Iowa Manager Buddy Bailey and his hapless Iowa Cubs will happily depart Nashville this afternoon, having dropped four straight to the Milwaukee AAA Nashville Sounds. During those four games the I-Cubs were outscored by a combined total of 20-4 and out hit 40-17. Nashville has now won seven straight and the Cubs have dropped four straight.
Joe Aiello was savvy enough to obtain a press pass with the Sounds organization so I was able to attend the last two games in Herschel Greer Stadium. Some of you may know that the Brewers’ AAA team might leave Nashville because the team and the city have yet to come to an agreement for a new stadium. That notwithstanding I was impressed with the Sounds organization in general – they do a good job of developing young talent and their media relations man (Doug Scopel) has a mind like a steel trap. He is a veritable walking encyclopedia of minor league baseball.
The Iowa Cubs had two offensive players worth note – first baseman Micah Hoffpauir and catcher Koyie Hill. The rest of the offense looked “minor league average” and will have to make radical improvements if they are to have any chance whatsoever of seeing ivy-covered walls in 2007. The defense looked pretty good and several players shared time in both the infield and the outfield. Pitcher Les Walrond had a shaky start on Monday night and his fellow 2006 Chicago Cub Carlos Marmol gave up four runs in 5 1/3 innings pitched on Tuesday. Clay Rapada got rocked after relieving Marmol; my guess is that Rapada will soon be headed to Double A Tennessee.
The Brewers’ AAA franchise has two real bright spots – power-hitting third baseman Ryan Braun (pictured at right) leads the PCL in homeruns and right-handed starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo leads the PCL in strikeouts. They also got strong performances out of infielder Chris Barnwell and former Hanshin Tiger Chris Oxspring, who was the winning pitcher on Monday.
I look forward to seeing the Cubs play the Sounds again when they return to Nashville in late June – many thanks to Sounds Assistant GM Chris Snyder and Kellen Farmer for their hospitalities during my visits to Greer Stadium.