Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 07/26/12

Movement was once again the focus of the early part of the week, although there were none of significance above the Single-A level.

This past week saw the debuts of outfielders Jorge Soler and Albert Almora in the rookie league, while Dan Vogelbach said hello to the fans of Boise. Yao-Lin Wang was also on the move in Peoria, as he went back into a starting role after leading the team in saves. And it was “thank you for the two scoreless innings” from Iowa to Ty’Relle Harris, “but now, go back to Tennessee”.

With recaps of the Arizona Rookie League and 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 (14-25)
The losing streak for Boise has now grown to five games, as they lost on Sunday to Eugene 8-1. James Pugliese was battered by the Emeralds’ attack, allowing seven earned runs in four innings. Michael Heesch remained perfect, as he held down Eugene for two scoreless innings and struck out three batters. Eduardo Orozco also went two innings with three strikeouts, but gave up an earned run. Willson Contreras (1-for-4) came home on a wild pitch for the Hawks’ only run. Xavier Batista was 1-for-4 with a double.

With some great pitching, the Hawks broke their losing streak by beating Eugene 3-0. Tayler Scott struck out four in six innings as he raised his season record to 2-1. Hayden Simpson was also throwing up zeroes, as he went two innings and had a strikeout. Matt Iannazzo picked up his first save in a 1-2-3 ninth.

Gioskar Amaya was back in form at leadoff as he was 3-for-4 with an RBI and two stolen bases. Stephen Bruno drove in two, as he was 2-for-4 with a double. Trey Martin added a double as part of a 1-for-3 performance, while Jeimer Candelario was 1-for-4.

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Boise almost pulled off the improbable on Tuesday, a combined no-hitter, as they made it two in a row with a 2-1 win over Yakima. Ian Dickson no-hit the Bears through six innings (although scorers would change one error to a hit after the game) with four strikeouts. Hunter Ackerman had three strikeouts with one earned run allowed in 2.1 innings. Earning his first save, Michael Hamann got the last two outs. Dan Vogelbach made his debut for the Hawks and went 2-for-4 with a double. Jeimer Candelario broke out of a mini-slump with a 2-for-4 efforts that included a double and a RBI.

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Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (46-53)
For the second day in a row, Peoria ended up on the wrong end of a tight ballgame, as they lost 3-2 to South Bend on Sunday. Starling Peralta gave the Chiefs a solid starting effort. Peralta allowed three runs (two earned) in six innings. Sheldon McDonald stopped the Silver Hawks the rest of the way, striking out three in two scoreless innings. Both runs came on a Dustin Geiger (1-for-4) home run with Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-4, stolen base) aboard. Sergio Burruel was 2-for-3.

Make it three in a row as Peoria lost out in a pitcher’s duel on Monday, bowing to South Bend 2-0. The Chiefs managed only two hits, doubles by Chadd Krist and Yaniel Cabezas. Yao-Lin Wang made his second start after recoding 12 saves in the bullpen. Wang struck out five in 3.2 scoreless innings. Jeffry Antigua kept pace, as he held the Silver Hawks scoreless for 2.1 innings with three strikeouts. But Luis Liria was touched up for two earned runs in 1.1 innings, and Austin Reed recorded the final two outs.

High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (43-56)
After having their last two games cancelled by rain, Daytona was back in action on Tuesday as they beat Brevard County 4-3. Matt Loosen was finally able to take the mound and was ready. Loosen struck out eight and allowed two earned runs over six innings. Ryan Searle had two punch-outs in a scoreless inning, and AJ Morris picked up a save after giving up an earned run with three strikeouts in two innings.

Rubi Silva took over the league lead in triples with a 2-for-4 performance that included two RBI and his 11th triple of the season. Matt Szczur was 1-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base. John Andreoli also swiped a base and he is tied with Szczur for the league lead in stolen bases (34). Ronald Torreyes also collected a stolen base as part of his 1-for-4 effort.

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Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (49-52)
Sunday saw the completion of Saturday’s suspended game with Chattanooga, as pitching didn’t seem to matter to both clubs with the Lookouts defeating the Smokies 12-11 in 11 innings. Dallas Beeler was rocked for five earned runs in 4.1 innings. Tony Zych finished the fifth inning and gave up two more earned runs. Marcus Hatley let in an earned run in two innings of work, while Frank Batista was the only Tennessee pitcher to go untouched. Batista tossed two scoreless innings. Both Kevin Rhoderick and Casey Harman allowed two earned runs for Chattanooga that proved to be the margin of victory for the Lookouts. Justin Bour was 2-for-6 with a two-run home run. Pinch hitter Nelson Perez also went yard as he was 1-for-2, while Logan Watkins was 3-for-6.

Sunday’s regularly scheduled game saw Tennessee jump out to an 8-1 lead just to hold on for an 8-4 win over Chattanooga. Nick Struck was at the top of his game. Struck went five innings and allowed an earned run with two strikeouts. Zach Rosscup was impressive with five strikeouts over three scoreless frames. But Trey McNutt continued to struggle. McNutt gave up three earned runs in ninth. Nelson Perez (1-for-5) drove in two, while Michael Burgess also plated a couple of runs with a pinch-hit double. Junior Lake, Logan Watkins and Dustin Harrington were each 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Jae-Hoon Ha was 2-for-5.

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After Monday’s off day, the Smokies looked refreshed on Tuesday as they defeated Jacksonville 9-2. Starting pitcher Eric Jokisch was very good over his five innings of work. Jokisch struck out eight and allowed an earned run. Newly recalled Brian Schlitter worked 1.2 scoreless innings and struck out two batters. Kevin Rhoderick was hung with an unearned run in his 1.1 innings. Casey Weathers struck out two as he finished it out for Tennessee.

Picking an offensive star would be difficult, as Nelson Perez was 3-for-4 with a double, RBI, and stolen base. Greg Rohan (2-for-4) slugged his second home run and added a double. Michael Burgess was 2-for-3, while Junior Lake went 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBI.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (41-63)
Sunday’s game with Albuquerque was never as close as the score indicates, as Iowa was blown out 9-5. The Isotopes posted six runs before the I-Cubs scored their first, courtesy of starter Chris Volstad. Volstad went five innings and gave up six runs (five earned). Recently called back up to Iowa, Ty’Relle Harris tossed two scoreless innings and struck out three batters. Frankie De La Cruz then allowed three earned runs in the final inning. Josh Vitters was the whole show for the Iowa offense. Vitters went 2-for-4 with a three-run home run.

It was get-away day on Monday, as a matinee saw Iowa lose to Albuquerque 3-1. Brooks Raley did not have a bad effort, allowing three runs (two earned) and striking out eight in five innings. Esmailin Caridad pitched two while Michael Bowden added a scoreless inning, but the offense was nowhere to be seen. Brian Esposito was the lone highlight. Esposito was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI.

Iowa opened a series with Oklahoma City on Tuesday, and were thrashed 15-9 for their sixth loss in a row. Starter Rodrigo Lopez was simply awful. Lopez allowed eight earned runs in 3.2 innings. Ryan Rowland-Smith wasn’t much better, giving up three earned runs in 1.2 innings. Jay Jackson pitched only 0.2 innings and allowed another earned run. Just up from Tennessee, Marcus Hatley was shelled for three earned runs in just an inning of work. Alberto Cabrera was finally able to get through an inning without allowing anyone to cross the plate. While Welington Castillo was 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI, most of the offense was too little, too late. Dave Sappelt and Diory Hernandez (double and an RBI) were each 2-for-4. Brett Jackson (1-for-4) smacked his 14th home run.

Arizona Rookie League
It’s a new beginning for the AZL Cubs, as they said goodbye to Dan Vogelbach and hello to Albert Almora and Jorge Soler. Despite the changes, the Cubs kept winning as they maintained their 1.5 game lead with a 20-7 record. Vogelbach was promoted to Boise, turning the reins over to Soler. Jorge Soler has slugged two home runs and knocked in five in 16 at bats. Corner infielders Jacob Rogers and Ben Carhart remain the offensive leaders. Rogers is hitting .400 with two homers and 11 RBI, while Carhart has driven in 13, along with a home run and a .382 average. Shawon Dunston Jr. seems to have gotten his swing back. Dunston Jr. is now hitting .286 with two doubles, two triples, a homer and five RBI.

Carlos Martinez-Pumarino and David Henrie remain the leaders in innings pitched while Martinez-Pumarino also leads the squad with 22 strikeouts to go along with a 3-0 record, 1.21 ERA, and 0.85 WHIP. Henrie was hit hard in his last outing but still leads the team with a 4-1 record with a 5.32 ERA and 1.36 WHIP. Erstwhile closers Alvido Jimenez (1-2, 3.50, 18 innings, 16 strikeouts, 1.00 WHIP) and Jin-Young Kim (0-1, 2.45, 7.1 innings, six strikeouts, 1.23 WHIP) will now have to look over their respective shoulders at 12th round pick Justin Amlung. Amlung hasn’t allowed a run and has struck out six in six innings.

Dominican Summer League
Cubs-1 has tumbled to fourth place in the Baseball City division, now with a record of 20-22. First baseman Roney Alcala has dropped out of the top ten in batting. Alcala has a .340 average, tied for the team lead in home runs with five while leading the team with 28 RBI. Infielder Jenner Emeterio remained solid and is hitting .338 with two home runs while driving in 15 runs. Outfielder Roberto Caro has cooled but is still batting .300 with 16 RBI and 10 stolen bases. Outfielder Jeffrey Baez is tied for second in the league with 23 stolen bases, but his average has dropped to .261. Right-hander Carlos A. Rodriguez is tenth in the league with 49 strikeouts, with an ERA of 1.79 and a 0.95 WHIP. Seventeen-year old lefty Jose Paulino (2-3 with a 4.14 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP) is right behind Rodriguez with 43 strikeouts.

The Cubs-2 team has moved to 8.5 games out of first place, and their 24-20 record is third in the Boca Chica South division. Catcher-first baseman Jhonny Pena remains the team leader with a .343 average. Outfielder Shamil Ubiera stayed in the top 20 in the league with a .331 average that includes two homers and 26 RBI. Infielder Bryant Flete stayed hot and is hitting .318 with 11 RBI. Leading the team in steals is outfielder Kelvin Encarnacion (12) to go along with a .310 average that includes five home runs and 22 RBI. Right-hander Daury Torres (5-1 with 31 strikeouts) remains among the league leaders in ERA (0.91, fifth in the league) while his 0.77 WHIP is sixth. Eighteen-year old lefty Chris Pieters has seen more action recently, and is 2-2 with a 2.52 ERA in 25 innings. Alexander Santana remains a workhorse. The 18-year old has tossed 39.1 innings and posted a 1-2 record and ERA of 2.82, with 33 strikeouts and a 1.15 WHIP.

News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs assigned OF Albert Almora to the AZL Cubs. The Iowa Cubs assigned RHP Ty’Relle Harris to the Tennessee Smokies. The Tennessee Smokies assigned RHP Ty’Relle Harris to the Iowa Cubs; assigned RHP Marcus Hatley to the Iowa Cubs. The Daytona Cubs assigned RHP Brian Schlitter to the Tennessee Smokies. The AZL Cubs assigned IF Dan Vogelbach to the Boise Hawks.

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Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver