AAA-Iowa CubsDES MOINES, Iowa - Newly acquired Cubs starter Andy Pratt continued to struggle Tuesday night, giving up five runs in just two innings while walking three as the the Cubs lost to the Colorado Spring Sky Sox, 9-5. Pratt is now winless in all three starts in Iowa. He has been chased from the game after two innings in each of those three starts, and just can't seem to find the magic that the Cubs were hoping for when they traded Juan Cruz to Atlanta for Pratt.
One Cub prospect woke up his bat in this game, as OF Jason Dubois went 3-for-3 with a pair of homeruns. Dubois had three of Iowa's five hits, and three of their five RBIs as well. 3B Donny Leon scored a pair of runs for the Cubs, but his average has been down this year, at .242. Iowa is expected to receive an offensive boost very soon when IF Brendan Harris comes off the DL. Iowa could use a little spark, and Harris' young talent could supply it.
PROSPECT WATCH: The only man on the current Iowa Cub roster hitting over .300 is pitcher Glendon Rusch. Despite that, Jason Dubois has had his moments in and up and down season so far this year. Dubois has five hits, two homers, four runs scored and five RBIs in the last three days. He has upped his average 40 points in that span and looks to continue to improve in 2004.
ON DECK: The Cubs have Wednesday off before heading to Albuquerque, New Mexico to take on the Isotopes (Marlins). The Cubs are now 11-9 on the year and tied for first place with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox.
AA-West TennesseeJACKSON, Tenn. - The Birmingham Barons (White Sox) came into Pringles Park Tuesday night and broke out the lumber against West Tenn pitching. Birmingham got to Jaxx starter Reynel Pinto early, knocking him around for five runs in the first to beat the Jaxx, 11-4. Barons starter Arnie Munoz threw 7.1 innings of no-hit ball before West Tenn managed their first hit. Munoz began to show signs of fatigue and was taken out in the eighth inning, but the horse was already out of the barn by this time.
The Jaxx only managed a pair of hits on the day, scoring their four runs off of a combination of walks, errors and sacrifices. Not much else can be said about the offense, which struck out 11 times on the game. RHP Jared Blasdell had the only scoreless outing for Jaxx pitchers, going one inning allowing a hit and a walk.
PROSPECT WATCH: RHP Angel Guzman is expected back by mid-May, either with West Tenn or possibly AAA-Iowa. Director of player development Oneri Fleita told CubsTalk that a decision on Guzman's whereabouts to start the 2004 season may depend on the weather. Fleita also assured CubsTalk that Guzman is progressing nicely and is right on schedule.
ON DECK: The Jaxx will try to take the second of their four-game series with Birmingham Wednesday at 11:05 AM. RHP Chadd Blasko is set to go for the Jaxx against Barons starter Tetsu Yofu. The Jaxx are now 7-9 on the year, and 2.5 games back of first place Huntsville.
Class-A Daytona CubsSARASOTA, Fla. - Daytona got the lone win in the Cubs system on Tuesday, whipping Sarasota 8-2. Cubs starter Richard Hill got his much-deserved first win of the year, going five strong innings while only giving up one hit and no runs. Hill struck out six Red Sox while walking three. The scoreless five innings dropped his ERA 31 points to an masterful 0.92.
RF J.J. Johnson showed his speed for the Cubs, rounding out a pair of triples and RBIs. Catcher Lucas McKnight went 2-for-4 for the Cubs with three RBI's. Meanwhile, first baseman Brandon Sing also had a great game for the Cubs, going 1-for-2 with a two-run homer, and three walks on the night. Over the last week, Sing has been the Barry Bonds of the Florida State League. He has three homers and three doubles with 8 RBI's, and an incredible 10 walks in the last 7 days.
PROSPECT WATCH: Second baseman and former first round pick Luis Montanez may be close to losing his status as a Cubs prospect. In his third straight year in Daytona, Montanez is only hitting .193 for the year with just six RBIs.
ON DECK: Daytona will try to take their third straight from Sarasota as LHP Andy Sisco goes for his first win of the year for the Cubs Wednesday at 6:00 CT. Daytona is now 8-12 on the year, and have moved into a fourth place tie in the FSL's Eastern Division. They are six games back of first place Palm Beach on the year.
Class-A Lansing LugnutsSOUTH BEND, Ind. - It was quite a pitchers duel in South Bend Tuesday as Lansing starter Billy Petrick took on the Hawks' Jared Liebeck. Liebeck kept his scoreless streak in tact for the season, going seven inning while striking out 10. Petrick was nearly as good, but gave up a pair of runs on a two-run homer in the fifth to South Bend's Brian Rose in a 2-1 loss. Petrick had seven strikeouts.
Lansing tried to mount a ninth inning comeback, but came up just short. OF Ryan Fitzgerald singled to lead off the inning, but got caught up between first and second to record the first out of the inning--most unfortunate since Brian Dopirak hit a solo shot after Fitzgerald was caught in a simple error on the basepads. Dopirak also had a double in the game to raise his average to .300 for the year. He leads the team in both doubles and homers with seven and five, respectively. Lugnuts catcher Jake Fox struck out to end the game.
PROSPECT WATCH: If you're talking about impeccable control in Lansing, Michigan, chances are you aren't speaking of one of the locally produced GM or Ford cars, but rather Lansing starter Sean Marshall. Marshall has appeared to have a direct line on the ball between the pitchers mound and home plate, only giving up one walk in 27 innings so far this year. In that span, he has struck out 27 batters. Oddly, with all the control that he has, Marshall has had four wild pitches. Just goes to show that one stat does not make a pitcher.
ON DECK: The Lugnuts will get a day off on Wednesday before heading back to Oldsmobile Park on Thursday night to face the Dayton Dragons.