Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 07/21/11

The recent roster shake-ups have given all the teams in the Cubs’ system ‘The Promotion Blues’. Zeke DeVoss started out with a bang in Boise, while Luis Liria and Kyle Smit starts were more like a thud in Peoria and Daytona. Marco Carrillo had a nice “welcome back” in Tennessee, and the young Cubs in Iowa continue to impress.

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

Short Season-A – Boise Hawks (15-17)
Boise could only manage three hits on Sunday, as a second inning home run was Willengton Cruz’s undoing as the Hawks lost to Vancouver 1-0. Cruz went 5.2 innings and struck out eight batters. Dustin Fitzgerald and Charles Thomas blanked the Canadians the rest of the way. Pin-Chieh Chen, Rafael Lopez, and Wes Darvill recorded Boise’s only hits.

The Chicago Cubs’ 2011 third round draft pick Zeke DeVoss made a huge splash on Monday, stealing five bases in his Boise debut, but it wasn’t enough as the Hawks lost to Spokane 8-7. Starter Ben Wells and Kyler Burke seemed to have the Indians in control, allowing three earned runs over seven innings. Colin Richardson couldn’t get an out in the ninth, giving up three earned runs, while Bryce Shafer let in two more earned runs for the winning margin. Brad Zapenas (1-for-4, two RBI) joined DeVoss by swiping two bases. Rafael Lopez was 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Paul Hoilman plated two runs.

On Tuesday, Boise fielded a very speedy line-up, which included Zeke DeVoss, Brad Zapenas, Pin-Chieh Chen, Wes Darvill, Blair Springfield, and Kyung-Min Na. However, Juan Rosario allowed the Spokane Indians to bat around in a seven-run fifth inning, as the Hawks lost 10-3.

Starter Yao-Lin Wang dazzled, allowing one hit and striking out seven in four innings. Rosario ended up letting in eight runs (seven earned) in three innings. Charles Thomas gave up two more runs in the final innings. DeVoss finished 3-for-4, while Darvill was 2-for-4 and Paul Hoilman clubbed his seventh homer.

Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (42-53)
Luis Liria made his Peoria debut Sunday, and got his baptism as Fort Wayne put up seven runs (six earned) en route to a 16-7 loss for the Chiefs. Robinson Lopez came in for Liria and poured gas on the fire, allowing five earned runs in an inning. Dan Berlind quieted things down, tossing two innings of scoreless ball. Anthony Giansanti tried to aid a tired pitching staff, but gave up four runs (one earned) in the ninth. Peoria didn’t give up, scoring four of their seven runs in the final three innings. Arismendy Alcantara led the way, going 2-for-5 with a double and three runs scored. Elliot Soto was also 2-for-5, while Richard Jones was 2-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI.

In a rare Monday matinee, the Chiefs wasted a good outing by recently assigned Matt Loosen by dropping a 5-3 game to Fort Wayne in ten innings. Loosen held the TinCaps scoreless for five innings, striking out seven batters. Frank Del Valle followed and gave up all five runs (four earned) in 4.1 innings. Pete Levitt cleaned up the final 0.2 innings. Richard Jones tried to keep Peoria in the game, going 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI. Elliot Soto (1-for-4, double) drove in the other run, while Arismendy Alcantara was 2-for-5. Dustin Geiger was 1-for-4 with a double in his Peoria debut.

After a day off, Peoria was back on the field on Wednesday as their pitching crumbled in a 13-5 loss to Dayton. Starter Austin Kirk had a poor outing, surrendering nine earned runs in three innings. Yohan Gonzalez gave up an earned run in two innings, while Robinson Lopez let in three earned runs in two innings. Alvaro Sosa cleaned up with a scoreless inning. Taiwan Easterling was the Peoria offense, going 2-for-4 with a home run and a stolen base.

High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (59-37)
Daytona seems to be over the promotion blues, as they scored two quick runs in the first on Sunday, and then opened up the throttle as they blew past Bradenton 9-3. The D-Cubs swiped five bases including Evan Crawford‘s (1-for-3, RBI) organization leading 23rd, while Logan Watkins (1-for-4) pilfered two bases. Dustin Harrington (1-for-5) got his first steal, as did Matt Szczur (2-for-6, double) with his daring steal of home. Michael Brenly was 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Rafael Valdes was 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI.

Angel Guzman was named the surprise starter and gave up an earned run while striking out four in two innings. The reported starter, Dae-Eun Rhee, followed with five strong innings, allowing two runs (one earned) and striking out five batters. Eduardo Figueroa mopped up with an unblemished two innings and four strikeouts.

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Daytona looked to be cruising toward their 60th win, but a bad inning by Kyle Smit took the wind out of their sails as the D-Cubs lost on Monday to Bradenton 10-5. Starter Jeffry Antigua was great over four innings, and then allowed two of his three earned runs in his fifth inning of work. Smit came on and was shelled for five earned runs in 0.2 innings. Juan Serrano tried to put out the fire, but allowed two more earned runs over two innings. Jordan Latham got the final out. It spoiled an outstanding debut by Greg Rohan, who was 4-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Justin Bour and Michael Burgess crushed solo home runs, while Matt Szczur was 2-for-5 with a stolen base. Evan Crawford was also 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI.

Once again, Daytona pitching couldn’t hold a lead, as they lost to Bradenton 8-5 on Tuesday. With the D-Cubs up 4-3 after 3.5 innings, starter Jeffrey Lorick surrendered his fourth earned run. Aaron Kurcz then came in and gave up three earned runs in 1.1 innings. Larry Suarez then restored order with 1.2 scoreless innings, but Frank Batista let in the final run. The top of the order did its best to help the cause, with Logan Watkins going 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI. Matt Szczur was 2-for-5 and hit his first homer for the D-Cubs.

In a rare afternoon game on Wednesday, Daytona ended up getting squashed by Bradenton 7-0. Brett Wallach was the loser, as he gave up six runs (five earned) in 6.1 innings. Jordan Latham finished up, allowing an earned run in 1.2 innings. Greg Rohan continued to strut his stuff, going 3-for-3 with a double and an outfield assist.

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (54-42)
Weather forced Sunday’s game against Mississippi to be suspended, after Trey McNutt tossed two scoreless innings and Josh Vitters singled in Steve Clevenger to go up 1-0. Resumed on Monday, Marco Carrillo took the hill and shutout the Braves for four more innings. However, Kevin Rhoderick’s wild pitch allowed the score to be tied after seven innings. Rafael Dolis blanked Mississippi for two innings, and pinch-hitter Luis Flores singled home Clevenger for the go-ahead run in the tenth. Marcus Hatley then went 1-2-3 for a 2-1 Tennessee victory. Ty Wright was 4-for-5 with a double.

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In Monday’s regularly scheduled game, two errors by Josh Vitters led to three unearned runs as Tennessee lost the nightcap 4-1. Make his season debut for the Smokies, Austin Bibens-Dirkx went four innings allowing four runs (one earned) and striking out two batters. Jeffrey Beliveau and Jeff Stevens held the Braves scoreless the rest of the way. Nelson Perez was 2-for-3 with a double, driving in Luis Flores with Tennessee’s only run.

While Brooks Raley took the loss for Tennessee on Wednesday, it was the Smokies’ defense that was his undoing as they lost to Carolina 7-4. Raley allowed five runs, but only two were earned, giving the Mudcats the winning margin. Oswaldo Martinez followed and let in another two earned runs, while Jeff Stevens finished out with two scoreless innings. Ty Wright continued his hot hitting, going 3-for-3 with a double, while Matt Spencer belted his 13th home run.

Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (44-52)
Sunday saw the organizational debut of veteran right-hander Dave Bush, as a late rally sparked a 3-2 victory over Oklahoma City. Bush went 2.1 innings, letting in an earned run and striking out three batters. Blake Parker threw 1.2 scoreless innings. Chris Rusin earned his first Triple-A victory, with a home run being the only earned run allowed in four innings. Justin Berg made it interesting by loading the bases in the ninth, but ended up recording the final three outs for his third save.

D.J. LeMahieu and Brad Snyder were 2-for-4 each, with Snyder contributing a double. The RedHawks worked around Bryan LaHair, who was 1-for-2 with a walk. However, reserve catcher Chris Robinson provided the lift the I-Cubs needed. Robinson threw out three of five would-be base stealers, and delivered a three-run bomb for all of Iowa’s runs.

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Iowa recently has shown some of the organizational philosophy of solid starting pitching and an explosive offense. However, it lacked the shutdown bullpen as the I-Cubs lost to Nashville 5-3 on Monday in ten innings. Like previous starters Jay Jackson and Casey Coleman, Alberto Cabrera looked more at-ease on Monday, allowing only two solo homers in six innings while striking out six batters. Robert Coello came on in relief and threw 1.1 scoreless innings. But All-Star closer John Gaub let in the game-tying run to start the ninth innings. Chris Carpenter got out of the ninth, but a walk, wild pitch, passed ball, and sacrifice fly brought in the go-ahead and an insurance run. Scott Moore was 2-for-3, while Welington Castillo hit a two-run home run. D.J. LeMahieu and Tyler Colvin were 2-for-5, and Ryan Flaherty was 2-for-4.

On Tuesday, Nick Struck helped keep his team in the game, allowing three earned runs in six innings, but the hitters and bullpen failed to hold up their end as Iowa lost to Nashville 4-3. Blake Parker came on in relief and gave up what proved to be the winning run, while Scott Maine tossed two scoreless innings. Iowa managed only five hits, with Welington Castillo going 2-for-3, including his second homer in as many nights. Bryan LaHair and Marwin Gonzalez drove in the I-Cubs’ other runs, LaHair with his 28th home run.

Rookie – AZL Cubs (14-10)
The AZL Cubs continue to be in hot pursuit of the AZL Giants, as they are second in the East Division, 3.5 games behind. Promotions of Zeke DeVoss and Dustin Geiger have re-installed outfielder Oliver Zapata at leadoff and Gioskar Amaya at third base. Amaya is the team-hitting leader at .400, with 12 RBI. Shortstop Marco Hernandez is now the RBI leader, with a .323 average and 19 RBI. Outfielder Dong-Yub Kim has shown some recent improvement, batting .242 with six stolen bases and two dingers for “The Donger”. Oliver Zapata continues to impress with a .329 average while swiping ten bases in twelve attempts.

The rotation of Hunter Ackerman, Brian Smith, James Pugliese, and Hayden Simpson has been recently joined by Jean Sandoval. Ackerman has lowered his ERA to 3.86 and continues to be the strikeout leader with twenty-eight. Brian Smith is now the ERA leader with a 2.95 ERA and eighteen strikeouts. Reliever Felix Peña continues to do well, with a 3.29 ERA in 13.2 innings and a 1.10 WHIP.

Dominican Summer League
This week in the Dominican Summer League, the organization has made some changes, moving some of the better players from the Cubs 1 team to Cubs 2 in order to create a stronger team. C-1 now has a record of 17-25, while C-2 is currently 24-19.

Outfielder Mayke Reyes remains on C-1, but has recently been playing some first base. He remains the team leader at .313 with three home runs, 17 RBI, and 18 stolen bases. John Ortega, a 16-year old switch-hitting IF-OF has moved over from C-2, and is hitting .286 overall with six stolen bases. Right-handed pitcher Yomar Morel is sporting a 3-3 record with a 2.61 ERA and thirty-one strikeouts.

Jeimer Candelario continues to be the team leader on C-2, hitting .340 with three home runs, thirty-one RBI, and thirty- five walks. Candelario has been playing more first base lately, with C-1 transfer Xavier Batitsta getting some looks at third base. Outfielder Jeffrey Baez has also come over, and is hitting .277 with two home runs, 20 RBI and 25 stolen bases. Shortstop Carlos Penalver has struggled a little, dropping to a .265 average with 23 RBI and 11 stolen bases. Right-handed pitcher Alexander Santana has arrived on C-2. He continues to be impressive, carrying a 1.91 ERA and 1.00 WHIP while striking out 25 batters. Loiger Padron has a 2.23 ERA, along with 26 strikeouts and 0.99 WHIP.

News and Notes
Right-handed pitcher Marco Carrillo was assigned to Tennessee from Iowa. Infielder-OF Greg Rohan was assigned to Daytona from Peoria. Right-handed pitcher Kyle Smit was assigned to Daytona from Tennessee Smokies. Daytona placed DH Jake Opitz on the 7-Day disabled list retroactive to July 14. Right-handed pitcher Matt Loosen was assigned to Peoria from Tennessee. Infielder Dustin Geiger was assigned to Peoria Chiefs from the AZL Cubs.

Outfielder-IF Zeke DeVoss and C Yaniel Cabeza were assigned to Boise from the AZL Cubs. Right-handed pitcher Hector Mayora assigned to the AZL Cubs from Boise.

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Quote of the Day

"There are places I remember. All my life though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments ... " John Lennon/Paul McCartney