Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 07/12/12

It was an abbreviated schedule to start the week, as everyone took Tuesday off for the Major League All-Star game.

Wins were hard to come by, as Tennessee provided the thrills by coming from behind twice behind Greg Rohan, Logan Watkins, and closer Frank Batista. Iowa went off on a winning note due to the hot bats of Alfredo Amezaga, Dave Sappelt, and Josh Vitters. Daytona split a pair, with Arismendy Alcantara at the top of his game; while Boise and Peoria dropped two apiece.

Along with recaps of the Arizona Rookie League and the Dominican Summer League, enjoy 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 (8-17)
Violent storms cut short Sunday night’s game for Boise, as their contest with Yakima was ended after six innings with the Hawks coming away with a 10-1 loss. Xavier Batista (2-for-2) had half of Boise’s hits. Ian Dickson was pounded for seven earned runs in 2.2 innings. Rafael Diplan pitched another 2.1 innings and allowed three runs, but only one was earned.

The Hawks may need to start looking for answers, as they gave up double digit runs for the second straight night in losing 10-4 to Yakima. In a switch, Felix Pena was named started and actually did well, giving up only one earned run over four innings. Announced starter Willengton Cruz followed and was a completely different story, allowing four earned runs in an inning. Michael Hamann didn’t do much netter, surrendering three earned runs in 0.2 innings, while Roderik Pichardo and Su-Min Jung each let in an earned run. Trey Martin had his best night in a Boise uniform, going 3-for-4 while Willson Contreras was 2-for-4.

Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (41-46)
The Chiefs were not able to push a run across the plate on Sunday, as they were shutout by Cedar Rapids 3-0. Peoria was able to manage six hits, but only Zeke DeVoss (1-for-4) and Wes Darvill (1-for-3) went for extra bases, with each hitting a double. Knuckleballer Joe Zeller allowed three runs, but only one earned as he struck out three in five innings. Coming back from Tennessee, Jeffry Antigua also had three strikeouts in three scoreless innings.

Peoria pitching suffered a meltdown in the ninth inning, as the lost a Monday matinee to Cedar Rapids 4-3. The offense got identical numbers from Javier Baez and Wes Darvill, as they were each 2-for-4 with a home run. Michael Jensen had another good effort, allowing an earned run and striking out three in five innings. Sheldon McDonald and Austin Reed held the Kernels scoreless, McDonald for 1.1 innings while Reed went 1.2 innings. But Luis Liria had a hard time finding the plate, as he walked three and gave up three earned runs in 0.2 innings.

High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (39-48)
Daytona made their five hits count, as they rallied late on Sunday to defeat Lakeland 5-2. Chad Noble was the only D-Cub with more than one hit, as he was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Rebel Ridling drove in two as he was 1-for-4, while Arismendy Alcantara and Rubi Silva also had an RBI apiece.

Austin Kirk had to wait until the eighth inning to get off the hook, as he allowed two earned runs in six innings and struck out two batters. AJ Morris also had two strikeouts in two scoreless innings, while Brian Schlitter set down the side in order in the ninth for the save.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

The D-Cubs had too big of a hole to dig out of on Monday, as they lost 5-4 to Lakeland. Frustration seems to be growing as Daytona is only 2-6 in games started by Robert Whitenack, as he allowed five runs, all earned, in 2.1 innings. Matt Spencer and Scott Weismann each pitched a scoreless inning, while Ryan Searle gave up no runs in 1.2 innings. The biggest loser, though, has been Frank Del Valle, as he hasn’t started in ten days. Del Valle went two shutout innings and struck out three batters. Arismendy Alcantara was 4-for-5, while John Andreoli went 2-for-3 and Rebel Ridling was also 2-for-4.

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (44-45)
The Smokies survived another nail-biter on Sunday as they defeated Chattanooga 5-3. Trey McNutt started and went five innings, giving up two runs (one earned) and striking out two batters. Casey Weathers then allowed the Lookouts to creep back in, as they scored an earned run in his 1.1 innings. But Ty’Relle Harris stopped Chattanooga in its tracks, as he struck out two in 1.2 scoreless innings. Frank Batista slammed the door in the ninth, picking up his 15th save.

It continues to be the Greg Rohan show in Tennessee, as Sunday’s left fielder was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Nobody else on the Smokies had more than one hit, as Junior Lake, Logan Watkins, Justin Bour, and Michael Brenly each had an RBI.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

The Tennessee bullpen had fans holding their breath again as another gem was in jeopardy as they beat Chattanooga 4-3. Starter Dallas Beeler struck out five in seven shutout innings, and then had to grit his teeth while watching his fellow pitchers. Tony Zych only recorded an out as he gave up two earned runs in relief. Then Marcus Hatley allowed the Lookouts to get closer, as he let in an earned run in an inning. Finally, Frank Batista restored order by getting the last two outs for his 16th save.

The Smokies made five hits count, as Logan Watkins was 2-for-4 with a double, triple, and two RBI. Junior Lake and Justin Bour were each 1-for-4, including a double and an RBI.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (38-53)
Iowa’s eleven hits on Sunday were enough to bail out starter Randy Wells, as the I-Cubs went into the All-Star break with a 6-5 win over Omaha. Wells followed up a good performance his last time out with what came be described as “typical Randy Wells“, as he allowed five runs (four earned) with three strikeouts in 6.1 innings. Alberto Cabrera stopped the Storm Chasers in their tracks, striking out four and shutting them down for 2.2 innings.

Alfredo Amezaga seems to be enjoying the leadoff spot, as he was 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI. Dave Sappelt continued his hot hitting, as he went 2-for-4 as he drove in a run. And when you speak of being hot, Josh Vitters comes to mind as he also was 2-for-4, including a double and an RBI.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Arizona Rookie League
Ladies and Gentleman, your first place Cubs! Sounds nice, doesn’t it, even if it is only the AZL Cubs. Tim Saunders continues to be a one-man wrecking crew for the 12-4 Cubs, as he raised his average to .547 with two home runs and 11 RBI. He even showed off his versatility by lining up in centerfield for a few games. Dan Vogelbach is now the sole leader in homers with three, along with 16 RBI and a .339 average. Also standing out have been corner infielder Jacob Rogers (.433, two home runs, eight RBI) and middle infielder Dan Lockhart (.309, nine RBI). Left-hander Hunter Ackerman remains unscored upon in three starts (seven innings), while Alvido Jimenez leads the team with 14 innings pitched and 13 strikeouts; to go along with a 1-2 record, 4.50 ERA, and a save.

Dominican Summer League
What a difference a week makes, as both Cubs-1 and Cubs-2 teams improved their records to over .500.

Cubs-1 are now at 17-16, still good for fourth in the Baseball City division. Infielder Jenner Emeterio remained the offensive leader, hitting .375 with two home runs and an RBI total of thirteen. Switch-hitting First baseman Roney Alcala has also improved, batting .330 and leading the team with 19 RBI. Outfielder Jeffrey Baez is now second in the league with 19 stolen bases while hitting .294. Sixteen-year old Carlos A. Rodriguez has moved to fourth in the league with 41 strikeouts.

The Cubs-2 team is now starting to live up to some of its hype, with a record of 19-14 ranking third in the Boca Chica South division. However, it hasn’t been the expected cast of characters, as catcher-first baseman Jhonny Pena leading the team with a .397 average, including two homers and 17 RBI. Outfielders Kelvin Encarnacion and Shamil Ubiera pace the attack, with Encarnacion hitting .324 with his five home runs and 20 RBI, while Ubiera leads the team with 21 RBI and is batting .320. Nineteen-year old Daury Torres now leads the league with a 0.756 WHIP, reflecting only two walks against 34 strikeouts, and posting an ERA of 1.13 along with a 5-1 record.

News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs optioned RHP Chris Volstad to the Iowa Cubs. The Iowa Cubs assigned RHP Justin Berg to the Peoria Chiefs; released RHP Mike MacDougal. The Daytona Cubs assigned C Chad Noble to the Tennessee Smokies. The Peoria Chiefs assigned C Rafael Lopez to the Daytona Cubs; placed IF Kenny Socorro and LHP Gerardo Concepcion (virus) on the 7-Day disabled list. The Boise Hawks assigned C Chadd Krist to the Peoria Chiefs; assigned OF Shawon Dunston Jr. to the AZL Cubs. The AZL Cubs assigned C Carlos Escobar to the Boise Hawks; released IF Gregori Gonzalez.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon