Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 08/30/12

Entering the final week of the minor league season has different meanings at each level. For the players in Iowa, such as Greg Rohan and Dave Sappelt, it means their last chance to make an impression and hope for a September call-up to the big leagues.

In Boise and Arizona, players like Stephen Bruno, Jeimer Candelario, Shawon Dunston Jr., and Trevor Gretzky are beginning to prepare for the playoffs. While the players in Tennessee, Daytona and Peoria are trying to show management that they deserve a promotion to higher levels next season.

With the final results 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 (34-37)
After the Hawks clinched their division the night before, it’s easy to see how they had a let down on Sunday, as they lost 5-1 to Vancouver. Felix Pena, who had previously piggybacked for Pierce Johnson, was given the start and allowed four earned runs while striking out five in 4.1 innings. Su-Min Jung relieved Pena and tossed 1.2 scoreless innings, but Tyler Bremer gave up an earned run over the final two innings. Jeimer Candelario continued his recent tear. Candelario went 2-for-3 while Trey Martin finished the game 2-for-4. Stephen Bruno retook the lead for the Northwest League batting title with a 1-for-3 afternoon.

Boise flexed their muscles on Tuesday following Monday’s off day and thumped Everett 7-3. The Hawks broke out the big sticks as Gioskar Amaya (1-for-5) had a three-run shot and Jeimer Candelario (1-for-4) smacked a two-run homer. Willson Contreras knocked in the other two runs as part of a 2-for-4 performance that included a double. Stephen Bruno maintained his lead for the batting title by going 3-for-5 with a double.

Pierce Johnson remained on schedule and pitched two innings. Johnson struck out three while being hung with an unearned run. Jose Arias was the piggyback for Johnson. Arias also struck out three, but allowed an earned run, in three innings. Brian Smith earned the victory by pitching 2.2 scoreless innings with three strikeouts. Rafael Diplan closed things out with two strikeouts and an unearned run in 1.1 innings.

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Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (62-71)
The Chiefs had everything in control on Sunday as they embarrassed Wisconsin 10-3. Jeffry Antigua showed that when he is on, he can be devastating. Antigua three-hit the Timber Rattlers and struck out seven over seven scoreless innings. Pete Levitt came on for the final two innings and was socked with three unearned runs on a couple of Wes Darvill errors.

Dustin Geiger tied Pin-Chieh Chen for second on the team with 51 RBI. Geiger drove in three and finished the game 3-for-4. Chen went 2-for-4 with a double, a RBI and he swiped his 33rd stolen base. Jorge Soler (2-for-5 with a double) knocked in a pair while Zeke DeVoss was 2-for-5 with an RBI. Jacob Rogers (2-for-5) belted his first Single-A home run.

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Peoria flirted with history on Monday and came out on top as they beat Wisconsin 7-3. For the second time this season Starling Peralta took a perfect game into the fifth inning before giving up two earned runs and striking out eight batters. Luis Liria relieved and struck out two in two scoreless innings. Bryce Shafer mopped up and allowed an earned run in the ninth inning.

Jacob Rogers seems to be finding his stroke, as he went deep for his second consecutive game. Rogers hit a two-run shot in the fourth inning and finished the game 2-for-3 with three RBI. Bijan Rademacher (2-for-4) woke his slumbering bat by driving in two runs. Chadd Krist (1-for-3) drove in a run.

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A great personal comeback attempt was spoiled on Tuesday as Peoria lost to Wisconsin. Ben Wells started for the first time since June 4 … he was on the DL with an elbow strain. Wells only pitched two innings and held the Timber Rattlers scoreless. Willengton Cruz piggybacked and struck out four in five innings while allowing an earned run. However, veteran Justin Berg gave up three runs (two earned) in 1.1 innings. Austin Reed got the Chiefs out of the ninth, but the damage had already been done. Peoria managed only four hits, with Pin-Chieh Chen, Dustin Geiger, Tim Saunders, and Jacob Rogers each collecting a hit.

High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (55-72)
Once again, the Daytona Cubs had weather wash out a games scheduled for Monday and Tuesday. The D-Cubs had a scheduled off-day on Sunday.

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (68-67)
Tennessee was in a dogfight with Mobile on Sunday, but wound up on top of a 4-3 win. Jae-Hoon Ha has been a one man wrecking crew of late. Ha is hitting .351 over his last ten games and went 3-for-4 with a double, triple, and a RBI. Rubi Silva (1-for-3) also drove in a run, while little used Elliot Soto also went 1-for-3 with a RBI. Eric Jokisch allowed three earned runs in the third inning but ended up completing seven innings and striking out four batters. Trey McNutt continues to look more comfortable out of the pen, as he tossed two scoreless innings.

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The Smokies were finally able to bring their record back up to.500 on Monday with a 5-3 win over Mobile. Jae-Hoon Ha remains on fire as his three-run homer in the first inning was part of a 2-for-4 night. Logan Watkins and Junior Lake also went 2-for-4. The Tennessee outfielders helped out their pitching staff as Ha, Rubi Silva, and Matt Szczur each had an outfield assist.

Dae-Eun Rhee had probably the best defense and runs support he’s had all season. Rhee allowed two runs (one earned) while striking out six in five innings. Zach Rosscup followed with a perfect inning, but Casey Weathers walked four and gave up an earned run in 0.2 innings. Tony Zych picked up the slack by tossing 1.1 scoreless innings and Brian Schlitter earned his fifth save with a 1-2-3 ninth.

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A walk-off homer by Logan Watkins in the tenth inning completed a comeback for Tennessee on Tuesday, as they edged Mobile 6-5. The damage was being done by the bottom of the order, as Michael Brenly went 3-for-4 with a solo home run in the third inning. Watkins ended up 2-for-4 and added a double to his late inning heroics. Matt Cerda (2-for-4) also drove in a run, while Michael Burgess delivered a pinch-hit RBI.

Austin Kirk looked to be in line for his second win for the Smokies after the offense scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh. Kirk tossed seven innings and allowed three runs (two earned). Kevin Rhoderick made things interesting as he gave up an earned run in an inning of work. Frank Batista, however, served up a homer in the ninth that tied the game, but he was able to retire the side in the tenth for the win.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (53-84)
In what may be for some their final appearances for Iowa, the I-Cubs went down in defeat on Sunday at the hands of Oklahoma City, 4-3. Chris Rusin was sent back down after starting for the parent club the previous week and struck out seven while allowing three earned runs over seven innings. Blake Parker relieved and gave up an earned run in two innings, while striking out two batters. Blake Lalli accepted an outright assignment earlier in the week and was 2-for-4 with a double, while Matt Tolbert also had a 2-for-4 afternoon. James Adduci drove in a run as part of a 2-for-4 effort.

Iowa could not crawl out of the hole that they dug for themselves on Monday, but came close as they lost 4-3 to Nashville. Seth McClung made his third start and allowed four earned runs while striking out five in five innings. Esmailin Caridad, Jaye Chapman, and Marcus Hatley each tossed a scoreless inning, with Chapman striking out two batters. Greg Rohan (2-for-4) and Dave Sappelt remained the offensive leaders, each hit a home run with Sappelt driving in two runs.

Two innings were the undoing of the I-Cubs on Tuesday, as they lost 7-3 to Nashville. Horacio Ramirez held the Sounds scoreless with two hits through the first three innings. However, Ramirez served up two home runs as part of seven earned runs in 4.2 innings. Miguel Socolovich took over and struck out two in 1.1 scoreless innings. Rafael Dolis and Jairo Asencio shut down Nashville the rest of the way. Alfredo Amezaga (2-for-4 with three RBI) delivered the big blow, a two-run homer in the seventh. Tony Campana and Matt Tolbert were each 2-for-4.

Arizona Rookie League
The AZL Cubs took things down to the wire, now they have to wait for help. They continue to have the second best record in the rookie league at 37-19, and are now a half a game behind the AZL Athletics with their season over. The A-Cubs will now have to wait to see whether the AZL Giants can knock off the A’s on Wednesday night and force a tie. This past week, the A-Cubs went 4-1 to close out the regular season.

The A-Cubs were able to come out on top on Thursday by scoring five runs in the tenth inning to beat the AZL Diamondbacks 14-9. Justin Marra (3-for-5, three doubles, two RBI) was the big bat, while Shawon Dunston Jr. (2-for-6, double, RBI), David Bote (2-for-5, double, two RBI) and Trevor Gretzky (2-for-5, two RBI) each had multi-hit games. Dillon Maples was hit hard (four earned runs, 1.2 innings), as was Loiger Padron (four runs, three earned, 2.1 innings). Juan Carlos Paniagua and Jin-Young Kim stopped the D-Backs. Paniagua tossed two shutout innings. Chad Martin and Daniel Adrian finished things up with a scoreless inning apiece, as Martin fanned four batters.

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On Saturday, the A-Cubs broke a tie with the AZL Giants with a run in the bottom of the ninth to win 8-7. Shawon Dunston Jr. (1-for-4 with a double) drove in three runs. Carlos Penalver (2-for-6) and Yasiel Balaguert (2-for-5) had two RBI apiece. Paul Blackburn, Rafael Dolis, and Jasvir Rakkar struggled. Blackburn gave up three earned runs while Dolis and Rakkar each allowed two earned runs. However, Ethan Elias was able to shut things down, striking out four in three scoreless innings. Steve Peraksis picked up the win after setting down the side in order in the ninth.

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Sunday saw the A-Cubs pull out ahead, as they outpaced the AZL Athletics 5-2. Ben Carhart was the big bat, as he went 3-for-5 with an RBI, while Trevor Gretzky was 3-for-4. Carlos Penalver (2-for-4 with a double) stole a base and Jeffrey Baez (2-for-4) drove in a run. Duane Underwood and Juan Carlos Paniagua teamed up to toss four scoreless innings, Paniagua struck out three in 1.2 innings. Trey Lang allowed an earned run in an inning, and Anthony Prieto shutdown the A’s for two innings. Carlos Martinez-Pumario pitched the final two innings and gave up an earned run but struck out three batters.

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It was pitching and the hitting of Yasiel Balaguert that put the AZL Cubs in a tie with the AZL Athletics, as the A-Cubs defeated the AZL Giants 3-1 on Monday. Balaguert slugged a three-run homer in the second inning, one of only four hits by the A-Cubs. Ryan McNeil was unhittable, striking out two in four no-hit innings. Corbin Hoffner continued to hold the Giants scoreless, as he struck out five in two innings. Trey Lang had a little trouble, allowing an earned run on two walks and two hits in 0.2 innings. But Alvido Jimenez picked up the slack, as he had two strikeouts in 1.1 scoreless innings. Steve Peraksis got through the ninth for his second save.

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Dominican Summer League

The Dominican Summer League regular season ended last Thursday, as the final two games were cancelled due to rain.

The Cubs-1 ended at 33-37, fifth in the Baseball City division. Outfielder Roberto Caro, an 18-year old that split time between both teams and hasn’t seen action since August 10 wound up C-1’s hitting leader at .314 with 18 RBI. Corner infielder Roney Alcala led the team with 43 RBI, good for 12th place in the league, while batting .303 hitting and five home runs. Right-hander Carlos A. Rodriguez was tenth in the league with 73 strikeouts, and had an ERA of 2.01 with a 1.00 WHIP. Eighteen-year old lefty Angel Mejias ranked right behind Rodriguez on the team with a 2.58 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP along with 57 strikeouts.

The Cubs-2 team finished with a record of 33-36, also in fifth place in the Boca Chica South division. Outfielders Kelvin Encarnacion and Shamil Ubiera were the offensive leaders, as Encarnacion topped the team with a .308 average to go along with five home runs and 31 RBI. Ubiera paced the squad with 41 runs driven in and hit .297 with four homers. Right-hander Daury Torrez ended up second in the league in WHIP at 0.82 and third in the league in ERA at 1.21 ERA. Torrez was 6-3 on the season with 57 strikeouts. Another right-handed pitcher, Alexander Santana, was second behind Torrez in starts and had a 1-3 record to go along with a 2.88 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 51 strikeouts in 59.1 innings. Righty Perdo Araujo is next behind Torres with a 2.72 ERA, a 5-2 record and 47 strikeouts in 53 innings.

News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs traded C/IF Blake Lalli to the Oakland Athletics for C Anthony Recker and optioned C Anthony Recker to the Iowa Cubs. The Cubs recalled RHP Blake Parker from the Iowa Cubs and designated LHP Alex Hinshaw for assignment. The Peoria Chiefs placed RHP Michael Jensen on the 7-Day disabled list.

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Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax