I-Cubs' Summer Begins With Lake Stay
For the first time this season the best farm system in organized baseball comes to town as the suddenly first place Iowa Cubs scoot home from Omaha for a three-game set with the Memphis Redbirds that culminates with a pyrotechnic exclamation of patriotism on Independence Day Eve.
After an 0-6 stumble from the gate and falling to the nadir of nine games below .500 a couple of times during a soggy spring the I-Cubs have warmed and ripened with the coming of summer, playing at a .680 clip over their last 25 games to reach the .500 mark at 42-42.
This series with Memphis sets up as a showdown for the top spot in the PCL’s American North Division, if anyone cares. The visitors will arrive two games behind their hosts. A sweep would result in the teams swapping places in the standings but the chances for it are lessened by the return of uber-prospect Elvis Pres…er, Oscar Taveras to the DL last week after the recurrence of an ankle injury that’s nagged him all year.
Given the recent call-up of Brian Bogusevic and the twin fades of Josh (JV) Vitters and Brett (K) Jackson I suppose Junior Lake ranks as the local top prospect du jour. After 25 Triple A games and an even 100 AB’s Lake is hitting at a promising .320 clip though that rate has slowed to just .230 over his last 10 games. Random or not, the I-Cubs’ summer surge has coincided with Lake’s arrival. So far he’s logged 22 games at the hot corner and three in RF. Most of his eight errors have sprayed from a strong but erratic arm.
Here’s a nugget I panned from the team’s game notes prior to yesterday’s blanking at the hands of Omaha:
Home Total......... 237,255 / 39 dates Average - 6,083
Road Total......... 237,276 / 39 dates Average - 6,084
That’s pretty close. If you pencil out the actual difference between the home/road averages it’s closer to .5 persons per game. I got to thinking that if I were counted every time I visit those averages might reverse. I’m still maybe half the man I used to be. So Wednesday night six of us are going through the turnstiles as paid admissions for the fireworks gala. It figures to be the biggest crowd of the year, what with, you know, first place on the line and all. Sometimes the bush leagues are the place to be.