Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 05/28/12

As we start to move toward June the roster movement in the minors continues. Starling Peralta, Felix Pena, Yasiel Balaguert, Jeffrey Lorick, Taylor Davis, Ty’Relle Harris, and Robert Whitenack were all promoted in the past week. Javier Baez has been promoted to the Peoria Chiefs from extended spring training and is expected to make his debut Monday.

Wins were hard to come by, as the system finished the week with a 6-10 record. Peoria was the most consistent, as they pushed their record to five games under .500 and an organization leading 22 wins. Daytona and Tennessee continued to struggle as they were only able to pick up one victory apiece. And even though Anthony Rizzo keeps thundering in Iowa, the I-Cubs were only able to manage a 2-2 split.

For all the results, here’s 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 (22-27)
Peoria received a good, old-fashioned butt-kicking on Wednesday, losing to Clinton 11-0. After a few promising starts, Jose Rosario reverted to the bad-Jose Rosario that was seen earlier in the season. Only able to go 3.2 innings, Rosario gave up nine earned runs on three home runs, although he did strike out five batters. Austin Reed relieved and added another two earned runs in 1.1 innings. Hunter Cervenka finally stopped the onslaught by striking out three in two scoreless innings. Getting some needed work, closer Jeffrey Lorick also struck out three in two innings. The Chiefs only managed five hits, with Yaniel Cabezas leading the pack by going 2-for-3. Pin-Chieh Chen, Ryan Cuneo, and Anthony Giansanti also collected hits.

The Chiefs scored three runs in the bottom of the first and made the lead stick as they outlasted Clinton 4-3 on Thursday. Zeke DeVoss (1-for-3) led off with a single and came around on a single by Wes Darvill (1-for-5, RBI). After Paul Hoilman (1-for-4) doubled, he came home, along with Darvill, on a double by Oliver Zapata (3-for-4, two RBI). An insurance run came in the fourth, as DeVoss’ bases loaded walk brought in Zapata. Taiwan Easterling was 2-for-4 with a double, while Marco Hernandez went 2-for-3.

Kyler Burke was dealing for the Chiefs, allowing only an unearned run while striking out four in six innings. Sheldon McDonald came in for 1.2 scoreless innings and struck out two batters. Yao-Lin Wang struggled a bit, giving up two earned runs, but hung on for his third save as he also struck out two in 1.1 innings.

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Once again, Peoria jumped out to an early lead on Friday and was able to maintain their margin as they defeated Clinton 3-1. In his season debut, Starling Peralta had a good effort, striking out two and giving up an earned run in four innings. Beleaguered Larry Suarez was able to put things together enough to toss two scoreless innings. Luis Liria then earned a save the hard way, keeping the LumberKings off the board for three innings and striking out two batters.

Wes Darvill (1-for-4) started things off for the Chiefs with two outs in the bottom of the first, singling and coming home on a triple by Paul Hoilman (1-for-4, triple, RBI). Ryan Cuneo (2-for-4) singled to bring in Hoilman. Peoria tacked on another run in the seventh as Zeke DeVoss (2-for-4) doubled and crossed the plate after Taiwan Easterling (1-for-4) singled.

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It was another blowout loss for Gerardo Concepcion on Saturday, as Peoria fell to Wisconsin 11-3. In 4.2 innings, Concepcion allowed eight runs (five earned) and had two fielding errors. Newly promoted Felix Pena got a good taste of Single-A hitting, as he gave up three earned runs in his two inning stint. Hunter Cervenka was finally able to solve the Timber Rattlers, striking out two in 2.1 scoreless innings. Shortstop Marco Hernandez (2-for-3) got the Chiefs on the board in the third inning with a solo home run. Zeke DeVoss was 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Oliver Zapata was also 2-for-3.

High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (19-28)
Daytona rallied to take the lead on Wednesday, but the relief corps couldn’t hold it as they fell 8-7 to St. Lucie. Starter Frank Del Valle wasn’t able to repel the Mets’ attack, surrendering two home runs as part of a five-earned run, six-strikeout, five-inning performance. The D-Cubs came back with seven runs in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings, as Greg Rohan hit a three-run homer and Ronald Torreyes was 3-for-3 with two RBI. While Joe Zeller struck out three in his two innings, he allowed St. Lucie to tie the score with two earned runs. Then Tony Zych in his two innings allowed the Mets to take the lead, which would eventually turn out to be the winning margin.

The D-Cubs were never in it on Thursday, losing 5-2 to wrap up their series with St, Lucie. Ryan Searle return to a starting role, and was clearly rusty as he allowed three earned runs in only 3.2 innings, striking out two batters. Hayden Simpson relieved and gave up another earned run in 2.1 innings. The last run for the Mets crossed the plate on Eduardo Figueroa, as he pitched two innings and struck out three batters. Ty’Relle Harris finished things off with a scoreless ninth. Daytona was able to push across two late runs as Greg Rohan (3-for-5) belted his eighth home run while Micah Gibbs (1-for-4) hit his first of the year. Richard Jones and Ronald Torreyes were each 2-for-4.

On Friday, Daytona received yet another sparkling performance from Austin Kirk, but couldn’t take advantage of nine hits as they lost 2-1 to Clearwater. Kirk continues to dominate Florida State League hitters, tossing eight shutout innings while striking out four batters. Closer Tony Zych had his fifth blown save as he allowed two earned runs in the ninth. The D-Cubs only run came as Rubi Silva (2-for-4) came home on a Dustin Harrington (2-for-3) RBI single. Micah Gibbs was also 2-for-4 for the evening.

Saturday’s game saw Daytona halt a three game skid, as they topped Clearwater 3-1. Matt Loosen is now rounding into form, as he went six innings and only allowed a solo home run, while striking out seven batters. Jeffrey Lorick saw his first action for the D-Cubs and repelled the Threshers for two scoreless innings. Now assuming the left-handed closer role, Scott Weismann struck out two in the ninth to pick up his second save.

Centerfielder John Andreoli was the spark for Daytona, as he was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two stolen bases. Rubi Silva scored the other run, as he was 2-for-4 with a triple. Matt Szczur (1-for-4) and Elieser Bonne (1-for-3) had an RBI apiece.

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Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (21-29)
Tennessee couldn’t fault their offense on Wednesday, as they spotted their pitching with a 3-0 lead. However, pitching dug a hole that the team couldn’t get out of as they lost 8-6 to Mobile. A now red hot Rebel Ridling (2-for-5) put the Smokies ahead with his fifth homer, a two run shot. James Adduci (2-for-5, two RBI) and Junior Lake (2-for-5, double) had singled earlier, Adduci coming home on Justin Bour’s (2-for-5) sacrifice fly. But starter Nick Struck wasn’t up to the task, coughing up four earned runs in the bottom of the inning, as he would go three innings and give up a total of six earned runs. Casey Harman took over and allowed two more earned runs in his three innings. Tennessee tried to rally back, putting up two runs in the fourth inning, and adding a Jae-Hoon Ha pinch-hit solo home run, his first of the season. Frank Batista held the BayBears for two innings in hope there was still something left in the tank of the Smokies’ offense, but they came up empty.

The Smokies sparred back and forth with Mobile on Thursday and wound up on the short end of a 3-2 loss. Dallas Beeler spotted the BayBears two early runs, as he would go six innings and strike out five, allowing three earned runs total. Tennessee fought back, as a James Adduci (1-for-3) solo home run put them on the board in the third. Justin Bour (1-for-3) came home on Luis Flores’ force out in the fourth for the only other run. Brian Schlitter relieved Beeler and was able to keep Mobile in check for two innings, striking out three batters, and Junior Lake was 2-for-4 in the contest.

In a reverse of this season’s fortunes, timely hitting and great pitching helped Tennessee earn a 4-3 victory over Mobile on Friday. Jae-Hoon Ha led things off the right way, with a solo home run to start the first inning as he was 1-for-5. Luis Flores also belted a homer, his first of the year, as he was 2-for-4 with a double to boot. Before leaving in a double-switch, James Adduci was 2-for-2 with an RBI, while Rebel Ridling knocked in another on a pinch-hit sacrifice fly.

Eric Jokisch had his season debut for the Smokies, striking out three while allowing two earned runs in five innings. Kevin Rhoderick followed and kept the BayBears off the board for two innings. Alberto Cabrera was shaky, allowing Mobile to pull within one by giving up an earned run, but escaped to pitch two innings, striking out two and picking up his fourth save.

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The Tennessee bats were nowhere to be found on Saturday, as they lost to Mobile 3-0. Trey McNutt has been holding the opposition to a .218 batting average this season, and has an ERA of 2.88, but run support has been a problem as his record is only 2-4. McNutt continues to struggle with pitch count and stamina issues, throwing 78 pitches in only four innings as he allowed two earned runs. Ty’Relle Harris held the BayBears in check, blanking them for two innings while striking out two batters. Marcus Hatley tossed the final two innings, giving up an earned run. There isn’t much to say about the Smokies’ offense. Michael Burgess was 2-for-3, while Justin Bour and Rebel Ridling were each 1-for-4, and Matt Cerda picked up a pinch hit.

Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (21-27)
Welcome to the 2012 Iowa Cubs, Brooks Raley! The I-Cubs gave what came be described as a typical uneven effort in Raley’s Triple-A debut, as they lost to Tacoma 8-3 on Wednesday. Raley didn’t pitch badly, going five innings, striking out four, and allowing five runs (three earned). But the offense didn’t decide to wake up until things got out of hand, collecting three runs after going down by seven. Anthony Rizzo continues to light it up, going 2-for-4 and slugging his 16th home run. Josh Vitters was 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI, while Luis Valbuena was 1-for-4 with a triple. But Iowa’s veteran pitching failed once again, as Ryan Rowland-Smith gave up two earned runs in two innings, while Mike MacDougal let in another earned run as he pitched the ninth. Only Frankie De La Cruz answered the call, going scoreless in his inning of work.

In what may sound like a broken record (for those of us old enough to remember them) Iowa’s inconsistent offense and veteran pitching contributed to a 7-2 loss to Tacoma on Thursday. Chris Rusin didn’t have his best start, going four innings and allowing four runs (three earned), but may have been able to escape a loss if the bullpen and offense came through. Manny Corpas followed and gave up an earned run in three innings while striking out two, while Nate Robertson let in two more earned runs in his two innings. Meanwhile, Iowa’s offense collected eight hits, but was only able to get two runners across the plate. Brett Jackson drove in a run as he was 2-for-2, and Luis Valbuena was also 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI. Ty Wright went 2-for-3.

On Friday night, Luis Valbuena and Jay Jackson were able to come to the rescue as Iowa edged past Memphis 2-1. Rodrigo Lopez tried to gut through a start after feeling some tightness in warm-ups, but was able to throw only one pitch as he left with a strained groin. Jackson then gave his best pitching performance of the season, striking out five while going five innings and allowing only one earned run. Rehabbing Carlos Marmol was able to toss a scoreless inning, as did veteran Mike MacDougal. Scott Maine finished up the final two innings, shutting down the Redbirds.

The I-Cubs were able to only scratch out one run through eight innings, as Brett Jackson’s sacrifice fly brought in Steve Clevenger (1-for-3), who had doubled earlier. That set things up for Valbuena (1-for-4), whose solo homer in the top of the ninth proved to be the game winner.

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Iowa reached into the rack on Saturday and brought out the nig bats, as they thumped Memphis 6-4. The I-Cubs hit four home runs, with rehabbing Steve Clevenger leading the way as he was 3-for-3 with a double and a solo shot. Brett Jackson also shows some signs of regaining life in his bat, as he was 2-for-4 including a triple, his own solo home run, and two RBI. League leader Anthony Rizzo belted his 17th as he was 2-for-4. Coming in on a double-switch, Josh Vitters joined the fun as he went yard and was 1-for-2. Although not leaving the park, Ty Wright collected two hits and an RBI.

Starter Frankie De La Cruz was the beneficiary of the output, as he allowed four runs (three earned) and struck out five in five innings. Ryan Roland-Smith got the win, as he followed De La Cruz and tossed two scoreless innings. Struggling vets Nate Robertson and Mike MacDougal held things together for an inning apiece, blanking the Redbirds the rest of the way.

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News and Notes
The Iowa Cubs placed LHP Jeff Beliveau (shoulder) and IF Blake DeWitt on the 7-Day disabled list; assigned IF Diory Hernandez to the Iowa Cubs.

The Tennessee Smokies placed RHP Casey Weathers on the 7-Day disabled list. Right-handed pitcher Ty’Relle Harris was assigned to the Tennessee Smokies from the Daytona Cubs.

Right-handed pitcher Robert Whitenack was assigned to the Daytona Cubs from Extended Spring Training. Left-handed pitcher Jeffrey Lorick and C Taylor Davis were assigned to the Daytona Cubs from the Peoria Chiefs.

Right-handed pitchers Starling Peralta and Felix Pena, and OF Yasiel Balaguert were assigned to the Peoria Chiefs from Extended Spring Training. The Peoria Chiefs placed C Rafael Lopez on the 7-Day disabled list; activated IF Kenny Socorro from the 7-Day disabled list.

CCO’s Prospect Watch

  • Javier Baez (IF) – Extended Spring Training
  • Jeimer Candelario (3B) – Extended Spring Training
  • Zeke DeVoss (2B) – .251, seven doubles, triple, two home runs, 13 RBI, 11 stolen bases (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Junior Lake (IF) – . 319, five doubles, triple, two home runs, five RBI, three stolen bases (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Dillon Maples (RHP) – Extended Spring Training
  • Matt Szczur (OF) – .267, 11 doubles, three triples, home run, 12 RBI, 19 stolen bases (Daytona Cubs)
  • Ronald Torreyes (2B) – .176, four doubles, two triples, eight RBI, four stolen bases (Daytona Cubs)
  • Josh Vitters (3B) – .266, 11 doubles, five home runs, 22 RBI, stolen base (Iowa Cubs)
  • Dan Vogelbach (1B) – Extended Spring Training
  • Tony Zych (RHP) – 2-3, 3.91 ERA, 25.1 innings, 20 strikeouts, 4 walks, 1.26 WHIP, 4 saves (Daytona Cubs)

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