Another day, another roster move today as the Cubs brought right-handed reliever Miguel Socolovich up from Class AAA Iowa to add another arm to the bullpen. Socolovich, 26, was claimed off waivers from Baltimore Aug. 23 after he had been designated for assignment. He was 0-0 with a 6.97 ERA in 6 games for the O’s.
In Triple-A between Iowa and Norfolk, Socolovich was 4-0 with 2 saves and a 2.11 ERA. There is a Theo Epstein connection. The Red Sox signed him as a nondrafted free agent in 2004.
We have stuff before we get to the minor-league report, but as long as the Cubs soon will be naming their minor-league pitcher and player of the year, I was wondering whom you think should get the awards. I may go with Eric Jokisch for pitcher and Justin Bour for player. More in a bit here.
The Cubs send lefty Travis Wood against the Giants’ Matt Cain, who is 13-5 with a 2.82 ERA. Wood is 4-11 with a 4.71 ERA, and he has not won since July 6. He has lost eight straight since then.
“He had the unfortunate, about 2 or 3 starts here, the wind was blowing out when it hasn’t really blown out a whole lot this year,” manager Dale Sveum said of Wood. “He actually got a couple of those starts. I’m not saying every ball wouldn’t have been a home run, but I think about three-quarters of them were just routine flyballs in most parks. It’s a little bit inflated because of that.
“On the other hand sometimes, we’ve all played with the wind blowing in pretty hard. But he’s done a good job, and I think the transition, going into spring training understanding now about how to pitch instead of just bowling everybody inside with the cutter and fastball. That’s a whole other entity of how to pitch.”
From the game notes: Carlos Marmol has converted his last 16 save opportunities dating to May 2. His career best is 18 straight, Aug. 21, 2010 to April 2, 2011 … Alfonso Soriano is the only major-league left fielder to have handled at least 150 total chances without an error this season. He has had 212 total chances and is one of seven qualifying outfielders overall without an error, including Milwaukee’s Nyjer Morgan and St. Louis’ John Jay … The Cubs have used 27 pitchers this season, a franchise record that surpasses the old mark of 25, set in 1999. If you remember that year, the Cubs had guys like Brad Woodall, Dan Serafini, Micah Bowie and Joey Nation. OK, I’ll stop.
As to our minor-league question, Justin Bour has a hitting line of .286/.363/.462 for Class AA Tennessee with 17 home runs and 110 RBI. He also has 60 walks and 110 strikeouts. He was named to the Southern League postseason all-star team. His 110 RBI lead the league, and he leads the Smokies with his .286 batting average, 142 hits, 36 doubles and 17 homers. Bour was a 25th-rounder in 2009 out of George Mason University.
My pitching candidate, Eric Jokisch, is 7-2 with a 2.91 ERA at Tennessee. At Class A Daytona earlier this year, he was 3-4 with a 3.48 ERA. Combined, Jokisch is 10-6 with a 3.11 ERA. In 159.1 innings, he gave up 141 hits while walking 49 and striking out 115.
Jokisch was an 11th-rounder in 2010 out of Northwestern. He’s a native of downstate Virginia, Ill.
MINOR LEAGUE ROUNDUP
Speaking of Jokisch and Tennessee, the Smokies had their five-game win streak end on a 3-2 walk-off loss at Pensacola. Jokisch got no decision, working 5 innings and giving up 6 hits and 1 run. Logan Watkins hit his ninth homer, and Matt Sczcur went 2-for-5 with a double.
Daytona (A) beat Brevard County 4-2. Matt Loosen got the win, working 5 innings and giving up 2 hits and 1 run while walking one and striking out six. He’s 11-5 with a 4.07 ERA. John Andreoli hit his first pro homer as he went 2-for-3 with a walk and 2 steals.
Peoria (A) fell 6-5 at Kane County, the future home of the Cubs’ Class A Midwest League affiliate. Jeffry Antigua took the loss, working 5.2 innings and giving up 8 hits and 6 runs. He’s 2-3 with a 2.63 ERA.
The Peoria Journal Star caught up with Tim Wilken, the former draft chief who now serves as a special assistant to Theo and Jed. Here is what Tim said to the paper about his first draft with the new regime: “It was a fun draft, probably the most fun one I’ve been associated with. It was different, bringing all the views together, the different sides of the coin. We’ve got the graybeards and then the creative guys. I think we went together as a really good mix.”
That, to me, is why Wilken was a keeper. As I wrote in the paper a short time ago, the conventional wisdom sure got stood on its head, didn’t it? A year ago, we all felt Oneri Fleita would be here a long time because of his contract extension and that Tim would be gone. Didn’t work out that way.
On Javier Baez, taking in the first round last year, Tim told the Journal Star: “The thing I really enjoyed — I was telling (Epstein) this — is he’s a very calm fielder. It’s not hard for him, but he plays very, very under control. That’s a hell of an attribute for a 19-year-old playing shortstop: that he plays under control. It takes a while for shortstops to play under control, and he’s got that quality.”
On finding Chiefs shortstop Tim Saunders in the 32nd round, Wilken told the paper: “He’s a prospect, not just an older collegiate guy. He runs well, has a good arm and can play two or three positions. He squares the ball up pretty good. To have a guy like that in 32nd round, I’m a very pleased guy.”
Boise (A) ended the regular season with a 12-11 walk-off over Everett. The Hawks host Everett in the first round of the playoffs, beginning Monday. Ian Dickson started and went 3.1 innings, giving up 5 hits and 6 runs.
Here are some Hawks notes:
Stephen Bruno finished the season with a 22-game hitting streak, with 15 RBI in the streak. He led the Northwest League with a .361 batting average.
Second baseman Gioskar Amaya was the league-leader in triples with 12.
Rock Shoulders and Dan Vogelbach led the team with 10 homers, 2 behind league’s leaders.