Cubs not playoff-bound, but three affiliates are

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Cubs top prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong called his shot this weekend, before the Single-A South Bend Cubs opened the postseason at home Tuesday against the Cedar Rapids Kernels.

“We’re going to go win at home,” Crow-Armstrong said in a conversation with the Sun-Times during their final regular-season series, also against the Kernels, “then we’re going to come back here one more time, say goodbye to Cedar Rapids and move on to the next. That’s the plan.”

The South Bend Cubs completed the first part of that plan on Tuesday, beating the Kernels 2-1 in Game 1 of the High-A Midwest League West Championship Series. Three Cubs affiliates clinched playoff berths.

The Cubs’ Low-A affiliate, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, also started postseason play on Tuesday. They lost to the Charleston RiverDogs 6-1 in Game 1 of the Carolina League South Championship Series. The Double-A Tennessee Smokies open postseason play next week.

“It’s really a testament to our managers and on-field staff, but our managers, especially,” Cubs vice president of player development Jared Banner said. “Creating a winning culture is really important to us. We think if we are developing players the right way, then we are naturally going to win some games. And this year, we’ve been able to do that.”

Myrtle Beach claimed a postseason berth as the first-half division winner. Both Tennessee and South Bend earned their spot in the playoffs for their second-half performances.

“It was our common goal,” South Bend manager Lance Rymel said. “We had a winning [record] in the first half of the season, but I feel like we underachieved just a tad. And the whole team thought we could make the playoffs, and that was our goal, and keep developing.”

Thompson to rehab assignment

Right-hander Keegan Thompson (low back tightness) is set to start a rehab assignment on Friday, according to the Cubs. The team has not yet announced where he will begin his assignment.

Thompson has been sidelined since Aug. 20. In addition to the back tightness, the Cubs have been monitoring the natural fatigue from Thompson’s first full major-league season.

Ortega breaks finger

Cubs outfielder Rafael Ortega broke his left ring finger attempting to bunt during a 4-1 win against the Mets on Tuesday, according to the team. The injury ends his season.

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