Two of the Chicago Cubs affiliates were in playoff action tonight. The Myrtle Beach Pelicans took a 1-0 lead in the Carolina league playoff series over the Salem Red Sox. The South Bend Cubs were also in action, losing in extras to West Michigan.
Myrtle Beach 8 – Salem 1
The Chicago Cubs High-A affiliate, Myrtle Beach Pelicans, received a strong outing from 21-year-old Trevor Clifton, who tossed five innings of one-run baseball. Clifton struck out six Salem hitters, while only giving up five hits in the process.
According to MLB Pipeline, he’s currently ranked as the No. 8 overall prospect in the Cubs’ organization.
Clifton is an interesting prospect. Drafted by the Cubs back in 2013 in the 12th round as a very raw high schooler, Clifton has turned into a legitimate arm. After some help from South Bend pitching coach Brian Lawrence, Clifton has made huge strides this season.
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Jeffrey Baez was one of the many bright spots on the night for the Pelicans. Baez went 2-for-5 at the plate, highlighted by a solo bomb in the bottom of the fourth to increase the lead to 8-0. Third basemen David Bote also drove in two runs on the night to go along with two hits of his own.
The Pelicans lit up Red Sox No. 5 prospect Michael Kopech for six runs through just 2 1/3 innings. They had no problem squaring up his high 90’s fastball, scattering five hits in the process. He boasted an impressive 2.25 ERA coming into the playoffs.
Game two of the three-game series will go tomorrow night in Salem. If the Pelicans can win one more, they will advance to the Carolina league finals against either Lynchburg or Potomac.
South Bend 2 West Michigan 3
The Single-A South Bend Cubs were in action, losing a heart breaker in 11 innings in game one of the Midwest league East Quarterfinals. South Bend received a strong outing from starting pitcher Oscar De La Cruz. The 21-year-old went six innings giving up two runs and eight hits while striking out seven.
De La Cruz is currently the #7 best prospect in the Cubs organization, thanks to a blistering fastball and a very physical build at 6’4′. Cubs fans could see the 21-year-old at Wrigley as soon as 2018, according to MLB pipeline.
Errors were a problem for the Cubs Single-A affiliate. Shortstop Isaac Paredes committed two throwing errors, both costing them runs that ultimately lost them the game.
The offense was rather quiet on this night for South Bend, collecting only eight hits. Right fielder Eddy Martinez had two, while six other players had a hit apiece.
West Michigan starter Kyle Dowdy held South Bend to just two runs over 5 1/3 innings pitched. Four Whitecaps relievers held the Cubs affiliate to just two hits for the rest of the game, striking out eight hitters in the process.
South Bend has a chance to tie the best of three series tomorrow night with home advantage at Four Winds field. First pitch is at 7:05pm ET.