Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 08/23/12

Playoffs??!! Are you kidding ME??!!

Apparently, no, as both Boise and the AZL Cubs have the post season in their sights. Boise has the post-season on their minds for their second consecutive season as they ride the Northwest League’s leading hitter Stephen Bruno, along with Gioskar Amaya, Dan Vogelbach, Albert Almora, and Jeimer Candelario providing the pop to the Hawks’ attack.

The A-Cubs have gotten contributions from Shawon Dunston Jr., Trevor Gretzky, and some very solid pitching.

Peoria got a measure of revenge by taking a series from the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers thanks to pitchers Yao-Lin Wang and Jeffry Antigua, along with the bats of Dustin Geiger and Jorge Soler.

And Iowa won two out of three with Greg Rohan and Dave Sappelt leading the charge, as well as an excellent pitching performance from veteran Seth McClung.

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 (31-35)
The Hawks were unable to hold onto an early lead on Sunday, losing to Yakima 4-3. Tayler Scott continues to impress, as the Bears were only able to scratch out one earned run in five innings. But Nathan Dorris had his first subpar performance for Boise. Dorris was able to go only one inning while allowing three earned runs. Rafael Diplan kept Yakima scoreless for two innings and struck out two, but the offense could not rally. After posting three runs in the second inning, the Hawks bats went silent. Trey Martin was 2-for-3, while Xavier Batista (1-for-4, double) and Marco Hernandez (1-for-3, double) drove in runs.

After taking a 5-0 lead in the top of the fifth on Monday, Boise was outscored 8-2 the rest of the way as the Fell to Yakima 8-7. Dan Vogelbach hit the big blow that led to the early lead. Vogelbach slugged his ninth home run and was 3-for-4 with an RBI. Steven Bruno edged closer to the top of the Northwest League leaderboard. Bruno went 3-for-3 with a double. Trey Martin drove in two runs and was 1-for-4 with a double, while Marco Hernandez (1-for-3) cracked a two-run homer in the sixth inning. Ian Dickson had one of his best starts of the season. Dickson allowed two unearned runs in five innings and struck out four batters. But Hunter Ackerman had a rough outing. Ackerman gave up four earned runs in 2.2 innings. Ackerman was replaced by Tyler Bremer, who could have stopped the Bears’ rally, but ended up letting in two earned runs.

Boise maintained their five game lead over Yakima with ten games to play in the second half of the season, as they defeated the Bears 7-4 on Tuesday. The Hawks jumped out to a four-run lead in the top of the first as Gioskar Amaya (3-for-4, two RBI) led off the game with a home run. The Northwest League’s new leading hitter, Stephen Bruno (1-for-3) singled and scored on an error. Albert Almora (1-for-5) drove in Dan Vogelbach, who was hit by a pitch, and Xavier Batista scored on another error. Boise would get two more runs in the fourth inning, and an insurance run in the seventh.

Pierce Johnson had some trouble in his scheduled two innings, allowing three earned runs and striking out two batters. Piggyback Felix Pena continues to be impressive, averaging five innings over his last three outings while giving up only two earned runs over that period. Pena was hung with an unearned run but struck out three in five innings. Eduardo Orozco had his strikeout pitch going, as he fanned three in two scoreless innings in route to his sixth save.

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Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (57-69)
After having a frustrating season against the Timer Rattlers, Peoria earned a series split on Sunday by defeating Wisconsin 4-3. Yao-Lin Wang continues to strut his stuff as a starter. Wang had seven punch-outs while allowing two earned runs in 6.1 innings. Justin Berg showed that he still has some issues with command. Berg walked four, but limited the damage to one earned run over two innings. Really taking to the closer role, Larry Suarez was able to get the final two outs for his third save.

Wisconsin was hit with some lightning and thunder, as Pin-Chieh Chen supplied the flash. Chen was 2-for-4 with an RBI and his 30th stolen base. Dustin Geiger then moved into fourth in the Midwest League with his 16th homer. Geiger was 1-for-4 with two RBI. Wes Darvill (1-for-3 with a RBI) also contributed.

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Joe Zeller’s knuckleball zigged when it should have zagged on Monday and he was pounded by Wisconsin in an 8-1 loss for Peoria. Zeller went six innings and allowed seven runs, five of which were earned. Willengton Cruz was also tagged for an unearned run in his inning of work, with Luis Liria tossing a scoreless inning. Zeke DeVoss was 2-for-4 with a double, while Tim Saunders was also 2-for-4. Bijan Rademacher (1-for-3) doubled in Jacob Rogers (1-for-3) for the Chiefs’ only run.

Peoria ended up winning the series against Wisconsin with a Tuesday matinee 4-2 victory. Backup catcher Sergio Burruel had his time to shine. Burruel was 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Jorge Soler also drove in a run and was 3-for-4, while Zeke DeVoss was 1-for-4 with and RBI.

Jeffry Antigua was given his second start and made the most of it. Antigua struck out five and allowed two runs (one earned) in 5.2 innings. Austin Reed provided stellar relief, holding the Timber Rattlers scoreless over 2.1 innings. Larry Suarez set down the side in order in the ninth for his fourth save.

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High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (52-64)
For the second week in a row, Mother Nature was not kind to the Daytona Cubs, raining out a doubleheader on Sunday and a regularly scheduled game on Tuesday. The D-Cubs had a scheduled off-day on Monday.

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (63-65)
It was a team effort for Tennessee on Sunday, as they rallied for six runs then had to hold on for a 6-5 victory over Chattanooga. Dallas Beeler started and had to deal with his teammates chucking the pill around, as Junior Lake and Justin Bour committed errors that led to three runs (two earned) in five innings. Tony Zych pitched a perfect inning, and gave way to Kevin Rhoderick, who yielded an earned run in 0.2 innings. Casey Harman threw a scoreless inning, but Lake booted another ball for Frank Batista, hanging him with two runs (one earned) while he struck out a batter and collected his 23rd save.

Manager Buddy Bailey practically emptied the bench to get the win. Chad Noble ended up his most productive hitter. Noble went 1-for-4 with two RBI. Matt Cerda was 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Logan Watkins (1-for-3) drove in a run. Michael Burgess added a pinch-hit RBI double.

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Tennessee busted open a tied game on Monday with a four-run eighth inning, as they beat Chattanooga 5-1. The game was tied at 1-1 with starting pitcher Nick Struck (1-for-2) doubling and scoring on a Jae-Hoon Ha (2-for-3) single … there was no RBI due to an error by the Lookouts’ shortstop. Logan Watkins (1-for-4) ignited the rally in the eighth with a leadoff single. Walks to Ha and Justin Bour (1-for-3, double) loaded the bases. Junior Lake (2-for-4, double) knocked in Watkins and Ha with a single. A base hit by Rubi Silva (2-for-4) reloaded the bases for Michael Brenly (1-for-3). Brenly doubled in Lake and Bour.

While helping his cause at the plate, Nick Struck managed to strike out three while allowing an earned run in six innings. Trey McNutt pitched a scoreless seventh, while Brian Schlitter also had three strikeouts as he slammed the door on the Lookouts with two shutout innings.

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The Smokies were three outs away from their third win in a row on Tuesday, but let Chattanooga off the hook and lost 3-1 in 11 innings. Tennessee’s only run came in the first as Logan Watkins scored on a Justin Bour (1-for-4) double. Jae-Hoon Ha was 2-for-4, while Matt Cerda went 2-for-3. Eric Jokisch started and held the Lookouts scoreless over five innings, posting four strikeouts. Trey McNutt and Tony Zych shut down Chattanooga for three innings. Zych struck out three batters in his two innings of work. However, the Southern League’s leading reliever, Frank Batista, served up a solo home run that tied the game in the top of the ninth. As the game progressed in to extra innings, Kevin Rhoderick allowed an earned run and was charged with another as a Casey Harman wild pitch would make the score 3-1, which is where it would stay.

Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (50-79)
Iowa was able to put up big numbers in the first two innings on Sunday and then coasted to a 6-3 win over Memphis. Mexican League veteran Yoannis Negrin made his first Triple-A start of the season and struck out three while giving up an earned run through four innings. Ryan Searle also tossed four innings and struck out three and he collected his first Triple-A victory. Scott Maine finished things off by allowing two runs (one earned) with a strikeout in the ninth.

Greg Rohan gave the I-Cubs a lead they would never relinquish as he blasted a three-run homer with James Adduci and Dave Sappelt (1-for-2) aboard. Rohan finished the game 2-for-3 with a home run, a double and three RBI. Blake Lalli and Alfredo Amezaga also drove in runs.

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The I-Cubs were in a tight ballgame early on with Memphis before the Cardinals turned it on and pounded Iowa 11-3 on Monday. Starter Ty’Relle Harris did not have a poor outing. Harris allowed three runs (two earned) in four innings. Harris recorded four strikeouts. Jay Jackson set down the side in his first inning before giving up two earned in his second inning of work. Marcus Hatley was then completely lit up. Hatley surrendered six runs (four earned) while failing to record an out. Esmailin Caridad calmed things down with three strikeouts in two scoreless innings. Reserve catcher Brian Esposito added another scoreless inning. Greg Rohan continued his assault on Triple-A pitching. Rohan was 2-for-5 with a double and his 23rd RBI (in only 19 games with Iowa). Alfredo Amezaga was 2-for-5, while James Adduci and Blake Lalli were each 2-for-4.

Fortunes were better for Seth McClung in his second start on Tuesday, as Iowa defeated the Redbirds 2-0. McClung struck out six over seven shutout innings. Scott Maine and Blake Parker each supplied a scoreless inning. The I-Cubs offense was able to dent phenom Shelby Miller for two runs after being struck out twelve times by the Cardinals’ prospect. Blake Lalli (1-for-3) singled in the seventh inning and came around on a Jeff Frazier (1-for-3) home run.

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Arizona Rookie League
It’s starting to be nip and tuck for the AZL Cubs. They continue to have the second best record in the rookie league at 31-18, but are now four games behind the AZL Athletics. With five games left to play, the AZL Cubs lead the AZL Mariners by three games for the wild card spot. This past week, the A-Cubs went 2-3.

The A-Cubs were almost unstoppable on Thursday. Shawon Dunston Jr. (3-for-4, three RBI) and Yasiel Balaguert (2-for-3, double, RBI) slugged home runs as they defeated AZL Reds 9-1. Trevor Gretzky was 2-for-4 with a double and a RBI, while Carlos Penalver went 2-for-5 with a double and a RBI as well. Anthony Prieto pitched the first three innings, striking out three and holding the A-Reds scoreless. Carlos Martinez-Pumarino upped his record to 5-0 as he fanned seven batters while allowing an earned run in five innings. Jin-Young Kim set down the side in order in the ninth.

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The A-Cubs rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh in game one of Tuesday’s scheduled doubleheader with the AZL Mariners and pulled out a 7-6 victory. Anthony Giansanti, who is on a rehab assignment, led the comeback with a 2-for-4 performance that included three RBI. Shawon Dunston Jr. drove in a run and went 2-for-3. Dominican speedster Jeffrey Baez, just called up from the DSL, was 1-for-3 with a stolen base. Carl Lang, a sixth round draft pick in 2012, started and surrendered only a hit in one inning. However, Carlos Martinez-Pumarino had a rough time and allowed five runs (four earned) while striking out three in three innings. Steve Peraksis followed and gave up an earned run to go along with three strikeouts in two innings. Chad Martin came out of the pen and picked up the win. Martin gave up a run and walked a batter but neither one of the baserunners crossed the plate.

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Dominican Summer League
The Dominican Summer League is winding down. As of Wednesday there is only four games left to play.

Cubs-1 continued to remain in fifth in the Baseball City division with a record of 33-35. C-1 has seen some interesting things from a late signee in catcher Steven De La Cruz, who has hit .346 with five RBI in ten games. Corner infielder Roney Alcala has moved into a tie for tenth place in the league with 43 RBI, while batting .303 to go along with five home runs. Right-hander Carlos A. Rodriguez is tied for ninth in the league with 70 strikeouts (1.92 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP). Lefty Luis Villalba is a hair behind Rodriguez in ERA (1.93) and has 37 strikeouts with a 1.14 WHIP.

The Cubs-2 team has dropped to sixth place in the Boca Chica South division with a 32-35 record. Outfielders Kelvin Encarnacion and Shamil Ubiera remain the offensive leaders. Encarnacion is tops on the team with a .309 average, along with five home runs and 28 RBI. Ubiera paces the squad with 40 runs driven in while hitting .305 with four homers. Right-hander Daury Torres is now third in the league both in WHIP (0.82) and ERA (1.21). Torres is 6-3 with 50 strikeouts. Righty Perdo Araujo is next behind Torres with a 2.72 ERA and 5-2 record to go along with 47 strikeouts in 53 innings.

News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs optioned LHP Brooks Raley, LHP Jeff Beliveau, and IF Adrian Cardenas to the Iowa Cubs; recalled LHP Chris Rusin from the Iowa Cubs. The DSL Cubs-1 assigned OF Jeffrey Baez to the AZL Cubs.

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Quote of the Day

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