Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 07/0912

It’s a hot time to be at the hot corner in the Cubs’ organization this week, as third base seems to be where it’s at.

Peoria’s Dustin Geiger tied a club record for home runs, while Boise’s Jeimer Candelario remained a hitting machine. Greg Rohan made a big splash in his debut at Tennessee, and Josh Vitters continues to be clutch for Iowa.

So trust your instincts and don’t guard the line. Take a look at today’s Down on the Farm Report, and we promise no bad hops.

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

Short Season-A – Boise Hawks (8-15)
While the Hawks outhit Tri-City on Wednesday, it didn’t translate to runs or a win as Boise lost 5-3. Chadd Krist and Rock Shoulders were each 3-for-4 with a double, with Shoulders driving in two runs. Starter Willengton Cruz had an off night, allowing five earned runs while striking out four in four innings. Felix Pena set a new personal high with four scoreless innings, and Eduardo Orozco blanked the Dust Devils in the ninth.

Thursday saw an end to the four-game skid as Boise came back in the ninth for a 7-6 win over Tri-City. Starter Jose Arias seemed to have the game in control as he went 5.2 innings, giving up an earned run while striking out three batters. However, Michael Hamann had a hard time getting outs, as he allowed four earned runs in 1.1 innings. Roderik Pichardo settled things down by tossing a scoreless inning, but Bryce Shafer set up the ninth inning dramatics by letting in an earned run.

The Hawks jumped out to a 4-2 lead as Bijan Rademacher (2-for-3, double) homered in the third inning, while a triple by Marco Hernandez (2-for-5, two RBI) brought in Gioskar Amaya (3-for-5, RBI) and Stephen Bruno (3-for-4, two RBI) doubled Hernandez home. Rademacher also scored on Hernandez’s single in the fifth. The ninth started with a single by Dong-Yub Kim (2-for-4), a walk to pinch-hitter Xavier Batista, and a sacrifice by Trey Martin. Amaya then drove in Kim with a single, and after a fielder’s choice by Hernandez, Bruno delivered the game winning hit.

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Boise let the lead slip away from them three times on Friday, as they lost to Tri-City 5-4 in 11 innings. The Hawks provided James Pugliese with a 2-0 lead in the first, but the starter would allow three runs (two earned) and strike out three in five innings. Pete Levitt then let the Dust Devils tie the score, as he gave up an earned run in two innings. Four strikeouts by Michael Heesch kept Tri-City in place over two scoreless innings. But Bryce Shafer couldn’t follow, letting in an earned run in the top of the 11th inning. Willson Contreras drove in two runs as he was 2-for-5. Jeimer Candelario and Bijan Rademacher were also 2-for-5, with Rademacher adding an RBI. Chadd Krist went 2-for-4 and brought home the Hawks’ other run.

It was double, double, toil and trouble for Yakima on Saturday, as half of Boise’s 12 hits were two-baggers in a 4-0 victory. Jeimer Candelario remains the offensive leader, as a double was part of his 3-for-5 evening that also included an RBI. Driving in two, Willson Contreras also had a double and was 2-for-5. The top of the order in Gioskar Amaya and Stephen Bruno were each 2-for-5 with a double, while the final doubles came from Dong-Yub Kim (1-for-3) and Xavier Batista (1-for-4, RBI).

Tayler Scott started for the Hawks and pitched a gem, being the first Boise pitcher to go six innings as he blanked the Bears and struck out four batters. Hayden Simpson completed the shutout. Simpson fanned three through three scoreless innings for the long save.

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Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (41-44)
Peoria faced down the starting pitcher in the All-Star game thanks to the efforts of their two hottest players, as the Chiefs defeated Burlington 8-2. Michael Jensen, an All-Star snub, won the duel with the Bees’ Drew Granier by striking out five and giving up two runs (one earned) in six innings. The struggling Austin Reed put things together, tossing two scoreless innings as he struck out three batters. Yao-Lin Wang finished the job, setting Burlington down in the ninth.

All the runs the Chiefs would need came off the bat of Dustin Geiger, as he was 2-for-3 with a solo and a two-run home run. Oliver Zapata joined in the fun, belting a three-run homer while going 2-for-4, including a stolen base. Taiwan Easterling was also 2-for-4 as he cracked two doubles and drove in a run.

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The Chiefs made four hits count for them on Thursday, as they came out on top of a pitcher’s duel with Burlington 2-1. Zach Cates gave the type of pitching performance many expected when he was acquired from the Padres organization. Cates struck out five in 4.2 scoreless innings. Zach Rosscup also recorded five strikeouts and he shut down the Bees for three innings. While he gave up and earned run, Luis Liria picked up his fourth save as he struck out two in 1.1 innings. Dustin Geiger brought the thunder, as he hit his third home run in two nights as part of a 1-for-2 performance. Javier Baez scored the other run. Baez went 1-for-3 with a stolen base.

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Friday saw the Chiefs literally throw one away, as four errors contributed to an 8-3 loss to Burlington. While Dustin Geiger (1-for-4, two RBI) homered in his third straight game, his three errors helped lead to four unearned runs for starter Starling Peralta. Peralta struck out five in five innings and let in two earned runs. Larry Suarez made his own trouble, allowing two earned runs in 1.2 innings. Striking out four batters, Sheldon McDonald went 2.1 scoreless innings. Taiwan Easterling was 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI, while Javier Baez went 2-for-4.

Peoria played long ball on Saturday, as three home runs were the difference in a 5-3 win over Cedar Rapids. Tying a club record, Dustin Geiger (1-for-5) homered in his fourth straight game. Javier Baez went 3-for-4, also clubbing a solo home run. However, Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-4) provided the winning margin, as his three run homer in the eighth gave the Chiefs the edge.

Jose Rosario started and allowed two earned runs and struck out five in 5.2 innings. Hunter Cervenka would get credit for the win, as he tossed two scoreless innings while striking out three batters. While he gave up an earned run in the ninth, Yao-Lin Wang held on to pick up his 11th save.

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High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (38-47)
The D-Cubs made a lot of Fourth of July noise, but weren’t able to bring home a victory as they lost 5-2 to Dunedin on Wednesday. Daytona had nine hits, with Rebel Ridling driving in both runs as he was 2-for-4, including a double. Joining Ridling in going 2-for-4 with a double were Rubi Silva and Ronald Torreyes, while Elieser Bonne added a pair of singles in four at bats (2-for-4). The D-Cubs will just have to grin a bear it when Robert Whitenack takes the mound, as the rehabbing pitcher gave up all five runs (four earned) and struck out five in 3.1 innings. Spot starter Eduardo Figueroa took over and blanked the Blue Jays for 3.1 innings and struck out two batters. Jeffrey Lorick was better than in previous outings. Lorick struck out over 1.1 scoreless innings.

Thursday was a carbon copy of the previous day’s game, as eight hits netted only two runs as Daytona lost to Dunedin 5-2. Kyler Burke struck out four, but allowed three runs (two earned) in the start. Another victim of defense was AJ Morris, as only one of the two runs he gave up were earned in his inning of work. Brian Schlitter tossed two scoreless innings. The main offensive threat was John Andreoli, as he was 3-for-4 with his 29th stolen base, and also had an outfield assist. Arismendy Alcantara went 2-for-5 with an RBI.

Daytona’s pitching staff was dealing for the most part on Friday, as they throttled Dunedin 5-1. Matt Loosen had his strikeout pitch going. Loosen fanned ten in seven scoreless innings. Ryan Searle didn’t have the same success, allowing an earned run while failing to record an out. Matt Spencer bailed Searle out with a scoreless inning, and Scott Weismann struck out two to finish things off.

Rubi Silva was on for the D-Cubs, as he went 4-for-5 with an RBI. Arismendy Alcantara would fall a single short of the cycle, as he was 3-for-5 with a double, triple, home run and two runs driven in. Ronald Torreyes also had an RBI as part of a 1-for-2 performance that included a double.

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Pitching once again betrayed the D-Cubs, as they lost 6-5 to Lakeland on Saturday. Starter PJ Francescon had a tough time with the Flying Tigers. Francescon allowed five runs (four earned) in five innings. Eduardo Figueroa stopped any further damage by going 1.1 scoreless innings. However, Jeffrey Lorick gave up what would be the game winner. Lorick struck out three in 1.2 innings. Rubi Silva remained hot, going 2-for-4. Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-3) and Taylor Davis (1-for-4, two RBI) each homered.

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (42-45)
A ninth innings rally fell short on Wednesday, as Tennessee lost 4-3 to Jacksonville. The Smokies got behind the eight ball as Dallas Beeler allowed four runs (three earned) over 4.1 innings and allowed an early 2-0 lead to slip away. Casey Harman and Ty’Relle Harris kept the Suns in check the rest of the way, Harman pitching 2.2 innings and Harris going two scoreless innings. Greg Rohan put the Smokies ahead by belting his first Double-A home run, as he was 1-for-4 with two RBI. Justin Bour helped them inch closer with a 2-for-4 performance that included a RBI. Elliot Soto was also 2-for-3 on the night.

With a rainout on Thursday, Friday saw a doubleheader with Jacksonville that ended in a split … a 5-1 Smokies’ victory in game one and a 3-1 loss in game two. The opener saw Eric Jokisch baffle the Suns, allowing an earned run over six innings with two strikeouts. Marcus Hatley then added his own strikeout and finished the game with a scoreless inning. The Smokies distributed five hits between five players, as Justin Bour collected two RBI as he was 1-for-3. Michael Burgess was also 1-for-3 and two runs driven in. Greg Rohan had Tennessee’s only extra-base hit. Rohan had a double and an RBI in his 1-for-3 afternoon.

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In the nightcap, the Smokies manage only four hits, with Juan Apodaca driving in the only run as he was 1-for-2. Nick Struck had his tenth win of the season elude him again as errors by Logan Watkins and Junior Lake led to two unearned runs. Struck allowed three runs, including an earned run, and struck out six in five innings. Tony Zych struck out the side in his inning, while Frank Batista tossed a scoreless inning.

Both teams brought out their hitting sticks on Saturday, but Chattanooga ended up prevailing over Tennessee 6-3. The game saw 23 hits with the Smokies recording 11 of the 23. Logan Watkins went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI. However, nobody else was able to produce runs, as Junior Lake went 2-for-5, Michael Burgess was 2-for-4 and Juan Apodaca was 3-for-4 with a double. Dae-Eun Rhee had one of his better outings, allowing two earned runs while striking out four in five innings. Kevin Rhoderick continued his recent struggles, as he gave up an earned run in two innings. But Casey Harman provided what would be the winning edge as he let in three earned runs in the ninth inning.

Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (37-53)
Iowa provided the holiday fireworks for the visiting club, as they lost Wednesday 11-2 to Omaha. Once again, it was the veteran pitchers that failed to show up, as starter Rodrigo Lopez allowed eight runs (six earned) in 4.1 innings. Esmailin Caridad helped the Storm Chasers add to their total by giving up an earned run in 2.2 innings, while Mike MacDougal let in another two earned runs in his inning of work. The only hurler untouched was Jeff Beliveau, as he tossed a scoreless ninth. Brett Jackson was moved down to the sixth spot and went 2-for-4 with two RBI and two stolen bases. Matt Tolbert was also 2-for-4 while Adrian Cardenas went 2-for-3.

On Thursday, the Iowa offense could not string together an attack, as they were shutout by Omaha 3-0. The I-Cubs had six hits, with Diory Hernandez (2-for-3) leading the way, as the team placed runners in scoring position only once. Brooks Raley was his own worst enemy, as his error provided two unearned runs to the Storm Chasers. Raley also gave up an earned run and struck out four in 6.2 innings. Alberto Cabrera and Ryan Rowland-Smith kept it close the rest of the way, pitching 1.1 and one scoreless inning apiece.

The I-Cubs rallied to take a lead on Friday, only to ride a rollercoaster as they brought in a 5-4 victory over Omaha in 11 innings. Recently back from the parent club, Casey Coleman looks like he is being stretched out again for a starting role, as he went three innings and allowed three earned runs while striking out three batters. Frankie De La Cruz provided a piggy-back for Coleman, as he tossed four scoreless innings. Since moving to the bullpen Jay Jackson has allowed only one earned run in his last 8.2 innings. Jackson added another shutout inning to his total. Michael Bowden blew the save by giving up the tying run in the ninth, but acquitted himself by tossing two more scoreless innings in order to earn the victory.

The sometimes wheezing attack of Iowa got a jolt from Welington Castillo (1-for-3, two RBI), whose seventh inning home run tied the score. Dave Sappelt was 2-for-5, while Blake Lalli went 2-for-4. Alfredo Amezaga (2-for-6) singled in the bottom of the 11th to bring home Lalli with the game winner.

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Veteran leadership and clutch performances against Omaha helped bring Iowa a 5-4 win on Saturday. Alfredo Amezaga took over the leadoff spot for an ailing Brett Jackson and went 3-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI. Dave Sapplet continued his quiet rise by going 2-for-4 and driving in two runs. Just called up from Tennessee, James Adduci also went 2-for-4 with a RBI, while saving a run with a diving catch. However, it was Josh Vitters (1-for-4) delivering a clutch, two-out double in the seventh to tie the score and extend his hitting streak to nine games.

A bullpen day saw Esmailin Caridad start and go three innings, as he was touched for an unearned run. Ryan Rowland-Smith followed with an earned run and three strikeouts in four innings. Although he was shaky in his two innings, allowing two earned runs, Jeff Beliveau hung in and was able to secure the win.

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News and Notes
The Iowa Cubs placed OF Ty Wright on the 7-day disabled list; assigned OF James Adduci to the Iowa Cubs from the Tennessee Smokies.

The Peoria Chiefs assigned LHP Zach Rosscup to the Tennessee Smokies; LHP Jeffry Antigua was assigned to the Peoria Chiefs.

According to Baseball America, the Cubs released RHP Ricardo Estevez, RHP Ramon Garcia, RHP Shane Lindsay and LHP Hung-Chih Kuo.

CCO’s Prospect Watch

  • Javier Baez (IF) – . 305, three doubles, two triples, five home runs, 13 RBI, 13 stolen bases (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Jeimer Candelario (3B) – . 349, four doubles, four home runs, 15 RBI, stolen base (Boise Hawks)
  • Zeke DeVoss (2B) – .237, 14 doubles, three triples, three home runs, 21 RBI, 21 stolen bases (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Junior Lake (IF) – . 287, nine doubles, two triples, four home runs, 15 RBI, eight stolen bases (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Matt Szczur (OF) – .273, 15 doubles, three triples, two home runs, 23 RBI, 26 stolen bases (Daytona Cubs)
  • Ronald Torreyes (2B) – .239, 14 doubles, two triples, four home runs, 21 RBI, six stolen bases (Daytona Cubs)
  • Josh Vitters (3B) – .299, 24 doubles, triple, 13 home runs, 48 RBI, two stolen bases (Iowa Cubs)
  • Dan Vogelbach (1B) – . 356, seven doubles, triple, three home runs, 15 RBI (Arizona Cubs)
  • Robert Whitenack – 0-3, 5.47 ERA, 24.2 innings, 16 strikeouts, seven walks, 1.70 WHIP (Daytona Cubs)
  • Tony Zych (RHP) – 0-0, 3.00 ERA, 3.0 innings, five strikeouts, two walks, 2.33 WHIP (Tennessee Smokies)

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