Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 07/30/12

The team results were not what the managers wanted to see but several prospects in the Cubs’ system had a good end of the week and for some the solid play carried over into the weekend.

The Smokies had a rough end to their nine-game road trip. Jae-Hoon Ha was injured during Thursday’s game in Jacksonville and will be out for 7-14 days with a concussion. On the positive side, Matt Szczur replaced Ha on the Smokies roster, made his Double-A debut Friday and notched his first Double-A single on Saturday night. Junior Lake stayed hot while nursing a wrist injury. Lake’s performance over the past seven days should lead to player of the week honors. Lake hit the ball all over the park and is riding an 11-game hitting streak.

Javier Baez’s 11th homer of the season was a game winner Friday night. Dan Vogelbach stayed hot in Boise while splitting time at DH and first base with Rock Shoulders. Robert Whitenack earned his first win of the season … and a pitcher few recognized wearing a Chris Volstad jersey pitched eight shutout innings on Friday night. Josh Vitters kept his numbers up while playing both third and first base. Brett Jackson helped end the I-Cubs losing streak and hit is 15th longball of the year off Jacob Turner.

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

Short Season-A – Boise Hawks (16-27)
The Hawks dropped Wednesday’s slugfest with Yakima 10-8. The two teams combined on 29 hits as well as five errors. Felix Pena was roughed up over the first four innings. Pena gave up six runs, four earned, on seven hits without a walk and a pair of strikeouts. Rafael Diplan pitched three scoreless but undrafted free agent Matt Iannazzo was lit up and took the loss after giving up four runs on seven hits in 1 1/3 innings.

Dan Vogelbach led the offense with a 3-for-5 effort that included a double, a RBI and a run scored. Rock Shoulders (2-for-4 with a run scored), Gioskar Amaya (2-for-4 with a double, a RBI and a run scored) and Dong-Yub Kim (2-for-4 with a double, a home run and two RBI) each recorded multi-hit games.

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The Hawks dropped Thursday’s game 1-0 to Yakima. Jose Arias took the hard luck loss after allowing just the one run on three hits with two walks and three strikeouts in six-plus innings. Michael Hamann pitched two scoreless and Eduardo Orozco finished out with a scoreless ninth (one walk and two strikeouts).

Marco Hernandez (2-for-4) recorded the only multi-hit game while the legend of Dan Vogelbach continued to grow with a 1-for-4 effort as the team’s designated hitter.

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Boise pounded out 13 hits in Friday’s 8-3 victory over Tri-City. Only one player in the starting nine did not collect at least one hit and five of the nine had multi-hit games. Dan Vogelbach (2-for-3 with a double, a RBI and a run scored) continued pounding the baseball. Vogelbach collected two more hits, including a double in four trips to the plate. Vogelbach also drove in a run. Willson Contreras (1-for-4 with a home run and three RBI) hit his second longball of the year with two on in the first inning. Gioskar Amaya (2-for-5 with a triple, a run scored and two RBI)

James Pugliese surrendered three runs on six hits with a walk and two strikeouts in four innings. Michael Heesch pitched two scoreless and Willengton Cruz picked up the win after allowing just one hit with a walk while striking out four in two innings.

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Boise won a pitcher’s duel over Tri-City 1-0 on Saturday night. Tayler Scott picked up the win with five innings of scoreless ball to start the game. Scott gave up four hits, walked three and struck out four in route to his third victory of the season. Hayden Simpson surrendered one hit in his three scoreless frames while Eduardo Orozco picked up his first save.

Jeimer Candelario (1-for-3 with a RBI) drove in the only run of the game. Dan Vogelbach (0-for-3) had a rare 0-for night. Xavier Batista (0-for-3) did not contribute with the bat but he threw out Zach Osborne at the plate in the first inning. Boise’s defense turned two double plays to help preserve the shutout.

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Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (49-54)
Peoria took Wednesday’s game with Cedar Rapids 8-6 despite being outhit 13-7 and committing four errors. The Chiefs used a seven-run third inning to their advantage and held on for the win. Peoria walked nine times while Javier Baez (2-for-5 with a RBI and a run scored), Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-3 with a triple, RBI, run scored and two walks), Dustin Geiger (1-for-4 with a RBI, run scored and a walk) and Chadd Krist (1-for-2 with a RBI and two walks) drove in runs.

Knuckleballer Joe Zeller had another good start and is now 2-2 with a 1.32 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP with the Chiefs. Justin Berg continues to struggle while rehabbing with Peoria and allowed two runs on four hits with a strikeout in two innings. Pete Levitt closed it out and survived errors by Dustin Geiger and Wes Darvill in the ninth. Levitt gave up a pair of unearned runs on two hits

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Peoria rode another solid outing from Michael Jensen on Thursday to a 7-2 victory over Cedar Rapids. Jensen gave up two runs on four hits with six strikeouts and no walks over six innings of work. Larry Suarez pitched two scoreless innings and Bryce Shaffer closed it out with a perfect ninth. Jensen improved to 9-3 on the season.

On the offensive side, Javier Baez (2-for-2 with a double, two runs scored, two RBI and a HBP) had a big game while Chadd Krist continues to impress. Krist (1-for-3) drove in a pair with a double.

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Javier Baez delivered the game winner in Peoria’s 3-2 over Cedar Rapids on Friday. With the Chiefs trailing 2-1, Wes Darvill (2-for-4 with a double, a RBI and a run scored) doubled to start the eighth … then trotted home on Javier Baez’s 11th home run of the season. Baez finished the game 2-for-3 with a home run, two RBI and a walk. The Chiefs managed only five hits with Darvill and Baez combining on four of the five.

Zach Cates had a very good outing. Cates gave up a pair of runs on three hits with a walk, a hit batsman and seven strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. Sheldon McDonald was solid once again. McDonald tossed two scoreless frames in relief of Cates. But Austin Reed benefited from Baez’s homer and took the win after allowing only one hit over 1 2/3 innings.

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Beloit took a 5-4 lead into the ninth inning of Saturday’s game and five runs later they posted a 10-5 victory over Peoria. The Chiefs staff surrendered 10 hits and the five runs in the ninth were scored off Luis Liria and Pete Levitt. Liria gave up four runs on three hits with three walks and a strikeout in 1 2/3 innings while Levitt allowed both inherited runners to score in relief of Liria then allowed a run of his own to cross the plate.

Javier Baez (0-for-4 with a run scored) had a rough night while Pin-Chieh Chen (0-for-2 with a walk and a RBI), Paul Hoilman (1-for-4 with a RBI) and Sergio Burruel (2-for-4 with a RBI) drove in runs.

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High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (44-60)
Wednesday was a rough day for the Daytona Cubs as they lost both ends of a doubleheader to Brevard County.

PJ Francescon struggled in game one and took the loss. Francescon gave up six runs on seven hits with four walks and no strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings. Eduardo Figueroa completed the fourth and pitched the fifth without allowing any runs. Hunter Cervenka continues to excel with the D-Cubs. Cervenka pitched two scoreless to finish out game one and has yet to allow an earned run at the High-A level.

On the offensive side, Elieser Bonne was a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate that included a pair of doubles and Matt Cerda drove in a run and scored a run in his 2-for-4 effort.

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After dropping game on 6-4, the D-Cubs were shutout in game two and lost 3-0 with all three of Brevard County’s run coming in their final at bat (top of the seventh). Frank Del Valle allowed just one hit over five shutout innings but walked three batters to go along with four strikeouts. After Jeffrey Lorick tossed a perfect sixth, Scott Weismann surrendered all three runs on three hits with a walk.

Matt Szczur swiped his 38th base of the season as part of his 2-for-3 performance. The D-Cubs managed only three hits and three walks.

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Daytona took the opener with Bradenton 9-7 on Thursday. Matt Szczur (2-for-4 with two RBI), Ronald Torreyes (1-for-5) and Rubi Silva (2-for-5) did their job at the top of the lineup. John Andreoli (2-for-3 with a triple, two RBI and a walk) stole his 36th base of the season, hit a triple and scored four runs. Rafael Lopez was 3-for-4 with two doubles, a run scored and three RBI.

Austin Kirk struggled over his six innings of work. Kirk allowed four runs on six hits with five walks and three strikeouts and Ryan Searle picked up his first save after allowing three runs on two hits with three walks and two strikeouts in his three innings of work.

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Robert Whitenack picked up his first win since returning from Tommy John surgery with five shutout frames on Friday night in Daytona’s 2-0 victory over Bradenton. Whitenack surrendered just two hits, struck out four and issued three walks on 79 pitches, 44 for strikes. Eduardo Figueroa pitched the middle three innings and AJ Morris picked up his second save with a scoreless ninth.

Rebel Ridling (2-for-4) hit his second D-Cubs’ homer in the fourth inning and Ronald Torreyes (0-for-4 with a RBI) grounded into a 6-3 fielder’s choice in the third that plated Tim Saunders after Saunders and John Andreoli pulled off a double steal earlier in Torreyes’ at bat.

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Daytona dropped Saturday night’s game to Bradenton 9-7 after battling back to tie the game with a four-run sixth inning. Ronald Torreyes (3-for-5 with a double, a home run and three RBI) had a huge night. Torreyes hit his fifth homer in the four-run sixth, a two run shot. Tim Saunders (2-for-4 with a double, a RBI and a run scored) had a good night at the plate.

Kyler Burke struggled Saturday night and gave up seven runs, five earned, on eight hits in five innings. Burke walked two and struck out six. Hunter Cervenka remained unscored upon in a D-Cubs uniform with two shutout innings but Jeff Lorick surrendered two runs, one earned, on three hits with two strikeouts in his one frame. The D-Cubs defense committed four more errors which led to three unearned runs.

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Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (50-55)
The Smokies beat the Suns 7-5 on Wednesday. Junior Lake had a night that he will not soon forget. Lake hit two home runs, drove in four and walked once in his six plate appearances. Justin Bour (3-for-4 with a double and a RBI) and Nelson Perez (2-for-5 with a home run and two RBI) each notched multi-hit games.

Dae-Eun Rhee picked up his seventh win of the season. Rhee completed five innings and gave up four runs, three earned, on nine hits without a walk and four strikeouts. Trey McNutt had one his better outings since moving to the Smokies’ pen. McNutt tossed two scoreless innings without walk a batter while striking out three. Frank Batista picked up his 18th save.

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The Smokies ended up on the wrong end of a 6-4 game Thursday night. The game became irrelevant in the fourth inning when Jae-Hoon Ha crashed into the wall in right chasing a foul ball. Ha hit his head on the concrete pad and was carried off the field on a stretcher. Ha was taken to a Jacksonville hospital for tests. Ha was responsive and talking to the Smokies’ staff.

Junior Lake continued his torrid stretch with a 3-for-5 night that included a double, a run scored, two stolen bases (14) and a RBI. Justin Bour (2-for-5 with a home run and two RBI) hit his tenth homer in the losing effort. The Smokies’ offense pounded out 12 hits but the Smokies’ awful defense committed two more errors.

Dallas Beeler struck out eight over five innings but also surrendered eight hits and issued three free passes. Tony Zych continued his struggles at the Double-A level and took the loss after allowing two runs on five hits in two innings. Zych struck out four and did not walk a batter.

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Matt Szczur made his Double-A debut on Friday night in the Smokies 6-4 loss to the Jacksonville Suns. Szczur went 0-for-4 hitting out of the leadoff spot. Junior Lake continued pounding the baseball. Lake (2-for-4 with two doubles, two RBI and a run scored) collected two doubles, drove in a pair and scored a run. Greg Rohan (2-for-4 with a home run) hit his fourth Double-A longball in the seventh inning.

Ty’Relle Harris made the start and was roughed up. Harris allowed four runs on six hits with three walks and two strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings. Casey Harman finished the third. Zach Rosscup was charged with two runs over his 3 2/3 innings without allowing a hit. Rosscup struck out six and both of the runs scored after Rosscup left the game. Rosscup issued back-to-back one-out walks in the seventh before striking out the last batter he faced. Kevin Rhoderick took over and walked the next three batters he faced to force in the two runs in what ended up being the difference in the game.

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Matt Szczur (1-for-4 with a walk and a run scored) collected his first Double-A hit and Justin Bour (2-for-4 with a home run and five RBI) hit a grand slam in the seventh inning, the first grand slam by a Smokies’ player this season, but Tennessee dropped Saturday night’s game to the Suns 8-5. The two teams pounded out 23 hits and walked a combined six times.

Nick Struck had a rough game and lasted just four innings, only the second time in 22 starts this season Struck has not completed five innings. Struck gave up four runs on seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts. Trey McNutt continued his struggles and surrendered three runs on two hits with a pair of walks and one strikeout in his 1 2/3 innings of relief.

In the end, the Smokies could not outhit the Suns on the night the red-hot Junior Lake was given the night off to rest a wrist injury. The Smokies finished their nine-game road trip with a 3-6 record.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (42-66)
The I-Cubs dropped Wednesday’s game to Oklahoma City 10-8 in a game that was not as close as the final score indicates. Iowa was down 10-4 after seven before scoring four in the ninth inning. James Adduci (2-for-4 with a double, a walk and three runs scored) and Dave Sappelt (2-for-4 with a double, two RBI and a run scored) had a good game at the top of the lineup while Adrian Cardenas (2-for-5 with a run scored) notched his 18th multi-hit game of the season. Jose Vitters (0-for-5 with a RBI) had a rare 0-for in Wednesday’s loss while Brett Jackson (1-for-4 with a run scored) contributed at the plate. The I-Cubs offense continued to struggle with runners in scoring position (4-for-14) and left eight on base.

Chris Rusin had a bad night. Rusin was tagged for seven runs on 10 hits with a pair of walks in five innings. The lefty struck out seven. Frankie De La Cruz’s struggles continued. De La Cruz gave up three runs, all earned, on a pair of hits and three walks in two innings.

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The I-Cubs losing streak reached eight games Thursday with a 6-5 loss to Oklahoma City in 10 innings. Iowa took a 5-3 lead into the bottom of the 10th and once again the I-Cubs pitching staff had a bad day. Michael Bowden took the loss after allowing three runs, two earned, with three walks and a strikeout in 1 2/3 innings. Bowden could not find the strike zone. Bowden issued a leadoff walk to Jimmy Paredes then a double to Brandon Barnes. After walking J.B. Shuck to load the bases, Bowden retired Fernando Martinez on a flyout to right. Bowden then struck out Mike Hessman. But pinch-hitter Chris Wallace ripped a single into left that James Adduci misplayed and Adduci’s error allowed Shuck to score all the way from first with the game winner.

Casey Coleman started Thursday’s game and gave up three runs on seven hits without a walk to go along with five strikeouts. Esmailin Caridad finished the sixth and Jay Jackson pitched two scoreless frames.

Iowa’s first baseman, Josh Vitters made up for his 0-for the night before with a 3-for-4 performance that include a double, a triple, a walk, a RBI and a run scored. Brett Jackson had a rough night (0-for-3 with a walk and three strikeouts) but James Adduci (4-for-5 with a home run, a double, a run scored and two RBI) had a very good night before the bottom of the tenth. Adduci hit his first Triple-A homer as part of his four-hit performance.

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The I-Cubs losing streak came to an end on Friday night behind a tremendous start from Chris Volstad. Volstad tossed eight innings of shutout ball in Iowa’s 5-0 win over Oklahoma City. Volstad surrendered only four hits, walked three and struck out five on 102 pitches, 72 for strikes.

Alfredo Amezaga (3-for-5 with a run scored) set the table at the top of the lineup but it was Brett Jackson (1-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored) and Dave Sappelt (1-for-3 with a triple, two RBI, a walk and a stolen base) that drove in three of Iowa’s five runs. Adrian Cardenas (2-for-4 with a double and a run scored) doubled in four trips to the plate.

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The I-Cubs ran into Jacob Turner making his first start in the Marlins system after being acquired earlier in the week from the Tigers … and one of the top pitching prospects in the game shutdown Iowa’s offense. Iowa lost 2-1 and managed only five hits on Saturday night.

Brett Jackson (1-for-3 with a home run, a stolen base and a walk) provided the I-Cubs only run with his 15th longball of the season. Josh Vitters (1-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base), Adrian Cardenas (1-for-4) and Blake Lalli (1-for-4) collected singles but Jackson delivered the only extra base knock of the night.

Brooks Raley took the loss after putting together a good outing. Raley allowed two runs on six hits with four walks and eight strikeouts over six innings. Marcus Hatley had a good night. Hatley tossed two scoreless frames, stuck out four, gave up one hit and walked a batter.

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News and Notes
Jae-Hoon Ha was placed on the 7-day DL with a concussion. Ha is expected to miss 7-14 days. Matt Szczur was promoted to Double-A Tennessee. RHP Jairo Asencio cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Iowa.

According to Baseball America, the Cubs released 1B Ryan Cuneo and transferred OF Rashad Crawford to the 60-day DL.

The CCO’s Prospect Watch

  • Javier Baez (IF) – .333/.388/.603/.991 with eight doubles, five triples, 11 home runs and 19 stolen bases (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Jeimer Candelario (3B) – .282/.349/.410/.759 with five doubles and five home runs (Boise Hawks)
  • Zeke DeVoss (2B) – .230/.367/.332/.700 with 18 doubles, four triples, three home runs and 28 stolen bases (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Junior Lake (IF) – .293/.349/.438/.781 with 16 doubles, two triples, seven home runs and 14 stolen bases (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Matt Szczur (OF) – .295/.394/.407/.801 with 19 doubles, four triples, two home runs and 38 stolen bases (Daytona Cubs)
  • Ronald Torreyes (2B) – .257/.318/.378/.695 with 18 doubles, three triples, five home runs and 12 stolen bases (Daytona Cubs)
  • Josh Vitters (3B/1B) – .303/.356/.510/.867 with 31 doubles, two triples and 15 home runs (Iowa Cubs)
  • Dan Vogelbach (1B) – .421/.450/.579/1.029 with three doubles (Boise Hawks)
  • Robert Whitenack (RHP) – 1-5 with a 6.63 ERA and a 1.94 WHIP, 24 strikeouts, 18 walks and 53 hits allowed in 36 2/3 innings (Daytona Cubs)
  • Tony Zych (RHP) – 0-1 with a 7.00 ERA and a 2.22 WHIP, 14 strikeouts, four walks and 16 hits allowed in nine innings (Tennessee Smokies)

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