Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 05/17/12

With the return of some players from injuries, the system took a turn for the better, going 8-2 to start the week. Peoria welcomed back Anthony Giansanti, as he played a big part in their three wins. Daytona had an off-day and a rainout, but won on Monday thanks to Austin Kirk. Junior Lake has reached base in all nine of his games since returning from injury, as Tennessee won two of three. And out on the west coast, Iowa received great hitting from Anthony Rizzo, as well as an outstanding pitching performance by Chris Rusin.

As Jack Brickhouse used to say … for the happy totals come look in today’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 (18-21)
With a new week there is a new mission, as Peoria started off on the right foot by beating Burlington 5-3 on Sunday. The Chiefs are playing teams in the lower part of the Midwest League’s Western Division, so the time to make up ground is now. Starter Jose Rosario began to show the promise he had when the season started. Rosario blanked the Bees for six innings while striking out seven batters. Manager Casey Kopitzke did the right thing to get Rosario out of the game on a high note, and brought in dependable Luis Liria. Liria did surrender and earned run, but held the lead by striking out three over two innings. The game almost got away as the relatively inexperienced Charles Thomas. Thomas gave up two earned runs in 0.2 innings. But Jeffrey Lorick was able to collect his fifth save by striking the last batter out.

The Chiefs’ hitters took on Sean Murphy, one of the best pitchers in the Midwest League, but were able to give Rosario some breathing room as they scratched out a run. Wes Darvill (0-for-2, three walks, two runs scored) was able to come home on a Paul Hoilman (2-for-4, RBI) single. Rafael Lopez had an RBI as he was 1-for-2, while Ryan Cuneo and Anthony Giansanti each drove in a run while going 1-for-4.

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Pitching dominated Monday’s contest, as the Chiefs were able to squeak past Burlington 2-1. Kyler Burke was on the hill for Peoria and struck out four in six innings. Burke allowed an earned run during his outing. Austin Reed continues to thrive in his bullpen role, as he kept the Bees in check for two innings and struck out three batters. Closer Yao-Lin Wang was able to pick up his second save after striking out two in the ninth inning.

Six hits were all that the Chiefs were able to manage, but they also received good situational hitting from Taiwan Easterling and Taylor Davis, whose sacrifice flies scored Peoria’s only runs. Anthony Giansanti was 2-for-4, while Pin-Chieh Chen was 1-for-3 and a run scored.

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It was some fun in the sun on Tuesday’s get-away day, as Peoria was able to scratch out a 2-0 victory over Burlington. Zeke DeVoss had a coming out party of sorts, as he was 2-for-2 with two walks and four stolen bases, scoring both runs for the Chiefs. Taiwan Easterling was 1-for-3 with an RBI, and Taylor Davis was 2-for-4 including a triple.

Gerardo Concepcion was able to get out of the first inning unscored upon for the first time in his professional career, as he tossed six innings and struck out three batters. Ben Wells also struck out three as he earned a save the hard way by pitching three scoreless innings.

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High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (14-22)
For those who like offense, you could have left after the first inning of Monday’s 2-1 over Brevard County. However, if you like pitching, this was your kind of game. Austin Kirk continues to shine, as he lowered his ERA to 1.75 by allowing only an earned run in seven innings, striking out five Manatees. AJ Morris and Tony Zych cleaned up, each with a scoreless inning as Morris was awarded a hold and Zych recorded his fourth save. There wasn’t a lot of hitting, as Nelson Perez had two of the D-Cubs’ four hits, going 2-for-4 with two RBI and a stolen Base. Arismendy Alcantara was 1-for -4 with two steals, while pinch-runner Elieser Bonne swiped his tenth base.

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Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (17-22)
With a rainout on Sunday, Monday saw Tennessee playing two against Jackson. The Smokies were all over the Generals in the opener, drubbing them 15-4. Logan Watkins (2-for-3, double, home run, two walks, four RBI) set the tone by belting a two-run homer in the first, with Junior Lake (2-for-2, double, home run, three walks, stolen base, RBI) aboard. Joining in the fun were Jae-Hoon Ha (3-for-5, double, RBI), Rebel Ridling (1-for-3, four RBI), Justin Bour (2-for-3, two doubles, two RBI), and Michael Burgess (1-for-4, double, three RBI). Starter Trey McNutt had his best outing of the season, striking out five in five innings while allowing two solo home runs. Brian Schlitter was assigned mop up, and gave up two runs, one earned) in the final two innings.

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Tennessee may have wished to save some of those runs from the first game, as they dropped the nightcap 3-1 to Jackson. Dallas Beeler went the whole seven innings and gave up three earned runs on two home runs, while striking out three batters. Elliot Soto drove in the only run for the Smokies as he was 2-for-3.

With an off-day on Wednesday, the Smokies decided to clear out their bullpen in order to secure a 10-8 victory over Jackson on Tuesday. Dae-Eun Rhee started and was the victim of some shoddy defense, including two of his own errors, as he allowed six runs (two earned) in four innings. Jeffry Antigua gave up two earned runs in an inning of work, but the scoring stopped there. Three pitchers combined to put up zeroes the rest of the way, as Marcus Hatley pitched an inning, Casey Weathers tossed two and ended up with the win, and Alberto Cabrera closed things out for his second save.

The Smokies recaptured some of the thunder they displayed in game one the previous day, as Junior Lake was 3-for-5 with a double and three RBI. James Adduci also drove in three on two doubles as he was 2-for-3. Slugging his sixth homer of the season, Justin Bour was 2-for-4, including a double. Matt Cerda was also 2-for-5.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (17-21)
Iowa nearly threw away a gem on Sunday, but was able to hold on to a 4-3 victory over Sacramento. Chris Rusin had another great outing, striking seven while holding the River Cats scoreless over eight innings. Scott Maine was called on to finish things up, but got into trouble and gave up three earned runs in 0.1 innings. Blake Parker was able to put down the rally and ended up with his fifth save.

Lining up at DH, Anthony Rizzo hit two doubles, and was 3-for-4 for the afternoon. However, it was Ty Wright that ended up coming through, as he drove in two with his second homer of the season, while going 2-for-4. Blake Lalli (1-for-4, double) came home on Wright’s blast, while Luis Valbuena’s sacrifice fly scored Matt Tolbert (1-for-4) in the eighth with what proved to be the winning run.

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Some struggling pitchers were able to put things together on Monday, as they were able to stave off Sacramento 3-1. Rodrigo Lopez is what he is, a spot starter/long relief man who can give you a few good innings, like he was able to this night. Lopez went five innings and struck four as he allowed an earned run. Demoted Jay Jackson was also able to post four strikeouts, as he held the River Cats scoreless for two innings. Nate Robertson had struggled this season, but had it going as he held Sacramento without a run, while Scott Maine picked up a save as he shut them down in the ninth.

The longball was the key for the Iowa offense, as Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4) put the I-Cubs on the board with a solo shot in the first. Blake Lalli (1-for-4) was able to put Iowa ahead for good as he led off the fifth with his own home run. Alfredo Amezaga (1-for-4) added the clincher as he drove in Ty Wright (1-for-4). Luis Valbuena was also 2-for-4.

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With a travel day on Wednesday, Iowa had an afternoon start on Tuesday, and looked like they were more concerned with getting on the road than the game in their 9-4 loss to Sacramento. Randy Wells had a couple of good outings in his previous two games. But on Tuesday, he looked like, well, Randy Wells as he surrendered seven earned runs in five innings while striking out five in the process. Manny Corpas sat down the River Cats in order for an inning, but recently signed Mike MacDougal was only able to go 0.2 innings, a gave up two earned runs off four walks and a hit. Esmailin Caridad got the I-Cubs out of MacDougal’s jam, while Jeff Beliveau struck out the side in the eighth. The lone shining star was Anthony Rizzo, whose two-run blast in the first gave him 13 for the season, as he was 3-for-4, including a triple. Alfredo Amezaga added his own homer in the eighth inning, bringing in Gioskar Amaya, who collected his first Triple-A hit earlier in the inning.

News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs signed RHP Mike MacDougal, who was assigned to the Iowa Cubs. Infielder Gioskar Amaya was assigned to the Iowa Cubs from Extended Spring Training. The Iowa Cubs placed IF-OF Jonathan Mota on the 7-day disabled list with a sore right elbow. The Peoria Chiefs recalled RHP Bryce Shafer from Extended Spring Training; LHP Willengton Cruz was assigned to Peoria from Extended Spring Training.

The Chiefs added LHP Hunter Cervenka and RHP Larry Suarez. RHP Bryce Shafer was sent to Extended Spring Training. The Cubs released RHP Charles Thomas. Blake DeWitt cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Iowa. Scott Maine was recalled from Triple-A Iowa.

CCO’s Prospect Watch
Note: Outfielder Reggie Golden is out indefinitely with a knee injury. Replacing Golden on the list is the next highest player available in the fan vote: pitcher Tony Zych.

  • Javier Baez (IF) – Extended Spring Training
  • Jeimer Candelario (3B) – Extended Spring Training
  • Zeke DeVoss (2B) – .248, six doubles, triple, two home runs, 11 RBI, six stolen bases (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Junior Lake (IF) – . 344, three doubles, triple, home run, four RBI, two stolen bases (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Dillon Maples (RHP) – Extended Spring Training
  • Matt Szczur (OF) – .250, nine doubles, two triples, seven RBI, 16 stolen bases (Daytona Cubs)
  • Ronald Torreyes (2B) – .178, three doubles, two triples, five RBI, four stolen bases (Daytona Cubs)
  • Josh Vitters (3B) – .244, six doubles, three home runs, 17 RBI, stolen base (Iowa Cubs)
  • Dan Vogelbach (1B) – Extended Spring Training
  • Tony Zych (RHP) – 1-1, 3.320 ERA, 19.0 innings, 16 strikeouts, 4 walks, 1.21 WHIP, 4 saves (Daytona Cubs)

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