Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 04/12/12

Hot bats are what’s in this spring, but there have been some cold results. Anthony Rizzo flashed big power while Josh Vitters has shown he is ready to play in Iowa. Jae-Hoon Ha remains steady in Tennessee. Rubi Silva has impressed at Daytona, and Wes Darvill is a surprise in Peoria. However, pitching still needs to catch up at every level.

To see where all of this is leading to … check out Thursday’s Down on the Farm Report.

Note: Monday’s report will cover games from Wednesday to Saturday. Thursday’s report covers games Sunday through Tuesday.

Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (2-3)
Pitching and defense were supposed to be the hallmarks of the Peoria Chiefs in 2012, but those areas came up short in Monday’s 6-3 loss to Quad Cities. Starter Ben Wells did his part, striking out three and allowing one earned run in four innings. However a passed ball by Rafael Lopez allowed a runner to get into scoring position, which would end up as an unearned run. Wes Darvill’s throwing error in the third eventually led to another unearned run. But the Chiefs’ offense was able to keep pace. Lopez and Darvill were able to make up for their errors by going 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI, and 2-for-4 with a double respectively. Brad Zapenas and Paul Hoilman also drove in runs to make the score 3-3. Kyler Burke came in for Wells and tossed four innings of shut-out ball, striking out three batters. With the score tied in the top of the ninth, Bryce Shafer imploded and gave up five earned runs, and the game ended with Peoria 8-3 losers.

It was thought that the Chiefs would be a little offensively challenged early this season due to their many young and inexperienced players. That showed up on Tuesday night as Peoria was three-hit in route to a 7-1 loss to Quad Cities. Only Zeke DeVoss, Eduardo Gonzalez, and Pin-Chieh Chen were able to manage hits, with DeVoss scoring the only run. In his second outing, starter Willengton Cruz struggled over 3.2 innings, allowing five runs, but only two earned, on seven hits, a walk, and two strikeouts. Scott Weismann came back from a poor showing to go 2.1 shutout innings with two strikeouts. Jeffrey Lorick continued his scoreless streak by striking out three in two innings. Luis Liria finished up by letting in two earned runs and striking out a batter in the final inning.

High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (1-4)
Acquired from the San Diego Padres, starter Zach Cates couldn’t find the strike zone in his organizational debut, as Daytona fell just short against Dunedin on Monday, 8-7. Cates walked four, and allowed seven hits and six earned runs in only one charged inning. Eduardo Figueroa took over for Cates after five batters in the second inning and proceeded to shut down the Blue Jays over four innings, striking out two batters. Brian Schlitter also had a strikeout in a scoreless inning. The D-Cubs tried to mount a comeback, as Elieser Bonne (1-for-4, outfield assist) singled and came home on a single by John Andreoli (1-for-4, stolen base, outfield assist) single in the bottom of the second. In the third inning, singles by Matt Szczur (1-for-3, stolen base) and Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-5, double) set the table for Greg Rohan (2-for-4, HR, 4 RBI), who delivered a three-run shot to cut the deficit to 6-4. However, errors by Rohan (one of three for the evening) and Alcantara tagged AJ Morris with two unearned runs in an inning of work. Another spurt occurred in the seventh, as Rubi Silva (1-for-5, RBI) singled home Szczur while Alcantara came home on a throwing error. Rohan then brought Silva home with a single to make the score 9-7. That’s where is would stand, as Ty’Relle Harris struck out two in two shutout innings.

Daytona rolled the dice by trying some players at new positions, and it ended up costing them as they fell 4-2 to Dunedin on Tuesday. The D-Cubs swapped Ronald Torreyes and Arismendy Alcantara, moving to them to short and second base respectively. Both committed errors that ended up costing three unearned runs in the eighth inning, hanging reliever Tony Zych with the loss. Starter Austin Kirk had a fine effort, striking out three over five scoreless innings. Casey Harman kept the streak going for two more innings, picking up his own strikeout. But Zych was touched for back-to-back doubles after Torreyes’ error, and then gave up another double after an error by Alcantara. Daytona got on the board in the second as Nelson Perez (2-for-4, two triples) tripled and came home on Elieser Bonne’s (2-for-4, two stolen bases, two RBI) single. That combination worked in the sixth inning, scoring the D-Cubs’ only other run. Matt Szczur was 2-for-5, while Torreyes was 2-for-4 with a double.

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (4-2)
Sunday’s contest with Chattanooga saw starter Dae-Eun Rhee cruise through four innings, facing only fourteen batters, allowing no earned runs, and striking out three. However, an offensive surge by the Lookouts in the bottom of the fifth, while netting only an unearned run, seemed to take something out of him. Rhee started the sixth by giving up a solo home run, striking out two, and letting in another earned run before giving way to Ryan Searle. While a double brought in a third run for the inning, Searle was able to shut the door. Searle went another two scoreless innings, striking out two batters. Kevin Rhoderick then came in and set the side down 1-2-3 to bring home a 7-4 victory; Searle getting the win, and Rhoderick the save.

The Smokies’ offense staked Rhee to a 4-1 lead with a two-out rally in the top of the sixth. Logan Watkins (1-for-3) started it out with a walk. Jae-Hoon Ha and Justin Bour singled, driving home Watkins. Matt Cerda followed with a triple that plated Ha and Bour. Cerda came home on a Michael Burgess (1-for-3) single. In the top of the seventh, Nate Samson (2-for-3) led off with a single. Two batters later, James Adduci singled and Watkins was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A fielder’s choice by Ha scored Samson. Watkins then came home on a single by Bour. Ha ended the scoring, coming in on a throwing error on a hit by Cerda.

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The Smokies were unflappable on Monday, as they came from behind for the second day in a row to edge Chattanooga 3-2. Brooks Raley had a quality start, allowing two earned runs and striking out four over 8.1 innings. He even aided his own cause with a sacrifice fly to put Tennessee’s first run on the board. Alberto Cabrera delivered 1.2 scoreless innings and struck out two in relief. Frank Batista nailed down his third save with two strikeouts in the ninth.

Raley’s batting effort came in the fifth inning after Michael Burgess (1-for-2) and Michael Brenly (1-for-4) singled and Elliot Soto walked. In the sixth, Matt Cerda (1-for-4) doubled and went to third on Jae-Hoon Ha’s (2-for-4) single. A Justin Bour sacrifice fly brought Cerda home. It would remain 2-2 until the top of the ninth, as Rebel Ridling (2-for-3) walked to lead off. Pinch-runner James Adduci then came around with the go-ahead run on Elliot Soto’s (1-for-3, RBI) triple.

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The Tennessee bats fell silent on Tuesday, as they managed only two hits while losing 5-1 to Jackson. Jae-Hoon Ha continued to be steady, hitting safely in six of the first seven contests. However the big blow for the Smokies was James Adduci’s solo home run. Nick Struck wasn’t as dominant as in the opener; but after striking out five and allowing two earned runs in six innings, he was good enough to keep the team in the game. Both Casey Weathers and Dan Berlind struggled again, each allowed an earned run in an inning pitched. Joe Zeller, called up from Boise, struck out a batter in a scoreless ninth.

Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (3-3)
Iowa appeared to be in trouble on Sunday down 5-1 to Round Rock going into the bottom of the sixth inning. However, the I-Cubs’ bats came alive and brought home a 6-5 victory.

Tony Campana (3-for-4, double, stolen base) started the scoring in the third, doubling and eventually coming home on Luis Valbuena’s (2-for-3, RBI) sacrifice fly. The bottom of the sixth started off with consecutive singles by Brett Jackson (2-for-5, double, RBI) and Luis Valbuena, with a fielder’s choice by Anthony Rizzo putting runners at the corners. Jackson then came home on Welington Castillo’s (1-for-2, RBI) sacrifice fly. In the eighth, Campana led off with a single. After a single by Valbuena, a home run by Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4, 3 RBI) tied the score. Matt Tolbert then singled to lead off the ninth, and Brett Jackson doubled him home for the winning score.

Starter Jay Jackson looked to be in control, holding the Express scoreless and striking out two in four innings. However, Jackson ended up allowing four runs (three earned) and gave way with two outs in the fifth to Ryan Rowland-Smith. Rowland-Smith gave up an earned run in 1.1 innings with a strikeout. Jeff Beliveau pitched two scoreless innings and struck out four to hold Round Rock in check. Scott Maine then set the side down in order in the ninth to earn the victory.

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In what started out to be a laugher almost turned into a nail-biter as Iowa topped Albuquerque 10-6 on Monday. It was a coming out party for Anthony Rizzo, who was 3-for-3 with two home runs and three RBI. Adrian Cardenas also had a good showing, as he was 2-for-3 with a double, triple, and an RBI. Josh Vitters was not to be outdone, going 2-for-4 and two RBI, while starting pitcher Travis Wood smashed a two-run homer. Dave Sappelt was also 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

Travis Wood was also pretty good on the mound, going six innings and allowing three earned runs while striking out six batters. However, Manny Corpas made the game interesting by walking two, allowing two hits and three runs (two earned) in 0.1 innings. Esmailin Caridad came in and put out the fire, striking out two over 1.2 innings to earn a hold. Blake Parker then tossed a scoreless ninth.

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In a matinee on Tuesday, Iowa couldn’t overcome a three-run third innings by Albuquerque and ended up losing to the Isotopes 6-5. Randy Wells started and had a typical Randy Wells-type effort: six innings, four earned runs, and five strikeouts. Nate Robertson bounced back from a poor outing and pitched a scoreless inning. Frankie De La Cruz followed and allowed an earned run in only 0.2 of an inning. Jeff Beliveau was saddled with the loss after giving up an earned run in 1.1 innings. Both Adrian Cardenas and Josh Vitters stayed hot. Cardenas was 2-for-4 with a double, home run, and two RBI. Vitters also collected an RBI as he was 2-for-3. Blake Lalli and Luis Valbuena drove in runs, while Tony Campana stole two bases.

News and Notes
The Iowa Cubs placed IF Edgar Gonzalez on the 7-day disabled list. The Tennessee Smokies placed RHP Marcus Hatley on the 7-day disabled list; RHP Joe Zeller assigned to Tennessee. The Peoria Chiefs placed IF Kenny Socorro on the 7-day disabled list; 1B Ryan Cuneo assigned to Peoria.

CCO’s Prospect Watch

  • Javier Baez (IF) – Extended Spring Training
  • Jeimer Candelario (3B) – Extended Spring Training
  • Zeke DeVoss (2B) – .250, double, two RBI (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Reggie Golden (OF) – .158, stolen base (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Junior Lake (IF) – is currently inactive
  • Dillon Maples (RHP) – Extended Spring Training
  • Matt Szczur (OF) – .200, RBI, stolen base (Daytona Cubs)
  • Ronald Torreyes (2B) – .313, double (Daytona Cubs)
  • Josh Vitters (3B) – .412, three RBI (Iowa Cubs)
  • Dan Vogelbach (1B) – Extended Spring Training

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Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax