picked a perfect time to deliver one of his better outings of the season, giving the Smokies five shutout innings of two-hit ball. Hodge walked two and added eight strikeouts as he was on top of his game from the start.

Despite Hodge dominating on the mound, Cristian Mena was equally as challenging for three innings before unraveling in the fourth. All it took was one swing from Haydn McGeary to make a difference, as his three-run shot proved to be all the Smokies would need.

They maintained that 3-0 lead into the seventh when Moises Castillo picked up an RBI single to make things 3-1. That would be all the offense the Barons would get as the Smokies put the game away with a massive eighth inning.

Not only did Chase Strumpf start things off with a double, but Owen Caissie followed that up with a single up the middle to push the lead to 4-1.

With Nelson Maldonado making things 5-1 on an RBI fielder's choice, the Pablo Aliendo double capped off that inning and had the Smokies leading 7-1, which ended up being the final score.

Strumpf and Caissie led the way with two hits as the Smokies tallied eight hits.


Granted, the Cubs did win the first game of this week's series, but that was a long time ago, as South Bend has now dropped four straight and has lost this week's series. You can't blame the pitching, as that was the one consistent all week while the offense has struggled.

By far, the best pitcher on the South Bend staff this season has been Brandon Birdsell, but he delivered his worst showing of the season on Saturday. Birdsell gave South Bend four innings, but he was charged with four earned runs as his ERA rose to 2.20. He walked one and struck out two, but it wasn't his night.

Apart from Birdsell, the Cubs bullpen was tough, and that started with Didier Vargas, who struck out three in two scoreless innings. Zac Leigh delivered a scoreless frame, with Frank Scalzo Jr adding three punchouts in two scoreless frames. Even with the pen holding up their part, Jose Acuna was very good for the Dragons, allowing two runs (1ER) in five great innings.

Not only were there only seven runs scored, but six runs came in three innings, with each team having two-run frames to get the job done. It was Dayton striking first, with Ruben Ibarra coming through with a two-run single in the first to make things 2-0. That score held until the fourth inning when Justice Thompson took Birdsell deep for a two-run shot to stretch the Dragons lead to 4-0. That hit proved the game-winner as the Cub's offense was primarily held in check.

Trailing 4-0 in the fifth, South Bend finally got on the board when Kevin Alcantara used an RBI single to make things 4-1. An error later in the inning allowed a second run to score as the Cubs were within 4-2. South Bend continued their comeback effort in the seventh when Bryce Ball cashed in with an RBI single to pull the Cubs within 4-3. Unfortunately, that was it, as South Bend would fall by that score.

Alcantara led the way from the leadoff spot, finishing with two hits to go with his RBI. Six other Cubs had a hit in the game, but only one other hit brought home a run.


Rehab photo update:

Comment on this story
Send Feedback to Dustin Riese: Email | Comment
Post your comments!