On The Farm: Iowa On Shaky Playoff Ground

On The Farm: Iowa On Shaky Playoff Ground

Friday Sept. 3, 2010
Posted: 8:40 a.m.
By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com
CUBSIowa AAA
The I-Cubs have been in or around first place for much of the season in the Pacific Coast Leagues American North Division so falling back into a first-place tie with Memphis on Thursday night isnt putting them in an unfamiliar position.

Still, it left Iowa with the unenviable task of having to win three of four games from the red-hot Redbirds this weekend in regular season-ending series at Principal Park. The Cubs head into the final weekend of the season having gone 6-6 in their last 12 games while the defending PCL champion Redbirds have won nine of 10.

That Memphis owns the tiebreaker with the I-Cubs made Thursdays loss at Albuquerque of much greater import. So even though Iowa has held a share of the division lead for the last 47 days wont mean much if it get off to a slow start this weekend.

The I-Cubs didnt get off to a slow start Thursday night, taking a 2-1 lead into the fifth inning before Austin-Bibens-Dirkx 5-4 ran out of gas. He allowed four of his five runs in that inning and Iowa never recovered. Bibens-Dirkx has had as much to do with Iowas mediocre play over the last two weeks as any other I-Cub. After beginning his Triple-A career in fine fashion, hes slumped badly, losing his last four starts and pitching to an 8.71 ERA in those games.

Brad Snyder remained hot, though, connecting for his 24th homer and driving in his 102nd run.

In other action, Peoria dropped a 5-3 decision at Kane County and was eliminated from the playoff race in the Midwest League. Boise eked out a 1-0 victory over as four pitchers held the Indians to five hits. Brent Ebinger started and earned the win, going five innings and striking out eight. Arismendy Alcantara brought in the games lone run in the third with a two-out single to right. He was 3-for-4.
WHITE SOXGreat Falls Rookie
Mike Earley scored on a fifth-inning wild pitch and that was the difference Thursday night as Great Falls defeated host Helena, 2-1. Steve Upchurch allowed a run over six innings to pick up his first victory since Aug. 1.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

Preview: Chris Sale faces Jose Quintana, White Sox Tuesday on CSN

Preview: Chris Sale faces Jose Quintana, White Sox Tuesday on CSN

 

The White Sox take on the Red Sox on Tuesday, and you can catch all the action on CSN and live streaming on CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports App.

Coverage begins with White Sox Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Jose Quintana (2-6, 4.82 ERA) vs. Chris Sale (5-2, 2.34 ERA)

Click here for more stats to make sure you’re ready for the action.

— Channel finder: Make sure you know where to watch.

— Latest on the White Sox: All of the most recent news and notes.

Joe Maddon thinking shake-up for Cubs? ‘I have no idea what that would be’

Joe Maddon thinking shake-up for Cubs? ‘I have no idea what that would be’

SAN DIEGO – Joe Maddon looked down at the desk, shook his head and didn’t hesitate when asked if he was thinking about making some lineup changes to jolt the Cubs.

“I have no idea what that would be,” Maddon said after Monday’s 5-2 loss to the Padres at Petco Park. “We’ve tried everything possible. Guys have been rested. We’ve given guys days off. These are our players. I have all the faith in the world.”

The defending World Series champs are a .500 team through the Memorial Day checkpoint, but Maddon projected calm from the manager’s office to the cameras, expecting that message to filter out toward his clubhouse.

But this wasn’t the red-hot Dodgers pushing all the right bullpen buttons and executing a game plan almost flawlessly. The Cubs had Jarred Cosart on the ropes – and bases-loaded opportunities in the first, second and seventh innings – but still couldn’t deliver the knockout punch against a last-place team.

The Padres gave up 10 walks while the Cubs went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base.

“We came off a 7-2 homestand,” Maddon said. “Everybody loved us a couple days ago. Now all of a sudden, we’ve had a tough time scoring runs on the road. We just got to do better. That’s all this comes down to.”

[MORE CUBS: How Kris Bryant became the face of the never-panic Cubs]

Until Jason Heyward lined a 93-mph Cosart fastball into right field for a two-out, bases-loaded single and a 2-0 lead in the first inning, the middle of that homestand (May 21) had been the last time the Cubs scored without hitting a home run.

“Everybody’s proverbially trying way too hard,” Maddon said. “(Don’t) try to hit homers. Really, again, take what they give you. Play with the middle. You got to convince them to do it. They got to do it.

“It’s not complicated. You can see the big swings coming out of our zone when just a single would do. That’s it. We did it before. We can do it again. We just got to keep talking. But then you have to use the velvet hammer as opposed to a real one. Otherwise, you have no chance whatsoever.”