Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 07/07/11

Pitching has been the key, as injuries and promotions created movement all throughout the system. Brett Jackson powered Tennessee to an extra innings victory, while the speedy Hawks stole a couple of wins in Boise … and more on Austin Kirk’s very special Fourth of July.

Along with News and Notes, as well as a weekly recap of action in the Dominican Summer League and the Arizona Rookie League… welcome to Thursday’s edition of the Down on the Farm Report.

Short Season-A – Boise Hawks (11-8)
Boise spotted Yakima two runs on Monday, and then rallied to defeat the Bears 5-4 in ten innings. Getting his first start, Austin Reed gave up two earned runs in his five innings. Jin-Yeong Kim took a turn as the piggyback starter and let in two earned runs in his three innings. Hector Mayora and Charles Thomas blanked Yakima the rest of the way.

Pin-Chieh Chen was a perfect 4-for-4 on the evening, with a double and an RBI. Wes Darvill was 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI, while Paul Hoilman hit his third dinger of the season. Yaniel Cabeza also had a multi-hit night.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

The Hawks looked like they were going to pull in with an easy victory over Yakima on Tuesday, until Bryce Shafer fell apart. The usually reliable closer allowed three runs in the ninth, and needed to be bailed out by Dustin Fitzgerald and the Hawks’ offense as Boise won 5-4 in ten innings. Willengton Cruz breezed through his four innings of work, allowing three hits and no runs while striking out four batters. Joe Zeller followed with two strikeouts and an earned run in four innings.

The Speed of the Hawks was their savior again as Wes Darvill beat out an error, and then advanced with a throwing error with two outs in the tenth. Darvill then came home for the game winner on a single by Kenny Socorro (2-for-5, RBI). Paul Hoilman led the way for Boise, going 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI, Ben Klafczynski and Brad Zapenas also had multi-hit games.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (38-45)
While Daytona may have had the fireworks, Austin Kirk provided the oohs-and-aahs on the Fourth of July as he no-hit the Clinton Lumber Kings for a 2-0 Peoria victory. Kirk struck out a career-high 10 hitters, walked two and faced just one over the minimum on 101 pitches. The previous no-hitter for the Chiefs was last season, when Nick Struck no-hit Clinton in a rain-shortened five-inning game. But the last time a Chief threw a nine-inning no hitter was back in 1988.

Peoria was actually getting no-hit themselves through five innings. Matt Szczur broke up the no-no in the sixth, while Brandon May was 3-for-4. Richard Jones and Ryan Cuneo drove in Peoria’s only runs.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Click Here for a Video Highlight of Kirk’s No Hitter

Maybe it was hangover from the previous evening, but Peoria looked flat as they allowed Clinton five runs, and then watched their comeback fall short as the Chiefs lost to the Lumber Kings 5-3. Tuesday marked the debut of two pitchers. Starling Peralta opened the game with six strikeouts in five innings, allowing only an earned run. Pete Levitt wasn’t so lucky, letting in four earned runs in an inning of work. Veteran Alvaro Sosa, along with P.J. Francescon shut out Clinton the rest of the way. Matt Szczur was 3-for-4, while Ryan Cuneo was 2-for-3 with a double. Brandon May had his second consecutive multi-hit night.

The Chiefs relied on the strong pitching of Eric Jokisch, as the Chiefs outlasted the Beloit Snappers 3-2 on Wednesday. Jokisch went six scoreless innings, striking out four batters. Yohan Gonzalez allowed two runs (one earned) in two innings. Brent Ebinger picked up his first save with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

Arismendy Alcantara provided the highlights for the Chiefs, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base. Ryan Cuneo was 3-for-4, while Anthony Giansanti and Matt Szczur drove in Peoria’s other two runs.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

High Class-A Daytona Cubs – (54-30)
Daytona provided their home fans with fireworks, as they defeated the Tampa Yankees in a 12-5 laugher on Monday. The surprising hero was Rafael Valdes, who was 3-for-3 with a double, home run, and four RBI. Michael Brenly had a pair of doubles and two RBI in his 2-for-4 afternoon. Evan Crawford also had a multi-hit game.

Brett Wallach had a fine outing, allowing two earned runs while striking out three in five innings. Jeffry Antigua allowed an earned run in his three innings, while Larry Suarez let in his first two runs of the season.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Turnabout may be fair play, as Tampa jumped out to a 7-0 lead to cruise to an 8-5 victory over Daytona on Tuesday. Angel Guzman started off the D-Cubs well, striking out two in two scoreless innings. However, Casey Harman was rocked for seven earned runs in two innings. Aaron Kurcz and Frank Batista tried to keep Daytona close, Kurcz allowing an earned run. Matt Cerda had two doubles in his 2-for-4 evening, while Michael Burgess crept over the “Mendoza line” with a double and his tenth home run in his 2-for-4 performance.

Tampa may have the D-Cubs’ number, as the Yankees again mounted a 7-0 lead, winning 7-1 on Wednesday. Dae-Eun Rhee took the loss, and he allowed six runs (five earned) while striking out six in five innings. Eduardo Figueroa was tagged for an unearned run in two innings, while Larry Suarez third baseman Dustin Harrington mopped up with two scoreless innings. Justin Bour and Rafael Valdes had Daytona’s only hits.

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (51-33)
Tennessee saw “badBrooks Raley on Monday, with the Jekyll-and-Hyde left hander allowing four earned runs in two innings as the Smokies got smoked by Montgomery 10-1. Esmailin Caridad then came on and allowed five runs (four earned) in 2.1 innings. Caridad was placed on the disabled list following the game. Marcus Hatley allowed the final run, while Kyle Smit threw two scoreless innings. Nate Samson was 2-for-4 with a double and home run, his second in three games.

It was all Brett Jackson, as the centerfielder belted two solo homers to provide Tennessee’s only scoring as they defeated Montgomery 2-1 in ten innings on Tuesday.

Ryan Searle was given his first start, and only allowed a run in four innings, striking out four batters. Oswaldo Martinez, making his Double-A debut, struck out two as he blanked the Biscuits for two innings. Tennessee then relied on their “veterans”, as Kevin Rhoderick, Jeffrey Beliveau, and Jeff Stevens shutout Montgomery to end the game.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

The Smokies ran into a buzz saw on Wednesday, as they were two-hit in a 3-1 loss to Montgomery. Dallas Beeler had a fine effort, keeping Tennessee in the game by allowing three earned run and striking out four over seven innings. Rebel Ridling provided the only scoring for the Smokies by belting his thirteenth home run.

Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (41-45)
While the I-Cubs managed seven hits, they couldn’t push across enough runs as they lost to Oklahoma City 3-2 on Monday. Both D.J. LeMahieu and Brad Snyder were 2-for-4 with a double, Snyder plating both runs. Austin Bibens-Dirkx kept on serving up the gopher ball, allowing two solo homers as part of his three earned runs in six innings. Blake Parker had two scoreless innings.

Wasting a six-run, twelve-hit output, Iowa ended up giving away the game to Oklahoma City 7-6 on Tuesday. With the game tied 6-6 in the bottom of the ninth, Justin Berg imploded, allowing a double, hit-batter, wild pitch, and a single to bring in the winning run. Alberto Cabrera allowed four runs (three earned) in 5.2 innings, striking out three batters. John Gaub gave up an earned run in 1.1 innings of work. Marwin Gonzalez continued his blistering pace, going 3-for-5 with a double and a triple. Welington Castillo was 2-for-4, while Scott Moore was also 2-for-4 with a home run.

Rookie – AZL Cubs (9-4)
Your first place AZL Cubs is currently leading the East Division by a half a game over the AZL Giants. Third baseman Dustin Geiger continues to “rake it”, batting .420 with two homers and twelve RBI. IF Gioskar Amaya is currently at .395 with nine RBI. Outfielders Eduardo Gonzalez and Oliver Zapata are at .343 and .324 respectively. Outfielder Blair Springfield has come on recently, batting .333 with a homer and seven RBI.

Pitching has been impacted recently, as several members of the staff have been promoted. In their place, the organization brought down Yilver Sanchez, Santo Rodriguez, and Hayden Simpson. Brian Smith and James Pugliese are the ERA leaders; Smith with a 1.46 and Pugliese with a 0.00. Hunter Ackerman assumes being the strikeout leader with fifteen against a 3.86 ERA.

Dominican Summer League
This week in the Dominican Summer League, the Cubs 1 team has a record of 14-16 and the Cubs 2 team is currently 16-14.

Outfielders Mayke Reyes and Jeffrey Baez, along with OF-1B Xavier Batista continue to be the offensive leaders on C-1. Reyes is hitting .338 with three home runs, fifteen RBI, and seventeen stolen bases. Baez has raised his average to .308 with two home runs, sixteen RBI, and nineteen stolen bases. Batista remains the power and RBI man, hitting five long flies and plating seventeen, along with a .278 average. Right-handed pitcher Alexander Santana continues to do the heavy lifting in the rotation, sporting a 3-0 record with a 1.54 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, and fifteen strikeouts. Relievers Augusto Colinas and Roderik Pichardo have lowered their ERA’s to 2.21 and 2.12 respectively.

On C-2, the big three of 3B Jeimer Candelario, OF Delbis Arcila, and SS Carlos Penalver continue to shine. Candelario is hitting .353 with twenty-four RBI and twenty-four walks. Arcila has four home runs and twenty-eight RBI to go along with a .291 average. Penalver sparks the top of the order with a .292 average, eight stolen bases and nineteen RBI. Left-handed reliever Richard Leyba has emerged recently, with a 3-0 record and a 1.26 ERA in 14.1 innings.

News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs called up RHP Ramon Ortiz and RHP Chris Carpenter from Iowa; optioned RHP Casey Coleman to Iowa. Left-handed pitcher Christopher Rusin and RHP Nick Struck were assigned to Iowa from Tennessee.

Tennessee placed RHP Rafael Dolis and RHP Esmailin Caridad on the 7-Day disabled list. Right-handed pitcher Oswaldo Martinez and RHP Marcus Hatley were assigned to Tennessee from Daytona. Right-handed pitcher Matt Loosen assigned to Tennessee from Peoria. Right-handed pitcher Larry Suarez assigned to Daytona from Peoria. Left-handed pitcher Frank Del Valle and RHP Pete Levitt were assigned to Peoria from the AZL Cubs.

Follow the CCO on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver