AAA-Iowa CubsDES MOINES, Iowa - The I-Cubs have been getting some great hitting lately after struggling at the plate to start the year. The only problem is they are not getting the great pitching that they used to.
Iowa was involved in another slugfest on Tuesday, but couldn't pull this one out, losing 9-8 to the Fresno Grizzlies. LHP John Koronka picked up his second loss of the year, giving up six runs and 10 hits in just four innings. The Cubs committed a trio of errors also, as three of Fresno's nine runs against Koronka were unearned.
Outfielders Jason Dubois and David Kelton highlighted the Cubs offense yet again. Kelton had three hits and a pair of doubles while scoring twice. Dubois meanwhile hit another homerun to go with a single and two RBIs on the night. He increased his average to .325 for the year and has been hitting the cover off of the ball lately. Dubois is one off the lead in the PCL with 12 homers. He is on an eight-game hitting streak that has seen his average jump 49 points. IF Brendan Harris started at shortstop again, and drove in his first pair of RBIs on the year.
Former Cubs reliever Dave Veres worked the ninth for the Grizzlies and picked up his fourth save of the season in AAA.
PROSPECT WATCH: David Kelton has been hitting very well as of late, increasing his batting average 12 points in the last two games. Kelton has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games, and has nine RBIs in that span. Both he and Jason Dubois have been two of the best hitters for the Cubs this season.
ON DECK: Round two of Iowa vs. Fresno is set for 6:05 on Wednesday night at Sec Taylor Stadium. Veteran pitcher David Manning is expected to get his second start for the Cubs against the Grizzlies Kevin Correia. The Cubs are now 18-15 on the year, still a game ahead of the Albuquerque Isotopes for first place.
AA-West TennesseeJACKSON, Tenn. - The Jaxx are clicking at the right time, winning their sixth straight on Tuesday by a final of 7-2 over the Tennessee Smokies. Four different Jaxx players each had multi-hits games on the night, as every starter but right fielder Mike Mallory recorded a hit.
Third baseman Matt Craig hit a 3-run home in the bottom of the first off Smokies starter Jeremy Cummings to put the game out of reach early. First baseman Micah Hoffpauir also continued to hit well, going 2-for-5 on the night with a double and pair of RBIs.
Outfielder Aron Weston also continued to hit very well, going 2-for-4 on the night to increase his average to .313 for the year.
RHP Ricky Nolasco picked up his first win of the year, despite pitching well in five previous starts. Nolasco gave up two runs in six innings while striking out three. Left-handed reliever Russ Rohlicek and closing pitcher Jared Blasdell finished it off, throwing two innings of shutout ball.
PROSPECT WATCH: Third baseman Matt Craig must have been itching to get back onto the playing field since he has been a force for opposing pitchers to contend with in 14 games back from the disabled list. Craig already has three homeruns, 10 RBIs and a pair of doubles to support his .361 batting average. His slugging percentage is currently at .667, with an XBH at 38.5. He already has 10 RBIs on the year.
ON DECK: The Jaxx will look to keep on winning on Wednesday morning when they take on the Smokies again at 11:05 AM CT. It will be an interesting game, as the prospects will be wearing the uniforms of their parent clubs. The Jaxx are currently 17-14, a half a game above the Huntsville Stars for first place in the Western Division of the Southern League.
Class-A Daytona CubsMELBOURNE, Fla. - The Cubs and Manatees didn't do a ton of hitting Tuesday night, scoring only in the fifth inning. Fortunately for the Cubs, who scored three runs in the inning, Brevard County only drove in a pair.
RHP Rocky Cherry picked up his third win of the year, going seven strong innings, giving up only the two fifth inning runs while striking out six on the night. Cherry allowed only six base-runners and lowered his WHIP to 1.5 on the year.
Reliever Thomas Atlee pitched a perfect ninth inning with one strikeout for his second save on the year, while outfielder Adam Greenberg and DH Keith Butler both had a pair of hits and an RBI on the night for the Cubs.
PROSPECT WATCH: Outfielder/DH Keith Butler has been Daytona's best hitter so far this year, as he is the only Cub with a .300 average (.316). Butler has been speedy on the basepaths as well, leading the Cubs with eight stolen bases this season. He has also scored 14 times and driven in 12 men of his own.
ON DECK: The Cubs will head back to Daytona on Wednesday when LHP Carlos Vasquez and company take on the St. Lucie Mets at 6:00 CT. Daytona is now 16-17 on the year, 3.5 games behind the Palm Beach Cardinals and climbing to .500 ball.
Class-A Lansing LugnutsBURLINGTON, Iowa - LHP Sean Marshall has been one of the best pitchers in the Midwest league this season, but due to an inefficient offense, he has not factored in a decision in his last five starts.
That all changed Tuesday night.
Marshall went the distance Tuesday, tossing a complete game, 2-hit shutout as Lansing blanked the Burlington Bees, 6-0. Marshall struck out nine on the night and did not allow a walk to improve to 2-0 on the year.
First baseman Brian Dopirak provided enough offense for Marshall with his 11th homerun of the year off Royals prospect Ambiorix Burgos. DH Kevin Collins also had another great night for the Lugnuts, going 2-for-4 with an RBI. Shortstop Carlos Rojas was a good table-setter for the Lugnuts Tuesday, scoring three runs with a pair of hits and one walk.
PROSPECT WATCH: Center fielder Chris Walker has remained stellar at the top of the order for the Lugnuts. His .308 average and .380 OBP have gotten him on base a lot in the year. After he gets on base, Walker turns his feet loose, having stole 19 bases already this year to lead the Midwest League. The 23-year-old is a bit old for the Class Mid-A league, and could see a callup soon.
ON DECK: Lansing will look to win their fifth in a row on Wednesday at 7:00 CT. RHP Ronald Bay is expected to take the mound for the Lugnuts, who are now 19-13 on the year and four games behind South Bend (winners of eight of their last 10) in the MWL's Eastern Division.