Pitching took the spotlight this week. The organization said goodbye to Ryan Buchter, J.R. Mathis, and Robert Coello; said hello to a new face in Rodrigo Lopez, and welcomed an old face in Randy Wells back to the big league club. Larry Suarez, Marcus Hatley, Ryan Searle, Alberto Cabrera, and Marco Carrillo all received new assignments. And Justin Berg and Casey Coleman were on the Des Moines shuttle.
All of this, and more, in this week’s Down on the Farm Report. Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (28-22)
Dallas Beeler and Bryce Shafer started the week with a startling revelation, they’re not perfect. Monday’s game against Clinton was Beeler’s first rough outing, with three earned runs in 4.1 innings. The previously untouchable Shafer didn’t fare any better, allowing an earned run in his 1.2 innings. However, Alvaro Sosa put an end to the LumberKings’ scoring, with two scoreless innings for his second victory. Marcus Hatley added a scoreless ninth.
The top four in the line-up came to play Monday, accounting for ten of Peoria’s fourteen hits. Matt Szczur and Elliot Soto were each 3-for-5, Szczur stole his twelfth base and Soto drove in two runs. Greg Rohan was 2-for-4 with an RBI and Ryan Cuneo was 2-for-5 and three RBI. Anthony Giansanti added a two run bomb while Kyung-Min Na stole his first base as the Chiefs won 9-4.
Peoria doubled their pleasure on Thursday, completing a suspended game with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers with a 6-4 victory. Graham Hicks started and allowed an earned run in his three innings of work. Cameron Greathouse piggy-backed on Hicks and pitched two innings, allowing two earned runs and getting credit for the victory. Robinson Lopez, in his new role as closer, picked up his first save with one earned run in two innings of work.
Pierre LePage led the Chiefs’ offense. The plucky second baseman was 3-for-4 and cranked his second homer of the season. Anthony Giansanti was 2-for-3 with a double and a stolen base.
As Pete Vonachen’s friend Harry Caray would say “the big opossum walks late” as Peoria scored four in the bottom of the fifth to record a 4-1 victory over Wisconsin in Thursday’s regularly scheduled game. Anthony Giansanti started the fireworks with a two-run blast. Kyung-Min Na scored on Matt Szczur’s double, while Szczur scored as Pierre LePage reached on an error. The inning ended when LePage was thrown out at the plate on Greg Rohan’s double.
Hayden Simpson recoded his best outing to date and picked up his first professional win. Simpson went five innings and struck out seven, his only run allowed was unearned. Usually piggy-backing on Simpson, Eric Jokisch pitched two scoreless innings and picked up his first save.
Coming off of two losses, Peoria scored five runs in the second inning and never looked back, as they sailed past the Cedar Rapids Kernels 8-1 on Sunday. Anthony Giansanti stole the show, as he was 2-for-5 with two home runs (including a grand slam) and six RBI. Matt Szczur added his first career homer, a solo blast. Pierre LePage, Ryan Cuneo, and Elliot Soto also joined in fun, each having a multi-hit game.
Once again, Graham Hicks turned in a fine performance. The lefty one-hit Cedar Rapids over five innings and struck out five. Unfortunately, the only hit he gave up was a solo home run, but still was credited with his first victory. Su-Min Jung piggy-backed on Hicks, and pitched four scoreless innings for his first save.
High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (39-12)
Daytona seemed to be on cruise control on Monday with Aaron Kurcz on the mound. Kurcz spotted St. Lucie a run in the first, and then shut down the Mets for the next three innings, striking out five while walking one. Eduardo Figueroa picked up the win, allowing two earned runs in his 2.2 innings. Ryan Searle finished out the game blanking the Mets over 2.1 innings.
The D-Cubs started their scoring with Michael Burgess (1-for-4, three RBI) blasting a three run homer in the first inning. Justin Bour (3-for-4, two RBI, stolen base) and Jake Opitz (1-for-4, RBI) also went deep for Daytona. Matt Cerda and Rubi Silva also recorded multi-hit games, as the D-Cubs beat the Mets 8-3.
Daytona was up 4-0 on St. Lucie after four innings, but would have to rely on a Jake Opitz two-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to defeat the Mets 9-7 Tuesday. Starter Brett Wallach was in control though four, but allowed three earned runs in the next 1.1 innings. Jordan Latham didn’t fare much better, with four earned runs in 1.2 innings. Juan Serrano shut out St. Lucie for the final two innings to record his third victory.
In addition to Opitz, Junior Lake and Justin Bour also homered to help bring the D-Cubs back. Bour hit a solo shot in the seventh, while Lake drove in Logan Watkins with a two-run bomb in the eighth. Opitz then hit his second home run in as many nights, with Bour on base as part of the walk-off victory.
On Wednesday, Nick Struck dazzled the St. Lucie Mets, striking out eight and walking none over six innings, as the D-Cubs won 5-0. Ryan Buchter and Frank Bautista mopped up, Buchter striking out three batters in a two hour, twenty-two minute game (or about two American League innings). Seven Daytona batters contributed to their eight hits. Rubi Silva went 2-for-3 and slugged his second home run.
The number 13 was lucky for Daytona on Thursday, as the D-Cubs outlasted Bradenton 6-4 for their ninth straight win. Evan Crawford (2-for-3) was in the middle of Daytona’s scoring, doubling in their first run and stealing his thirteenth base. Crawford scored on Justin Bour’s (1-for- 4) thirteenth home run. Matt Cerda and Michael Brenly were also big contributors, each with two hits.
Dae-Eun Rhee continued the string of dominant performances by Daytona starters. Rhee went five innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out ten. Brent Ebinger followed and allowed two earned runs in the two innings he worked, being tagged with a blown save but getting the win. Eduardo Figueroa tidied up the mess with a scoreless two-thirds of an inning for his third hold. Frank Bautista went the rest of the way for his thirteenth save.
For four innings on Friday, the Bradenton Marauders and the D-Cubs sized each other up. Then Bradenton exploded for five earned runs on Daytona starter Jeffrey Lorick. It was up to Daytona’s bats, and they responded. Leading the way was the awakening bat of Logan Watkins, who was 3-for-4 with a triple and three runs scored. Watkins scored on Junior Lake’s three-run jack in the sixth inning, which put Daytona ahead for good. Lake would end up 2-for-5, adding a triple to his homer and driving in five runs. Matt Cerda and Rubi Silva also had multi-hit games, as Daytona came back to win 9-5.
Coming in for Lorick in the fifth, Jordan Latham pitched three scoreless innings, striking out four for his third victory. New D-Cub Marcus Hatley went 1.1 innings to record his first Florida State League save.
Daytona ran their win streak to eleven games on Saturday, coming from behind to beat Bradenton 4-3. The D-Cubs fell behind as Aaron Kurcz allowed three earned runs on two home runs in the top of the second inning. Juan Serrano, Eduardo Figueroa, and Brent Ebinger blanked the Marauders the rest of the way, Ebinger earning the victory.
Daytona started their comeback in the bottom of the second, as Jake Opitz came around on Dustin Harrington’s first hit as a member of the D-Cubs. In the seventh, a single by Matt Cerda (2-for-5) and double by Evan Crawford (3-for-4) put runners on second and third. A wild pitch brought in Cerda, then Justin Bour (1-for-4) doubled home Crawford to tie the score. In the bottom of the ninth, a throwing error not only allowed Cerda to reach, but also advance to third. Crawford then singled him home for the game winner.
It looked as if Daytona would end up sweeping Bradenton on Sunday, but the Marauders made it close. The D-Cubs enjoyed a 4-2 lead thanks to the pitching of Brett Wallach. Wallach allowed only two runs (one earned) in his five innings pitched, striking out five batters. Oswaldo Martinez pitched a scoreless 1.2 innings for his first hold. However, Marcus Hatley would get dusted up for two earned runs in his inning to tie the score at 4-4.
A Daytona comeback started with a Michael Burgess walk with one out in the eighth. After advancing on a wild pitch, Burgess came home on Jake Opitz’s (3-for-4, two doubles, RBI) single. A wild pitch and groundout advanced Opitz to third, and then was driven in on Chad Noble’s (2-for-4, two RBI) single. Frank Bautista recorded the final three outs for a 6-4 victory … and the D-Cubs 12th win in a row.
Junior Lake, Evan Crawford, and Justin Bour also enjoyed multi-hit games.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (32-18)
Down 4-1 to Mobile in the fifth inning on Monday, Tennessee mounted a comeback to secure a 6-5 victory. Leading the charge was Luis Flores (2-for-2, two RBI), whose solo homer sparked the rally. Rebel Ridling also belted a two-run homer to tie the game. The final two runs came in on a ground out and wild pitch. Marwin Gonzalez and D.J. LeMahieu joined Flores in recording a multi-hit game.
Trey McNutt pitched his longest outing of the season, five innings, allowing four runs (three earned) while striking out four. Ty’Relle Harris followed with an earned run in 1.2 innings. Jeffrey Beliveau blanked the BayBears in 1.1scoreless innings, and got credit for the win. Chris Carpenter earned his first save in wild fashion. The tying run tried to score for second on a stolen base and wild pitch, only to be tagged out at home on a throw from Flores to Carpenter.
Tennessee manager Brian Harper has been on the money with most decisions this season. However, he may have stuck with Alberto Cabrera for too long on Tuesday. Cabrera was in control of Mississippi, shutting them out through six innings. In the seventh, Cabrera allowed a three-run homer to spoil his evening. Kyle Smit came on and didn’t fare much better, allowing two earned runs in two-thirds of an inning. The Smokies then turned to “Senor Todo” (Mister Everything) Marco Carrillo, who recorded the final four outs for his third save as Tennessee defeated the Braves 10-5.
Tennessee didn’t start the scoring until the fourth, but did so with style. Ryan Flaherty and Nelson Perez each had two-run home runs as part of a five run inning. Jae-Hoon Ha then started out the fifth by cranking a solo shot, as the Smokies scored another five runs. In all, Ha, Flaherty, Perez, Matt Spencer, and Blake Lalli each had multi-hit games as Tennessee pounded out thirteen hits.
The Smokies extended their winning streak to nine games on Wednesday, as they defeated the Mississippi Braves 10-6. Luis Flores had a highlight-reel game, going 2-for-3 with two home runs and three RBI. Rebel Ridling also had three hits, including a home run, a stolen base, and three RBI. D.J. LeMahieu and Josh Vitters also had multi-hit games.
Brooks Raley had another uneven outing, allowing three earned runs in his first three innings. Raley would straighten himself out to strike out four and walk two in 5.1 innings. Hung-Wen Chen came on and allowed three unearned runs in 1.2 innings after an error by Vitters. Chris Carpenter started an inning ending double play, as he pitched two scoreless innings to finish out the game.
After dropping the opening game of a double-header to the Mississippi Braves, Tennessee brought out their bats to take the nightcap 7-2. Robert Whitenack started the game and sailed through the first two innings. With two outs in the third, Whitenack had to leave the game with an undisclosed injury (reports Sunday indicated Whitenack has a right elbow strain). Recently promoted Ryan Searle came in and allowed two earned runs in his first taste of Double-A action. Searle would get the win, as Ty’Relle Harris and Jeffrey Beliveau blanked the Braves for an inning apiece.
Luis Flores continues to be unstoppable in his Double-A debut, crushing his fifth home run, a three-run shot. Marwin Gonzalez joined Flores with a multi-hit game, as the Smokies pounded out ten hits in the seven innings affair.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (22-28)
After dropping their first two games this week, Iowa fans were treated to the Brad Snyder show on Wednesday. Snyder was 3-for-5 with an RBI, stolen base, and an outfield assist as the I-Cubs defeated Las Vegas 7-3. Bryan LaHair continued his quest for the PCL home run crown by blasting his twelfth of the season as part of a 2-for-3 night. Marquez Smith, Chris Robinson, and recently activated Ty Wright also had multi-hit games.
Ramon Ortiz is starting to show signs of life in his 38 year-old arm. Ortiz pitched seven innings, allowing three earned runs and striking out eight batters. Blake Parker and John Gaub each tossed a scoreless inning, with Parker earning a hold.
After two more losses, Iowa found themselves in a familiar position on Saturday against Red Rock. The I-Cubs jumped out to a two run lead in the top of the second, as Jonathan Mota (3-for-4) singled in both runs. Iowa starter Austin Bibens-Dirkx, who was cruising through five innings, then allowed four earned runs on two home runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Iowa has a recent history of folding in these situations, but not this game. Bobby Scales (2-for-4) led off the eighth with a solo home run. Mota drove in his third run of the game in the ninth to tie the score. Tyler Colvin then delivered a two-out single, driving in two to push the score to 6-4. Blake Parker stopped the bleeding with a scoreless seventh inning. John Gaub then blanked the Express over the final two innings to earn his second victory.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs called up OF Luis Montanez and OF Brad Snyder; optioned RHP Casey Coleman and RHP Justin Berg to Iowa.
The Chicago Cubs traded LHP Ryan Buchter to the Atlanta Braves for RHP Rodrigo Lopez, who was assigned to Chicago. Right-handed pitcher Brian Schlitter and RHP Andrew Cashner were transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
The Iowa Cubs released LHP J.R. Mathes and designated RHP Robert Coello for assignment. Outfielder Ty Wright and RHP Marco Carrillo were assigned to Iowa from Tennessee. Catcher Geovany Soto and RHP Ryan Searle were assigned to Tennessee. Right-handed pitcher Marcus Hatley was assigned to Daytona from Peoria. Right-handed pitcher Larry Suarez was assigned to Peoria from Boise.
Top Prospect Watch
- Michael Burgess (OF) – .194, .297 OBP, .698 OPS, 10 Doubles, 8 HR, 31 RBI, 6 Outfield Assists (Daytona Cubs)
- Chris Carpenter (RHP) – 1-1, 4.91 ERA, 7.1 IP, 4 ER, 3 K, 4 BB, Hold, Save 1.36 WHIP (Tennessee Smokies)
- Micah Gibbs (C) – .280, .417 OBP, .772 OPS, 4 Doubles, HR, 8 RBI, Stolen Base (Peoria Chiefs)
- Reggie Golden (OF) is in extended Spring Training
- Jae-Hoon Ha (OF) – .267, .320 OBP, .764 OPS, 3 Doubles, Triple, HR, 7 RBI, Outfield Assist (Tennessee Smokies)
- Brett Jackson (OF) – .295, .420 OBP, .938 OPS, 7 Doubles, 3Triples, 4 HR, 17 RBI, 13 Stolen Bases, 2 Outfield Assists (Tennessee Smokies) 3-for-8, Triple (Extended Spring Training)
- D.J. LeMahieu (IF) – .358, .386 OBP, .878 OPS, 15 Doubles, 2 Triples, 2 HR, 27 RBI, 4 Stolen Bases (Tennessee Smokies)
- Trey McNutt (RHP) - 1-2, 2.34 ERA, 34.2 IP, 9 ER, 22 K, 8 BB, 1.18 WHIP (Tennessee Smokies)
- Hayden Simpson (RHP) - 1-1, 4.05 ERA, 40.0 IP, 18 ER, 36 K, 15 BB 1.48 WHIP (Peoria Chiefs)
- Matt Szczur (OF) – .325, .396 OBP, .778 OPS, 5 Doubles, 10 RBI, 12 Stolen Bases, 2 Outfield Assists (Peoria Chiefs)
- Josh Vitters (3B) -.264, .306 OBP, .730 OPS, 11 Doubles, 5 HR, 25 RBI (Tennessee Smokies)
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