Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 06/21/12

The games to start this week were sparse, as All-Star breaks occurred in the Southern, Florida State, and Midwest Leagues. Boise managed their first win, with Jeimer Candelario and Dong-Yub Kim leading the way. Iowa remains inconsistent, but Josh Vitters is still hot.

Along with summaries of the All-Star Games, and a recap of action in the Dominican Summer League, here is 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.

Short Season-A – Boise Hawks (1-4)
The Boise Hawks looked poised for their first victory of 2012 on Sunday night, but relief pitching wasn’t able to hold as they lost 4-3 to Salem-Keizer. Twenty year old Tayler Scott had his first professional start and struck out four over five scoreless innings. Hayden Simpson came on in relief, and gave up two earned runs in two innings. Pete Levitt was able to hold in the eighth, but gave up two singles with one out in the ninth. Experienced closer Bryce Shafer was asked to slam the door, but instead allowed a walk-off, two-run single, both charged to Levitt, to end the game. Shawon Dunston, Jr. was finally able to make the stat sheet for 2012, as he was 2-for-4 with a run scored. Gioskar Amaya went 2-for-3, while Jeimer Candelario drove in two as he was 2-for-4.

It took 12 innings, but the Hawks finally put one in the win column as they beat Salem-Keizer 6-4 on Monday. Boise took advantage of the wildness of the Volcanoes; with five walks, four errors, and two passed balls leading to five unearned runs. In his first start, 19-year old catcher Justin Marra went 3-for-5, while Jeimer Candelario was 2-for-5. Dong-Yub Kim hit his first home run of the season as he was 1-for-5.

Righty Ian Dickson saw his first action for the organization after being drafted last year, and went 4.1 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) and striking out two batters. Matt Spencer came on in relief and also struck out two as he tossed 1.2 scoreless innings. Another pitcher who was tagged for an unearned run was Roderik Pichardo, who went 0.2 innings. Rafael Diplan was able to steady things, striking out four in 3.1 innings to get credit for the win. Bryce Shafer set down the side in order in the 12th for his first save.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

It looks as though Boise will be happy to get back home and away from Salem, as the Hawks dropped their fourth game to Salem-Keizer 4-1 on Tuesday. Starter Willengton Cruz, a return performer from last season, allowed only one unearned run and struck out six in five innings. Felix Pena, newly assigned from Peoria, gave up three earned runs in three innings. Dong-Yub Kim was 2-for-4, while Wilson Contreras (2-for-4) RBI double scored Marco Hernandez (2-for-4) for the Hawks’ only run.

Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (35-34)
Peoria never looked back on Sunday, as they cruised to a 10-5 win against the Clinton Lumber Kings. In a tune up for Tuesday’s All-Star game, Paul Hoilman put on an All-Star type performance as he was 2-for-5 with a double, home run, and four RBI. Oliver Zapata drove in two as he went 2-for-4, including a double. Both Pin-Chieh Chen and Sergio Burruel scored two runs as they were each 2-for-4, Chen with an RBI and two stolen bases, with Burruel hitting a double. Dustin Geiger was 2-for-5 with an RBI, while Wes Darvill had a double and a stolen base as part of his 2-for-4 effort.

Michael Jensen not making the All-Star team continues to be a head scratcher, as he earned his seventh win by striking out three and allowing two earned runs over six innings. Larry Suarez had a decent performance for him, giving up an earned run in an inning of work, while Austin Reed provided a scoreless inning. Hunter Cervenka got tagged with two unearned runs as he worked the final inning.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (29-38)
The road back from injury appears to be a little longer and harder than imagined for Robert Whitenack, as he and the D-Cubs lost 6-3 to Tampa on Monday. Whitenack allowed four earned runs in the first inning, and was only able to last three. Eduardo Figueroa and Ryan Searle prevented any further damage, as each tossed two scoreless innings, with Searle striking out two batters. AJ Morris then provided another shut out inning, but Tony Zych was touched for two earned runs in the ninth before eventually striking out the side. Greg Rohan drove in two runs as he was 1-for-4, while Taylor Davis went 2-for-4.

It seems as though Tampa has Daytona’s number this season as they lost 4-2 on Tuesday to make their record 4-7 against the Yankees. Matt Loosen received his second loss of the season, as he went six innings and allowed four runs (three earned) while striking out five batters. Joe Zeller, Jeffrey Lorick, and Scott Weismann combined to hold the Yankees the rest of the way, each pitching a scoreless inning with Lorick and Weismann striking out two apiece. Arismendy Alcantara was 3-for-4 with a double and a stolen base, but his 25th error led to the unearned run. Rubi Silva (1-for-3) doubled and drove in a run, while Taylor Davis was 2-for-3 with an RBI.

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (35-35)
All good things must end, as Tennessee’s winning streak was halted at four with their 5-3 loss to Birmingham on Sunday in the final game of the first half. The Smokies had been getting by with minimal run support, but that wasn’t the case on Sunday. While Junior Lake had a good day on paper a 3-for-4, it also reflected his .216 average with runners in scoring position. Elliot Soto, who also went 3-for-4, has more RBI than Lake even though he is hitting 70 points lower. Logan Watkins continued his resurgence, as he was 2-for-4 including a triple and two RBI. Trey McNutt was trying to bounce back from a previous poor performance, only to be toughed for three home runs and five earned runs through 5.2 innings. Casey Harman, Brian Schlitter, and Alberto Cabrera were able to hold the Barons scoreless the rest of the way, but the attack could not produce any more runs despite having ten hits.

Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (30-42)
The I-Cubs started the week off right with a close, 3-2 victory over Albuquerque, Chris Volstad did what every good starter should, limit the other team’s scoring and give your team a chance to win. Volstad allowed only two earned runs, both in the first inning, through six innings while striking out six batters. Michael Bowden continues to shine after a rough beginning, striking out four of the five batters he faced in 1.2 scoreless innings. Scott Maine finished things off for his fifth save.

Alfredo Amezaga set the tone for Iowa, as his home run to lead off the game was part of a 2-for-4 afternoon. Anthony Rizzo bashed his 23rd home run with Amezaga on board to provide the winning difference. Josh Vitters remained hot, going 2-for-3 with a double.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

After an off-day on Monday, The I-Cubs were back at it on Tuesday and lost 6-3 to Round Rock. Starter Rodrigo Lopez was responsible for all six runs, all earned, as he tossed five innings. Esmailin Caridad and Rafael Dolis went the rest of the way, holding the Express scoreless. Iowa pounded out 13 hits, but weren’t able to string them together for runs. Veterans Blake Lalli and Alfredo Amezaga led all hitters, as Lalli was 3-for-4 with a double and RBI, while Amezaga went 3-for-5, including a double. Another veteran, Ty Wright, was 2-for-4 with a double and a run driven in, and Dave Sappelt was also 2-for-4 with a double.

Dominican Summer League
Despite a team batting average of only .236, the Cubs-1 team maintained a record of 7-8 this past week, as they remained in third in the Baseball City division. New on the scene is 19-year old shortstop Jenner Emeterio, who started three games and batted .583, including two doubles, a triple, home run, and four RBI. Outfielder Roberto Caro’s batting average remained at .300, while third baseman Roney Alcala raised his average to .316 and six RBI. Left-handed starter Carlos A. Rodriguez has now pitched 15 innings, posting an ERA of 1.20 with 17 strikeouts. Seventeen year-old lefty Jose Paulino is tied for the league lead in strikeouts with 21, while he has a 2.40 ERA in 15 innings.

The Cubs-2 team continued to struggle, as their 6-9 record is good for seventh in Boca Chica South. Centerfielder Kelvin Encarnacion remains the offensive leader, with a .343 batting average, with three home runs and six stolen bases. Shortstop Luis Acosta is fourth in the league with 17 RBI, and his average has improved to.250. Another player to watch is 20-year old outfielder Shamil Ubiera, who is now hitting .276 with eight RBI. Right-handed pitcher Daury Torres continues to baffle hitters, with a 0.56 ERA, a 0.63 WHIP, 15 strikeouts, and a 3-0 record in 16 innings.

Southern League and Midwest League All-Star Games
The Southern Division topped the Northern Division 6-2 in the Southern League All-Star Game on Tuesday. Prior to the game, Tennessee first Baseman Justin Bour lost a “hit off” in the Southern League Home Run Derby. Bour went 1-for-3 in the game, while outfielder James Adduci was 2-for-2 with a double and an RBI. Three pitchers from the Smokies saw action, as Kevin Rhoderick pitched an inning, Alberto Cabrera 0.1 innings, and Frank Batista 0.2 innings, all scoreless.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

In Geneva, Illinois, the East All-Stars “put a whoopin'” on the West 18-2 in Tuesday’s Midwest League All-Star Game. None of the Peoria Chiefs’ representatives fared well, as Kyler Burke allowed five earned runs in 0.2 innings, while starting first baseman Paul Hoilman was 0-for-2. Zeke DeVoss also saw some late action, going 0-1 and playing right field.

News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs optioned C Welington Castillo to the Iowa Cubs; recalled LHP Scott Maine from the Iowa Cubs. The Peoria Chiefs assigned RHP Felix Pena to the Boise Hawks.

C Lance Rymel, C Chadd Krist, IF Stephen Bruno and P Joe Zeller were added to the Boise Hawks roster and C Justin Marra was sent to the AZL Cubs.

Daytona released 1B Richard Jones; Rebel Ridling and RHP Brian Schlitter were sent to Daytona from Tennessee

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

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