Ed Howard is now in the leadoff spot (Kim Klement - USA Today Sports)
Ed Howard is now in the leadoff spot (Kim Klement - USA Today Sports)

Cubs Minor League News: Ed Howard at leadoff, Two games postponed, Perlaza with his sixth

by - Senior Writer -

It was a relatively quiet day on the Minor League circuit, which paves the way for an extremely busy Sunday. With only three teams in action following a pair of rainouts, the Cubs continued to go about their business posting a 2-1 record for the day as their winning ways continue throughout the weekend.

We are getting close to the midway point in the MLB season, and fans can get a sense of what these teams are about. While most of the system will be missing out on the playoffs, it has been nice to see the growth of many of these players, especially when you look at the pending trade deadline and the possibility of bodies moving around shortly.

SAINT PAUL SAINTS at IOWA CUBS (Postponed due to Rain. Doubleheader set for Sunday.)

TENNESSEE SMOKIES at CHATTANOOGA LOOKOUTS (Postponed for wet grounds. No makeup date has been announced at this time.)


With the two high-level Minor-League teams postponed, Saturday was about the lower-level minor leagues as these are the teams that continue to change the most. After winning the first three with Beloit this week, the Snappers have turned the tables picking up an 11-5-win Saturday with a chance to split the series Sunday.

Chris Kachmar got the start, and it was a start he would like to forget as the right-hander surrendered seven runs in 3 2/3 innings of work. That didn't make things easy for South Bend, who had an early 2-0 lead when Yonathan Perlaza went deep in the first inning for his sixth homer of the season. That lead was short-lived as an RBI single from Bubba Hollins in the second closed the deficit to 2-1, before Griffin Conine continued his fantastic season with his 20th homer giving the Snappers a 3-2 lead in the third.

Not to be outdone, the Cubs had an answer for that homer with another homer of their own as Ryan Reynolds went deep for the first time in a South Bend uniform, putting the Cubs back in front 4-3 heading to the fourth. In the fourth, things began to unravel for Kachmar as Beloit pushed across five runs to take an 8-4 lead and never looked back.

Three of those five runs came without an RBI hit, with Conine tying things up with an RBI groundout before a bases-loaded hit by pitch to Thomas Jones and a bases-loaded walk to Will Banfield gave the Snappers the lead for good. Hollins would single later in that inning to extend the lead to 8-4 as his big series continues.

Hollins wasn't done having a great game, adding another RBI single in the sixth to extend the lead to 9-4. Beloit picked up two more runs across the next two frames as they took an 11-4 lead into the bottom of the seventh. After surrendering eight unanswered runs, Jake Slaughter finally put an end to that as his RBI single in the eighth was the final run in what was an 11-5 loss.

The Cubs offense did plenty of damage with four players having multi-hit nights. Delvin Zinn joined Perlaza, Tyler Durna, and Slaughter with that feat as the Cubs pounded out 11 hits in the loss. Nelson Velazquez, Reynolds, and Jake Washer picked up the remaining three as the Cubs still await the return of starting center fielder and top 15 prospect Cole Roederer to the lineup.


In what was a one-run game through seven innings, the Pelicans used an offensive explosion in the final two innings to take what was a close game and turn it into a 10-3 dominating win. Didier Vargas continues to string together great starts, and once again, he was on point through six innings. Vargas was charged with three earned runs on eight hits, but did enough to keep his team in the game and earned a no-decision.

Danis Correa earned the win as he lowered his ERA to 2.27 following an inning of work while Blake Whitney struck out three of the four hitters he faced to bring his ERA to 1.54. After a Cade Bunnell first-inning homer gave Augusta a quick 1-0 lead, the Pelicans answered as Jordan Nwogu went deep for the fourth time in the second, giving Myrtle Beach a 2-1 lead. Nwogu is starting to find his stride after a rough go of things the first six weeks.

A Matt Mervis single in the top of the third padded the Pelicans lead 3-1, as he continues to lead the team in RBIs. That 3-1 lead was turned into a 3-3 game, with Bryson Horne picking up an RBI single in the bottom half of the third. What looked like a back-and-forth game turned into a pitcher's battle as that 3-3 score would hold up for five innings.

In the eighth inning, the Pelicans took the lead for good as Flemin Bautista provided the game-winning hit with a bases-loaded RBI double to give Myrtle Beach a 6-3 lead.

Add in singles by Pablo Aliendo and Ed Howard in the ninth to go with a wild pitch, and Myrtle Beach pushed across seven runs their final two at-bats to pick up a 10-3 win.

Howard continues to go about his thing since moving to the leadoff spot, picking up two more hits to bring his average above .200. He was joined by Yohendrick Pinango and Mervis as that trio collected six of the team's 12 hits. The rest of the lineup mainly saw everyone collect one hit, with Fabian Pertuz the only player without a hit.


The Cubs continue to roll along, capping off a 4-1 week of competition with a 5-3 win over the Athletics. The Cubs got good pitching across the board in this seven-inning game, while the offense went to work early and often to secure the win.

Cam Balego continues to be a big bat in the middle of the Cubs lineup, opening the scoring with a first-inning double to put the Cubs in front for good 1-0. Rafael Morel would then show off his wheels with an RBI triple as the Cubs were off and running early with a 3-0 lead in the first. As if that wasn't good enough, the Cubs extended their lead to 4-0 off a wild pitch before Levi Jordan singled on a ground ball to right, putting the Cubs in front 5-0.

That would be all the offense the Cubs would need as the pitching took care of the rest. A Wilson Alvarez single put the Athletics on the board in the third, but it wasn't until the sixth when they found pay dirt again. Bases loaded walks to Dereck Salom and Jose Escorche made things a bit more interesting at 5-3, but the Cubs were able to hold them off, improving to 7-3 on the season.

Balego tallied two hits in three plate appearances as he is hitting .750 on the season. Ezequiel Pagan continues to produce out of the leadoff spot with two hits of his own, with the Cubs collecting seven hits as a team. Jordan, Morel, and Yovanny Cuevas added the remaining three. Ismael Mena and Shendrik Apostel went hitless.

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