The minor league teams are now 40-43 on the year. Let's take a look at what happened down on the farm Friday.
AAA-Iowa CubsALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Baseball is a team game, but on Friday night, a few of the Cubs' top prospects reminded us that the sport also has its own superstars. Outfielders David Kelton and Jason Dubois had monstrous nights for Iowa, combining for 12 RBIs in a 13-1 rout of the Albuquerque Isotopes. Dubois had three homeruns on the game and seven RBIs. In his last three games, he has hit five long balls with 11 RBIs.
Kelton was equally as impressive Friday, going 2-for-4 with a grand slam and five RBIs. Kelton has had five runs scored, five RBIs, a homer, two doubles and a walk over the last two games. In that time, he has raised his average up to .273 for the year.
Second baseman Brendan Harris recorded his first two hits of 2004 Friday, going 2-for-5 with a pair of runs scored. The Cubs also got a solid pitching performance from RHP Jon Leicester, who threw five innings of one-run ball, despite giving up six walks. Every Cubs starter had a hit on the day except for Leicester, and all but two scored a run.
PROSPECT WATCH: Dubois has now taken the team lead in batting average (.289) after his 3-for-5 night Friday. He has 20 of Iowa's total RBIs (97), and is second in the Pacific Coast League in homeruns (7). 11 of Dubois' 22 hits this year have been for extra bases.
ON DECK: John Koronka is expected to take Glendon Rusch's spot in the Iowa rotation Saturday when the Cubs face former West Tenn prospect Mike Nannini at 8:11 CT in Albuquerque. The Cubs have improved to four games over .500 at 13-9, a full game above second place Colorado Springs.
AA-West TennesseeJACKSON, Tenn. - The Diamond Jaxx ended up losing the conclusion of Thursday night's rain-shortened game with Birmingham, 6-3. Things didn't end up much better for West Tenn in the second game, either, as they managed only three hits en route to being shut out by the Barons, 4-0.
Center fielder Dwaine Bacon and second baseman Richard Lewis each had three hits for the Jaxx in game one, with Lewis connecting on a pair of doubles. LHP Carmen Pignatiello went seven innings Thursday night, giving up just two earned runs while striking out five on the night.
RHP Evan Fahrner picked up the loss after pitching the eighth and ninth innings.
Game two saw a drop in performance from both teams, as the Jaxx managed just three hits with the Barons only four. Birmingham got three runs courtesy of a Jonathan Aceves homerun in the top of the second. Jaxx third baseman Matt Craig has gone hitless in two games back from extended spring training, and will look to pick up his game in the coming weeks.
PROSPECT WATCH: The Diamond Jaxx have had a very balanced scoring attack so far this year with no one player setting himself apart from the rest of the team. Three players have double digits in RBIs, while no one has hit more than four homeruns. The Jaxx are hitting well as a team, however, averaging over four runs per game.
ON DECK: The Jaxx now get set to open a 4-game series against the Huntsville Stars on Saturday at 7:00 CT. Starters have yet to be announced for the game. The Jaxx are now 8-11 on the year, three games back of first place Birmingham.
Class-A Daytona CubsLAKELAND, Fla. - It's not hurricane season, but it has been raining in Florida for two straight days, canceling Daytona's second game in a row with the Lakeland Tigers. The Cubs are hoping to play a doubleheader on Saturday. RHP Rocky Cherry is expected to go in the first game at 4:05 CT for the Cubs, while newest Cub Jon Connolly will make his Cub debut in game two.
Class-A Lansing LugnutsLANSING, Mich. - Everything went perfect for the Lansing Lugnuts Friday. Well, until the ninth inning, that is. Usually-reliable closer Adalberto Mendez gave up six runs in just a third of an inning to raise his ERA 4.34 points Friday as the Daytona scored a whopping 11 runs to down the Lugnuts, 12-7.
Reid Willett came into the and didn't fair much better, giving up another five runs in one of the most thrilling comebacks of the season.
LHP Sean Marshall went 5.2 innings, giving up only one unearned run while striking out eight. Marshall has only given up one earned run in his last three starts to lower his ERA to 1.10 for the year. The Lugnuts had four starters with two hits on the day. Second baseman Robinson Churinos notched a grand slam in the first inning for the Lugnuts.
PROSPECT WATCH: Yesterday's watch featured the Lugnuts pitching; today it is their hitting. Every position player for Lansing has at least two RBIs so far, with first basemen Kevin Collins and Brian Dopirak leading the way with 12 RBIs. The Lugnuts have also excelled with speed so far, with 24 steals on the year. Dopirak and catcher Jake Fox lead the team with 22 hits apiece.
ON DECK: Lansing will face Dayton again on Saturday night at 6:05 CT when RHP Ronald Bay tries to quiet the Dragons' bats. The Lugnuts are now 11-10 on the year and 4 1/2 games back of first place South Bend.