Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 07/28/11

Daytona and Tennessee are starting to come back to the level they displayed earlier in the season; with Greg Rohan and Michael Burgess providing a spark for the D-Cubs, while veterans James Adduci and Ty Wright are lifting the Smokies. Iowa got great pitching from Nick Struck and Casey Coleman. Peoria continues to struggle, while Boise juggles their middle infielders.

Along with News and Notes, and 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 (18-21)
Turnabout was fair play on Sunday, as Boise crushed Spokane 13-6. The Hawks pounded out eleven hits, the biggest being Paul Hoilman’s grand slam in Boise’s nine run fifth inning. Blair Springfield (2-for-3, three RBI) also added his first Boise home run. Wilson Contreras, in his first start at second base, was 2-for-4 with and triple and three RBI, while Pin-Chieh Chen was 2-for-5 with an RBI.

Yao-Lin Wang had another impressive outing, giving up two earned runs while striking out five in five innings. Juan Rosario allowed four runs (one earned) and struck out six in four innings.

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The Hawks kept pace with Spokane for four innings on Monday, and then the relief corps opened the floodgates as Boise lost 8-2. Su-Min Jung continued to struggle with his control, but left after four innings, allowing three earned runs while striking out five batters. Cameron Greathouse proceeded to give up three earned runs the next inning. Charles Thomas followed and was the victim of two unearned runs. Colin Richardson came in and got the final three outs. Paul Hoilman stayed hot, as he rapped his ninth homer and twenty-eighth RBI.

In a seesaw game, Yaniel Cabezas’ first home run lifted Boise over Spokane 5-4 on Tuesday. Rafael Lopez was the player of the game, going 3-for-3 with a home run and four RBI. Dustin Harrington, back from Daytona, was 3-for-4 with two doubles.

Starter Austin Reed pinned down the Indians, allowing four runs (three earned) in 4.2 innings. Jin-Yeong Kim had one of his better outings, letting in an earned run in two innings. Dustin Fitzgerald and Bryce Shafer blanked Spokane the rest of the way.

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Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (43-58)
Peoria’s offense couldn’t string together hits, as they wasted a good effort by Matt Loosen and fell to Bowling Green 5-2 on Sunday. Loosen went six innings and only allowed two earned runs. Pete Levitt and Brent Ebinger were let down by the Chiefs’ defense, giving up three unearned runs. Anthony Giansanti helped keep Peoria in the game by going 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Brandon May (1-for-3) drove in the Chiefs’ only other run.

Anthony Giansanti and Micah Gibbs drove in the go-ahead runs for Peoria in the ninth, but P.J. Francescon let in three in the bottom half and the Bowling Green Hot Rods drove off with a 4-3 victory. After getting the first two batters out, Francescon gave up a double and a home run to tie the score. A single and a walk later, Francescon uncorked a wild pitch that along with a throwing error by Gibbs, brought in the winning run. It spoiled a fine effort by starter Austin Kirk, who went 5.1 innings, allowing an earned run while striking out five batters. Dan Berlind tossed a scoreless 2.2 innings. Giansanti was 2-for-4 on the night, with two RBI, while Rubi Silva was 2-for-4 with a stolen base.

After Peoria scored two runs in the top of the first on Wednesday, they couldn’t dent the plate again as they fell to Quad City 6-2. Starling Peralta had some trouble finding the plate, allowing four earned runs, five hits, and five walks in four innings. Robinson Lopez fared a little better, giving up two unearned runs in 2.2 innings. In his Peoria debut, Roderik Pichardo tossed 1.1 scoreless innings. Taiwan Easterling and Dustin Geiger were each 2-for-4 on the evening.

High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (63-40)
After falling behind 2-1 in the fourth inning, Daytona brought out their bats and ended up crushing Palm Beach 8-2 on Sunday. Rafael Valdes had a day to remember, cranking out two solo home runs and a double while driving in three runs. Justin Bour added his 20th homer and plated two runs.

Jeffrey Lorick was in command for his eighth win, allowing two earned runs and striking out seven in six innings of work. Juan Serrano held the Cardinals in check for 2.1 innings, while Frank Batista recorded the final two outs.

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Daytona got things started out right on Monday, as Matt Szczur belted a solo home run to lead the D-Cubs to a 5-3 victory over St. Lucie. Szczur ended up 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI to go along with his homer. Greg Rohan and Michael Burgess were each 3-for-5 with an RBI.

Angel Guzman got a surprise start again, and delivered a one-hit, three-strikeout performance in his two innings. Scheduled starter Brett Wallach then came on and promptly surrendered three earned runs in 3.1 innings. Aaron Kurcz came to the rescue, shutting out the Mets for 2.2 innings while striking out four batters. Frank Batista picked up his 20th save with a 1-2-3 ninth.

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Daytona “put the pedal to the metal” Tuesday, and never looked back as they blew past St. Lucie 10-5. Matt Szczur (2-for-3, two doubles, RBI, outfield assist) led off with a double and came around on a misplayed bunt by Logan Watkins (1-for-4, home run, two RBI). Watkins was aboard as Greg Rohan (3-for-4, two doubles, two RBI) blasted his first homer as a D-Cub. Michael Burgess (3-for-5, two RBI) added a solo shot. Chad Noble was 2-for-4.

Casey Harman kept the Mets in check, allowing four runs (three earned) and striking out five in 4.2 innings. Jordan Latham followed and gave up an earned run in his 2.1 innings. Kyle Smit picked up his first save as he threw two scoreless innings.

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Dae-Eun Rhee struggled with his location on Wednesday, giving up nine hits and six runs (five earned) as Daytona lost to St. Lucie 7-2. Rhee struck out five in 5.2 innings, while Larry Suarez allowed an earned run and struck out three in 2.1 innings. Greg Rohan (1-for-2) carried the D-Cubs, smacking his second homer in two days while scoring both runs.

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (58-44)
Tennessee seems to be getting its mojo back, as the Smokies pounded out 15 hits on Sunday to make it three straight, as they downed Carolina 8-3. Blake Lalli was a one-man wrecking crew, going 4-for-4 was three doubles and two RBI. James Adduci was 4-for-5 with a double, triple, and stolen base. Josh Vitters and Steve Clevenger each drove in two runs.

In what could be described as a typical start, Austin Bibens-Dirkx struck out five and served up two solo home runs in five innings. Kevin Rhoderick and Jeffrey Beliveau looked like their old selves, blanking the Mudcats over three innings. Rafael Dolis survived another shaky ninth, allowing an unearned run while striking out two batters.

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In a wild affair on Tuesday, Tennessee stormed back from a two-run deficit to lead 7-4, only to have Montgomery come back to tie them at 8-8. Nate Samson (2-for-5, triple) then homered in the top of the 10th to give the Smokies a 9-8 victory. Josh Vitters (2-for-5, two RBI) put Tennessee on the board with a solo blast. James Adduci (2-for-4, two RBI) added a solo homer in the sixth, while Ty Wright (1-for-3) belted a two-run shot in the eighth.

Ryan Searle started and allowed four earned runs while striking out five in 4.2 innings. Jeff Stevens toasted the Biscuits for three strikeouts in his 2.1 scoreless innings. Marcus Haley gave up four runs (three earned), going 1.2 innings, and was bailed out by Jeffrey Beliveau, who allowed an earned run in the final 1.1 innings.

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Despite managing four hits and four walks off of former Smokie Chris Archer, Tennessee never touched the dish as they lost to Montgomery 4-0 on Wednesday. Marco Carrillo was tapped to start after Dallas Beeler was put on the disabled list. Carrillo went four innings and gave up three earned runs while striking out three batters. Oswaldo Martinez allowed an earned run in his two innings, while Brent Ebinger shutout the Biscuits the rest of the way. Junior Lake had his second consecutive multi-hit game, going 2-for-4.

Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (46-58)
Iowa got a huge lift on Sunday from the best performance of Nick Struck as an I-Cub, defeating Nashville 3-1. Struck wasn’t overpowering, but effective as he scattered seven hits over seven innings, allowing only one earned run. Blake Parker went 1-2-3 in the eighth, while John Gaub nailed down his fifth save.

Welington Castillo led off the scoring for Iowa as he bashed his 15th homer, while Brett Jackson followed suit in the third with his first homer for the I-Cubs. Struck even helped his own cause; singling, and later scoring, as D.J. LeMahieu (2-for-3) drove him in for the final run.

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Simply put, Jay Jackson didn’t give his team a chance to win on Monday, as Iowa lost to Nashville 8-3. After serving up a two-run homer in the first inning, Jackson saw the I-Cubs cut the deficit in half the next inning. Jackson then allowed four more runs (three earned) over the next four innings. Robert Coello and Justin Berg stemmed the tide with two scoreless innings, but Chris Carpenter capped the game off by giving up a two-run homer to put it out of reach for Iowa. Brett Jackson did everything he could to keep the I-Cubs in the game by going 2-for -4 with an RBI, stolen base, and outfield assist, gunning down a runner at home. Scott Moore was 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI; but his fielding error in the first, which would have gotten Iowa out of the inning, was followed by a two-run home run for Nashville.

Casey Coleman pitched a gem on Tuesday, as the I-Cubs outlasted New Orleans 2-1. Coleman gave up only one earned run and struck out four in a seven-inning stint. Blake Parker and Scott Maine each struck out three in an inning of work.

Luis Montanez was the offense for Iowa, as he went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI. Chris Robinson was also 3-for-4 on the evening.

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Rookie – AZL Cubs (17-13)
While the AZL Cubs remain in second place to the AZL Giants in the East Division, they have now dropped to five games behind. Gioskar Amaya continues to be the team hitting leader at .379 with fifteen RBI. Marco Hernandez is still the RBI leader, with a .328 average and 21 RBI. Dong-Yub Kim continues to improve, raising his batting average to .288, adding two more stolen bases to run his total to eight, second on the club. Oliver Zapata leads the team with 11 stolen bases, along with a .319 average. Recently signed catchers Neftali Rosario and Taylor Davis have had good starts to their pro careers. Rosario has hit .316 in his four appearances, while Davis is at .250 after two starts.

Hunter Ackerman has begun to settle in, and has still lowered his ERA to 3.19 while continuing to lead in strikeouts with 37. Brian Smith remains the ERA leader with a 2.59 ERA and 22 strikeouts. Reliever Andrew McKirihan has started out well, with a 1.69 ERA in 5.1 innings and a 0.75 WHIP.

Dominican Summer League
This week in the Dominican Summer League, the Cubs 1 team went 3-2, but still has a record of 20-27. Cubs 2 is currently 29-21, one game behind the Rangers in the BC South division.

Twenty-four year old Cuban national Mayke Reyes remains the team leader for C-1 at .304 with three home runs, seventeen RBI, and twenty stolen bases. John Ortega is now primarily playing second base, and is hitting .289 with eight stolen bases. Left-hander Warner Eusebio has recently joined the rotation, and has a 2-1 record with a 2.19 ERA and 30 strikeouts. Relievers Alberto Diaz and Jose Martinez have also recently emerged. Diaz is 1-1 with a save in 11 innings and has a 2.45 ERA; Martinez has an ERA of 1.17 and a save in 7.2 innings.

Outfielder Jeffrey Baez has taken over the leadoff position for C-2, and is hitting .270 with two home runs, 25 RBI and 25 stolen bases. Carlos Penalver is now in the second spot, and has climbed to a .271 average with 26 RBI and 15 stolen bases. Jeimer Candelario continues to be the team leader from the third slot, hitting .337 with four home runs, 35 RBI, and 38 walks. Xavier Batitsta continues to be the power guy with six home runs, while Delbis Arclia is tied with Candelario for the RBI lead with 35. The Right-handed rotation of Alexander Santana, Jose Arias, and Loiger Padron continues to be impressive. Santana has posted a 2.13 ERA and 1.11 WHIP while striking out 26 batters. Arias’ 37 strikeouts are second on the team, and go along with a 1.65 ERA and 0.77 WHIP. Padron has lowered his ERA to 1.93 ERA and improved to 33 strikeouts and 0.93 WHIP. Lefty Victor Garcia leads the team 45 strikeouts and has a decent ERA of 3.20. While closer Francisco Turbi’s 4.29 ERA isn’t very special, he’s recorded six saves and 20 strikeouts in 21 innings.

News and Notes
Catcher Taylor Davis was assigned to the AZL Cubs from the Chicago Cubs. Tennessee activated SS Junior Lake from and placed RHP Dallas Beeler on the 7-Day disabled list. Left-handed pitcher Brent Ebinger was assigned to Tennessee from Peoria. Infielder-OF David Macias was assigned to Daytona from Tennessee. Right-handed pitcher Roderik Pichardo was assigned to Peoria from the AZL Cubs. Infielder Dustin Harrington was assigned to Boise from Daytona. Catcher Jose Guevara of the Boise Hawks retired.

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Quote of the Day

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