MINORS NEWS

Cubs Minor League News: Taillon rehabs with Smokies, PCA with web gem, Strumpf raking
Photo courtesy: Tennessee Smokies

Cubs Minor League News: Taillon rehabs with Smokies, PCA with web gem, Strumpf raking


by - Senior Writer -

It has been a fun weekend for Chicago Cubs baseball at the MLB and MILB levels. They always say winning is contagious, and the more the Cubs win, the better the chances that the minors will win, as a lot of that talent is trying to earn their way to the majors.

Unfortunately, Sunday wasn't one of their better days, as the Cubs limped to a 1-3 finish to close out their second week of Minor League action. You had some great showings across the board, which is all you can ask for, but for the most part, this was one of those days you want to forget and move on to the next.

IOWA CUBS 9 TOLEDO MUD HENS 6

This is the Iowa offense that everyone has been waiting for as a seven-run fourth inning paved the way for the Cubs to take the series. Walker Powell showed some improvements from his last start, but after allowing two runs in three innings, there is more work to do. The same can't be said about Edwin Escobar, who earned the win with two shutout innings of relief while the offense took care of the rest.

The Cubs found themselves in an early 2-0 hole, as Jace Jung delivered an RBI single in the first and Justyn Henry-Malloy added a sacrifice fly in the third.

From that moment on, it was all Iowa, as Alexander Canario got the scoring started with a third-inning RBI single to make things 2-1.

Once the fourth inning rolled around, the Cubs' bats came to life as they pushed across seven runs to break the game open.

Bryce Windham started the big inning with a go-ahead RBI single, while the Chase Strumpf double made things 4-2.

Then came the Cubs' patient approach, as Canario, BJ Murray JR, and Owen Caissie all took bases-loaded walks to score three more runs, with a Luis Vazquez sacrifice capping off the big inning.

Toledo did a great job battling back, starting with a two-run Justice Bigbie single in the sixth before Jung and Keston Hiura added two more RBIs in the seventh to pull within 8-6. That would be as close as things would get, as Strumpf capped off the scoring with his second homer of 2024 in the bottom of the seventh to lift Iowa 9-6.

Strumpf led the offense with three hits, while Windham and Vazquez added two.

ROCKET CITY TRASH PANDAS 5 - TENNESSEE SMOKIES 2

After battling it out a ton last season, look for these two to go at it again this year, with the Smokies taking the first series of the season. Although it would've been nice to get a sweep, seeing Jameson Taillon on the mound was huge as he was making a rehab start.

After not pitching all Spring, it will be interesting to see how long it takes him to be ready, as things didn't go well for him in this one. Taillon lasted just 2 2/3 innings, allowing four runs (3ER) on six hits. He struck out four, but the Smokies offense couldn't get much going against the Trash Pandas' pitching.

Taillon couldn't have asked for a worse start, as most of the damage off him came in the first inning. That all started with an RBI single off Sam Brown's bat to give Rocket City the 1-0 lead, but it was the Eric Wagaman double that pushed home the winning runs with the Smokies trailing 3-0.

Tennessee bounced back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first, as Alan Rangel was struggling early. For the second straight game, Matt Shaw drove in the first run, as his RBI single put the Smokies on the board.

Shaw would come around to score later in the inning on an error to make things 3-2, but that would be it for the Tennessee offense as a costly Pablo Aliendo error allowed two runners to score in the fifth to close out the scoring.

The top of the Smokies lineup provided four of the team's five hits, as Christian Franklin led the way with two, while Shaw and James Triantos added one. Luis Verdugo also found his way into the hit column, picking up the fifth hit for the Smokies. One of the significant concerns after the opening weekend is seeing Kevin Alcantara still searching for his first hit of the season.

QUAD CITY RIVER BANDITS 4 - SOUTH BEND CUBS 0

It was more of the same for the Cubs on Sunday, as some strong starting pitching mixed with a bad offensive display led to another loss. After Tyler Schlaffer made the start and gave South Bend three scoreless, it was time for the bullpen to do their job.

For the most part, they did just that, except for Koen Moreno, who allowed three runs in 2 2/3. Those three runs would be all the Quad City offense needed, as their pitching was dialed in from the start. Despite struggling with his command at times, Henry Williams went out and delivered five scoreless frames to set the tone while the bullpen took care of the rest.

Most of the Quad City damage came in the three-run sixth, with Carson Roccaforte delivering the big blow, as his two-run triple provided the runs the River Bandits would need. Carter Jensen added an RBI single later in the inning to make things 3-0, while a balk in the seventh brought home the final run. Jake Long and Pedro Ramirez provided most of the offense, as they combined for four of the five hits.

FAYETTEVILLE WOODPECKERS 10 - MYRTLE BEACH PELICANS 2

It wasn't a good weekend for the Pelicans as they dropped their opening series and did so in an ugly way on Sunday. When you look at Alfredo Romero's line and see four runs given up in less than four innings, you tend to look away until you realize that one run was earned.

That shows you that his defense did him no favors and made life difficult. Throw in that the offense only had three hits and 15 strikeouts, and this was just one of those games that you want to forget about if you are a Pelicans fan. Trailing 1-0 in the third, Cristian Hernandez tied things up as he connected for an RBI single. That momentum was quickly taken away in the top of the fourth when Fernando Caldera delivered the go-ahead RBI single, while a two-run error pushed across the winnings runs and had Myrtle Beach down 4-1.

The Pelicans did their best to battle back, pulling to within 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth, but it was the Woodpeckers getting the last laugh as they ended the game with six unanswered runs. Four of those came in the seventh as a pair of RBI singles from Juan Santander and Yamel Encarnacion were mixed with two more errors in what became a 10-2 loss.

Hernandez was joined by Reggie Preciado and Drew Bowser in terms of hits, as offense was tough to come by for the birds. Hernandez is going to be under a microscope all season, but through three games he looks bigger and is playing like a much different player than a season ago.

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