Coming into Sunday, Cubs top prospect Javier Baez was having a rough time in his first week of Triple-A baseball with the Iowa Cubs.

Baez was 0-for-9 with six strikeouts, although the final strikeout was a very questionable one, as it appeared he held up his bat on a check swing (I actually happened to be watching on MiLB.TV). The first base umpire thought otherwise, and rung up Baez for strike three. It was the kind of call that would frustrate any batter, but especially Baez after the start to his season. So Baez didn't take too kindly to the call and was soon ejected from Saturday's game by the home plate umpire.

Iowa manager Marty Pevey kept Baez out of the lineup on Sunday. Not for disciplinary reasons or anything, but just to give the SuperProspect a mental rest. The Des Moines Register's Tommy Birch tweeted the following before the game:
And perhaps the veterans' words of wisdom/encouragement paid off for Baez already. In the seventh inning, Baez came to the plate as a pinch-hitter with Iowa trailing Memphis 2-1, and launched a breaking ball offering over the left-center field wall for a home run to tie the game:

(Thanks to @PhilKJames for the video)

Not a bad way for him to respond to yesterday and pick up his first Triple-A hit, right?

Then in the eighth inning, Baez got another at-bat and came up just a few feet short of a grand slam on a well-hit flyball to the center field warning track:

(Thanks to @jaketoobie for the Vine)

Iowa won the game 4-3, so Baez's solo shot obviously played a big part in the victory too.

Hopefully Javy can build off of what he was able to do Sunday at the dish and swing the bat like we all know he can for Iowa. If he can, we'll see him playing at Wrigley within a few months.

Related: Kris Bryant hits his first two two home runs for Double-A Tennessee

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While the Cubs are really struggling to produce offense at the big-league level in 2014, the good news is that they are loaded with exciting bats in the farm system.

One such example is of course Kris Bryant, the second overall pick in the 2013 MLB draft, and Baseball America's No. 8 overall prospect in 2014. The 6'5" Bryant is in his first season at Double-A, playing for the Tennessee Smokies.

And in Bryant's first double-A at-bat, he took Cincinnati Reds ace Mat Latos (making a rehab start) deep:



Then in Bryant's second game in double-A, he hit home run No. 2:



WAY TO GO KRIS! WAY TO GO! WOOOOOOO!

That guy was pretty excited, but so are we when it comes to Kris Bryant. Bryant's likely to have a pretty short stay in Double-A if he keeps mashing like this.

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Editor's Note: We are very excited to now have 'The Cubs Word' writing for us here at The Blogfines. Many of you are likely familiar with his terrific Cubs/baseball commentary on Twitter, and if you aren't, get on that now and give him a follow: @TheCubsWord.

The Cubs and Pirates just completed the first series of the 2014 season. The Pirates took the series 2 games to 1. 

The Good

Emilio Bonifacio  (pictured above) beginning 11 for 16, 2 2B, 4-4 SB attempts (although he did get picked off twice, almost three times – but let’s forget about that for now)
Cubs have a real steal on their hands with Bonifacio. He can play MIF, OF, switch-hit, steal bases and apparently get on base as well. He showing the type of talent he displayed in his 2011 breakout season and lets enjoy it while it lasts.

Justin Grimm, Brian Schlitter, Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, and James Russell all combined for 9 IP, 1 ER, 3 BB, 11K.
Most of these five were very good in the bullpen. I would’ve included Wesley Wright but he did walk a few and put us in a tough situation that he eventually got out of (and hey, Matt Clapp got a Wesley Wright jersey out of the deal!)

Luis Valbuena going 3 for 7, 1 RBI, 3 BB.
We all love Mike Olt but Valbuena had an exceptional series including a clutch hit on Wednesday. There’s no reason to root against him and he offers the Cubs versatility in the lineup as well as a nice bat off the bench assuming Olt gets the majority of 3B ABs going forward.

Cubs pitchers held Pirates to a team AVG of .175, .219 SLG and allowed only three XBH.

Despite having Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte, Pittsburgh didn’t steal a base in the three games.

The Cubs turned an MLB-leading (as of now) six double plays.

Cubs starting pitchers combined for two quality starts, 19 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 13 K, 7 BB.

The Bad

Junior Lake: 6 K, 0 BB.
He does have four hits in 13 AB, but this means he’s gotten out nine times and six of those have been by strikeout. Lake is going to strikeout, but he needs to walk more for Ks to be somewhat acceptable. All in all, I didn’t have much of a problem with Lake and he’s even accounted for four saved runs (according to @fieldingbible)

Starlin Castro: 1 for 13.
I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt coming off an injury and not playing many games in Spring Training. He did drive a single to right today; exactly what I want to see more of from him this year. He was much more compact and short to the ball in 2010 and 2011, his wide-open stance and leg kick are worrisome.

Dropping the series 1-2.

The Ugly

Jose Veras and Carlos Villanueva
A couple of bad outings. Whatever. They’ll be better in time.

Neil Walker!

All in all it was a tough-fought series, including a 16-inning game that shaved a few years off of all our lives. Cubs take on the Philadelphia Phillies Friday at 1:20 PM CT for their home opener at Wrigley Field.

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On Thursday afternoon at Pittsburgh's PNC Park, Cubs outfielder Junior Lake wore the wrong Cubs jersey in the first inning of the team's game against the Pirates. Because, you know, #Cubes.

While the rest of the Cubs team was wearing the new road jersesy with 'C-U-B-S' on the front, Lake had on the 'C-H-I-C-A-G-O' one:


Cubs reliever Justin Grimm alerted Lake about the jersey from the bullpen, and Lake soon realized this, as he looked down at his jersey and then at teammate Emilio Bonifacio's jersey in center field. That realization was fantastic and can be seen at about the 50-second mark of the video above. When that half-inning ended, Lake returned to the Cubs' locker room to put on the correct jersey.

Lake explained after the game about when he realized he had on the wrong jersey:

The fact that Lake refers to Grimm as "bullpen guy" may be the best part of all of this. 

Oh, and somehow the Cubs actually won this game 3-2, for their first win of the season.

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